#035: The Importance of the Leader’s Heart [Podcast]

We live in a very externally-focused culture. However, there is an internal issue which is largely ignored: the condition of your heart.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Johan63

The corporate world is increasingly aware of the fact that you can’t improve productivity without increasing engagement. In other words, people have to show up at work with more than their education, experience, and skills. They have to come with their heart.

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In this podcast I share five truths about your heart. If you understand these truths—and apply them—you will maximize your influence as a leader.

  • Truth #1: Your heart is the essence of your identity.
  • Truth #2: Your heart is the most valuable leadership tool you have.
  • Truth #3: Your heart directly impacts your influence.
  • Truth #4: Your heart is either healthy or unhealthy.
  • Truth #5: Your heart is under constant attack.

It’s important that you keep your heart healthy.  There are four disciplines that can help you do that.

  • Discipline #1: The Discipline of Reflection
  • Discipline #2: The Discipline of Rest
  • Discipline #3: The Discipline of Recreation
  • Discipline #4: The Discipline of Relationships

Listener Questions

  1. Victor Manzanilla asked, “What is the biggest temptation a leader faces after he becomes successful?”
  2. Nellie Felipe asked, “As a leader, how do you maintain a fresh vision, fresh hope, fresh energy, so your people will be renewed daily?”
  3. Heather Boggini asked, “What advice do I have for the female entrepreneur who is reentering the workforce after staying out to raise a family?”

Special Announcements

  1. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for an author, entrepreneur, or sales person, let me suggest that you get them a copy of my newest book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. It has been on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists. It has a 4.8 reader review rating (out of 5.0) on Amazon. It is the perfect gift for anyone trying to build a personal brand or gain visibility for a product, service, or cause.
  2. I am off the road until January. However, I do have some speaking slots still available for the spring. If you are interested in having me come speak to your company or organization, you can learn more at my speaking page.
  3. My next podcast will be on the topic of “How to Develop More Discipline.” If you have a question on this subject, please leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote YOUR blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: What are you doing to cultivate and protect your heart? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • annepeterson

    To protect my heart, I make sure I spend some time reading God’s truth. I also try and spend some time in silence. 

    If I don’t make a deliberate decision to guard my heart, it will become like the world around me. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. I’m also careful about what goes into my mind. What I think about sometimes becomes what I care about.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Silence is essential, and so often overlooked in our current culture.

    • Jim Martin

      I really like what you say regarding the importance of guarding your heart.  Very important.

  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    It’s really interesting that the ancient Semitic peoples did not think of the heart or the mind as we do today. We actually swap them.

    To them, the heart was not where human emotion resides, or the feeling mind, as we commonly think of today. It was the control center, the place where decisions are made  (Dallas Willard covers this is his books) 

    So, the place we today think of as “the mind” in the Bible is termed “heart”…in the Old and New Testaments alike. 

    By contrast, compared with our understanding now, they thought of the bowels or the guts to be the place where feelings reside…(like “gut feelings” , passions, drive, etc…These would be realms of “the heart” to ancient Semitics. The bowels to them is what “the heart” is what we think of as the heart now.) 

    This misunderstanding of parts of the body associated with various human emotions, thoughts, decisions, or traits is so widely and thoroughly confused, that hundreds of scriptures are misinterpreted on a regular basis each day in books, articles, and pulpits alike, making new appropriations for many spiritual and theological concepts. If we re-read the Scriptures taking the ancient assumptions into account (which are different than ours now) the bible often presents a different and even more gracious angle we often missed using our modern lens to understand these terms.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It is helpful also to read the early church fathers on this. They are very clear—even technical—in their distinctions.

      Based on my study of them, the heart includes the mind (nous) but is more than the mind. It is the totality of our inner life.

      Thanks for bringing this distinction up.

    • prophetsandpopstars

      Adds value to the statement, “Go with your gut!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.erickson.14 Dan Erickson

    I do my best to keep my heart healthy spiritually, emotionally and physically.  Each of these areas requires different types of exercise.  I think the key is balance. 

    • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

      I agree.

  • Tracey Daniel

    Thank you so much for this podcast! I believe God spoke to me through you today. I’m a “domestic engineer” (homemaker) and often wonder if I’m making an impact in the world. I easily get down on myself. I listen /read your podcasts & blogs and see my family as my “organization” so I always learn something. Today the 4th caller question and your response was just what I needed! Thank you for including it and for all you do to serve leaders. I’m looking forward to the next podcast on discipline.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad. Thanks for commenting.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I loved Heather’s question as well as Michael’s response. Timely.

      • prophetsandpopstars

        Yeah, that was certainly a highlight. 

  • http://twitter.com/Jeff_Long Jeff Long

    Such great content!  Just this morning my mastermind group was talking about John Maxwell’s, “The Law of the Lid” and we talked about reflection in leadership.  Everyone needs to take time to reflect on themselves to both guard their hearts, but also determine the best growth pattern to raise the Lid.

    Thanks for the honesty about losing heart and getting discouraged.  I am usually excited about my job, life and family but losing heart can set in and it’s good to hear your solutions.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts by starting in the Bible…a great place to start!Thanks for sharing your advice on this matter.  I really appreciate it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for commenting, Jeff. John is one of my mentors and teachers. I have learned so much from him.

  • FergusonValues

    Heart is also the courage to carry on when things are difficult. Your list of 4 disciplines are a great way to exercise our heart so that courage becomes instinctive.

  • http://www.ericdingler.com/ Eric Dingler

    I remember that I can’t feel my way into good behavior.  I have to behave my way into good feelings.  So to protect my heart, I believe in the power of pure thinking.  My heart follows my mind.  For example, I hate gossip, so I can’t gossip in my mind.  I can’t have those negative imaginary conversations with people.  I can’t dwell on negative things.  As a leader, I still have to give thought to negative situations to consider solutions…but I have to keep it from becoming personal. 

    Also to protect my heart (here’s another use of my favorite leadership axiom)…more is caught than is taught.  I can work hard all day “teaching” my mind (myself) good and positive things.  I can read the Bible, listen to amazing podcast (like this one) and any number of other positive things.  But, if I don’t give any caution in selecting a TV show I watch at night or music I listen to while driving….I can counteract the good I tried to do.  I can get garbage seepage into my mind.  I think the key is diligence in protecting your heart.  If I go for a three mile run in the morning, read a health magazine and listen to a fitness podcast throughout the day.  Doesn’t mean I can then for dinner drink diet soda, eat a large pizza, a bag of chips and a quart of ice cream and expect much progress will be made in my physical health.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love your first two sentences. Powerful—and true!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      What is that quote from?

      ” I can’t feel my way into good behavior. I have to behave my way into good feelings.”

      I really like it! Did you come up with that?

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

    Rest has been the most important strategy to care for my own heart. In fact, your podcast on naps has had a huge influence on me in that area. I’m not a skilled “rester”, so I’ve had to really take time to find things that are truly renewing. Finally, taking a Sabbath day has become my reset button each week.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Out of a ll the things that Michael mentioned the resting portion was one of the most challenging for me. With 6 children, and a full time job, sometimes I feel like burning the candle at both ends is the only way I can move forward! But, it’s not a long term strategy—for sure!

      • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

         Barry, that’s just it – that it’s so easy to believe the message, “if I could just get more time in on…then I’d be able to move forward.” But it’s just not a sustainable strategy. I remember someone comparing resting to swinging on a playground swing: the leaning back motion (resting and relinquishing) actually moves us forward.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          I love the imagery of the swing! I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with the myth of “just having more time…” thanks Aaron!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’m working on the same thing, Aaron. I honestly believe true rest is rare. I used to think it was a waste of time. Now I believe it can be one of the most productive parts of my day.

      • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

         I hear you, Michele. I’m challenged by how rest is developing me spiritually because it involves a great deal of trust to let something go, then to rest instead. I’m starting to see though, that many things get taken care of without my direct involvement, and that I’m more alert and alive to engage everything else.

  • Jacob Summers

    Michael, thank you so much for your message. I listened to it on the way to work this morning and was definitely inspired. I loved the texts you used and the perspective they gave on the heart. I’m always humbled and blown away by the Bible’s wisdom. I happened to write about the heart in my blog @ selfgrowthjournal.com yesterday in a message entitled “Heart Work,” so it really hit home for me this morning. The most important thing we can do in life is love. And we empower love with our heart. Why not empower everything else with our heart? Thank you for your time,
    Jacob Summers

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great thoughts Michael, I really enjoy the podcast. I spend time in the Word and talk to the Lord all day and all the time. I keep my focus on Him and not myself.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Preoccupation with self can be quite a drain, can’t it? It’s important to care for yourself, but not be consumed by it. 

  • Janet Mueller

    Thank you Michael for sharing this wonderful podcast. As a leader I’ve sometimes been criticized for too much heart as though it were a weakness when the truth is for me I know of no other way to lead. Leading with heart, a servant leader is the essence of who I am and my passion and love for people might not have been popular in the corporate world because I led in this way, I led from the heart and yet it served those I led immensely and I believe was responsible, at the very core of helping me to serve my team well. They felt cared for, appreciated, encouraged, affirmed and believed in.  Lives and business were transformed. Today I continue to lead in this authentic way for me and I am grateful and blessed to serve my coaching clients this way. I believe we are called to serve and in answer to this call I went on a journey into the community to serve and help women. Born is ‘A Champion’s Guide To Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer’ which will now be published with a New York House 2013. I’d love to hear your thoughts on ‘Servant Leadership’ Michael and how we might help teach, inspire and educate the corporate world to be open and embrace this leadership way of ‘being’ more fully. We have a huge opportunity here. Thank you for who you are and for being a wonderful mentor and leader. – Love. Serve. Lead Make a Difference, Leave a Legacy.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, I really believe in servant leadership. There are lots and lots of organizations today that believe it and practice it. In fact, I am speaking to a group of companies this afternoon that are committed to character first and servanthood.

  • Rick Rodman

      Hi Michael,

         As a wilderness guide for troubled youth and young adults  I found your message today to be SPOT ON !! My open heart is what drives my passion to help,lead, mentor and hopefully plant a seed when the opportunity arises. God Bless you….I hope your listeners FEEL the importance of this message !

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      As a youth Pastor for 15+ years I can tell you that what you do matters!

  • http://www.williambutler.ca/ Bill Butler

    To cultivate my heart, I intentionally LIVE my purpose: BE LOVE TO OTHERS. 
    Everyone deserves love. How else shall I bring it, if not by my very life?
    These four little words define the texture and fabric of my being. 
    They are the warp and woof of who I am. 

    To protect my heart, I do not worry about the future, nor do I concern myself with what others may think of me. Instead, I invest my time in quality people and quality thoughts.

    I pay very close attention to the words I use because they influence the heart. I monitor my ‘spirit of communication’ to ensure that it is always encouraging, uplifting and  inspiring.

    May your burdens be light and your blessings heavy!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Love that purpose, Bill!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    I really appreciated you making the distinction between recreation and amusement! 

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Ah, great topic. And timely for me. This has been a chief focus over the past 6 weeks. Although I’m still in-progress, I’ve been doing something similar to what you suggest. I’ve withdrawn more, made time for quiet and solitude, so I can discern decisions to be made, motivations, priorities, etc. I’ve also been intentional about reconnecting with the people and activities I enjoy. At times I get so bogged down in tasks that I forget to make time for doing the things that fill me. Okay for the short term, but hard on the heart long term.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Michele. I’m so glad you are doing this.

  • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

    Michael, wow!  Praise God that you are gently sharing the truth on Satan and the reality of evil.

    This truth needs to be spoken.  It needs to be said that God wants us to talk to him, and Satan wants us to avoid God.  He will use everything in his power to create a barrier to God.

