I am heading into 2016 with great anticipation, just like I enter every New Year. I am excited to release two books, as well as continue to serve as many leaders as possible helping them to become the servant leaders they want to be. I also want to continue to enhance my personal development by doing more reading, as well as my physical well being by being more consistent on my exercise.

I go in with this anticipation, knowing full well that all things might not go just as planned. I went into 2007 with the same excitement, and had no idea that by the end of that year Banta Corporation, who I had worked for the past 20 years, would be sold and everything would change. We need to know that challenges will arise. How we deal with those challenges will impact our leadership moving forward.

If properly handled these unplanned events can become blessings. I have had the opportunity to be exposed to many more leaders in a myriad of industries across the country, have worked to become a more effective coach, and am in the process of writing 2 books, none of which would have happened had Banta Corporation not been sold.

Being intentional about how you handle adverse and unexpected situations can lead to a more positive outcome in the long run. Here are some ways to help:

  • Stay connected to your Purpose and Values – Even in the direst circumstances stay focused on what is most important to you. I recently finished a book called “Hiking Through”, by Paul Stutzman. Paul lost his wife in middle age to cancer, which obviously rocked his world. He decided to quit his job and hike the Appalachian Trail to get re-connected to his values and purpose. After 4 ½ months of hiking from Georgia to Maine and listening to God’s voice and guidance he knew how to move forward in a positive and impactful fashion on the bedrock of his purpose and values.
  • Embrace and build upon your strengths – Each of us has been gifted with unique skills and abilities. When unexpected things happen don’t abandon your strengths. I have always loved building high performing teams. When I decided to move out of the corporate world and start my own business, I built upon my strengths of leadership to offer that as a value to as many leaders as possible.
  • Nurture your personal well-being – Unexpected events can definitely rock your world, and often times the first thing to be neglected is yourself. Always lock down on eating right, exercise, rest, and personal devotion time. Paul Stutzman knew that one of the benefits of taking a 2,176-mile hike through the Appalachian Mountains would be he would have to physically take care of himself in a time of high stress.
  • Don’t try to be a lone ranger – As leaders we often think we have to do it on our own. In times of unexpected events, and or crisis, double up on your efforts to build relationships. People want to help. Be vulnerable and allow that help. I had numerous conversations with family, mentors and friends before I decided to leave the comfort of a salary job and step into building Triune Leadership Services. With the help of many, I have never been happier. Those people that helped enjoy the same satisfaction.
  • Stay connected with God – With God all things are possible. If we get into the habit of allowing God to guide our lives and look to Jesus as our model for leadership as a matter of course, when times get tough and unexpected things happen this will continue to be our default. Daily prayer and conversations with God will get us through the most challenging times and allow us to grow from them.

I wish everyone a most prosperous year in 2016! I also pray that you use any challenges that you encounter during the year as a growth opportunity to become that much more of a servant leader and example for others!

Mark Deterding

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10