    I believe this with all of my heart:  http://toddliles.com/overcoming-the-barriers-of-prayer-you-are-worthy.html

  • Wendy Claussen

    Thanks for the timely podcast, Michael. Amazing how God speaks
    to us—even through podcasts! I’ve been praying a lot lately for a spiritual
    ‘heart transplant’ so I believe your podcast is God’s initial procedure in
    my ‘cardiac surgery.’  I know surgery can
    be lengthy, but I am willing to go the long haul with Jesus! He is slowly
    answering my prayer!  :-) On a side note…I
    loved hearing the ‘4 chambers’ metaphor. I wrote that comment in your “The 4
    Disciplines of the Heart” post. 
    Extremely honored, sir! :-)

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Thanks, Eric! I’ll for sure check it out!

  • http://www.jasonjnicholas.com/ Jason J Nicholas

    Having a healthy heart on the inside can most certainly lead to a  contagious enthusiasm on the outside. 

    Creativity gives my heart the spark that keeps it pumping. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill


      Wow. Creativity is certainly something that keeps my heart pumping too! Is it all types of creativity for you? or is it more specific?

      • http://www.jasonjnicholas.com/ Jason J Nicholas


        Creativity comes in all sorts of forms for me ranging from drawing to doing improv comedy to playing Legos with my 6 year old. It’s that aha moment from using the gift of imagination that keeps my heart beating strong.

        What is your creative outlet?

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  • Denise

    Hi Michael, I love your podcast and listen while I’m on the move. I’ve only been able to download up to #22 and I was able to open this edition in a browser but on iTunes.  I’m wondering if someone on your team can let me know how I can get more recent episodes in downloadable format. Thank you for your work.

    And one of the ways I protect my heart is to surround myself with beauty (nature and in my home) and to do affirmations while walking vigorously (ala Tony Robbins “Hour of Power”).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Denise. I’m not sure I understand your question. I think there is a missing word. Sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.oakes.9 Doug Oakes

    I just finished reading Luke 5:16 where Jesus, though in great demand for teaching and healing from the crowds around him, “withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  I have been trying to protect my heart by withdrawing from the crowds, esp. during the work day.  It’s easy to sacrifice my scheduled breaks b/c of other people’s urgent matters…but I find out that my effectiveness is reduced throughout the day if I don’t find that quiet time to refresh/re-center myself on who I am (and who I am not).  

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    This is so needed.  Our heart makes us a leader and is one of the things which separates managing.
    Thank you Michael.

    K, bye

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Enjoyed hearing about the heart, and how important it is to all.

    Keeping humble – wow.  How do you work to maintain that sense of humility?

    I try to remind myself of how fortunate I am, to study scripture, to read and consume positive information.

    Your podcast is a great service.

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  • Bruce Cross

    Michael – THANK YOU for the timely reminder about caring for one’s heart.  Was listening and many of the messages I have heard from Ransomed Heart were ringing in my ears…then you mentioned a conversation with John Eldredge.  Really needed your words today….they have made a difference! 

  • Steve Jolly

    Hey Michael, I tried sharing this podcast via the Apple podcast app A few different times. When it pulls up the wind to edit the tweet or FB post it fails to add a link to the podcast.

    Don’t know if this is a app error or what, but wanted to let you know.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience through the podcasts!

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  • http://twitter.com/Kirstekirst Kirsten Stokes

    This post is such a great reminder to all of us in our busy Western culture of the need for consistent times of rest and refreshment to recharge and be productive. Thanks for sharing!

  • Isaac Stokes

    This is such a great reminder to all of us in our busy Western culture of the need for consistent times of rest and refreshment to recharge and be productive. Thanks for sharing!

  • prophetsandpopstars

    I just got around to finishing this podcast. Great content and way to communicate your heart for ours, Michael. God is using you to join in harmony with all of the other voices in my world to say the same thing: This is REALLY important for me to get. 

    Thanks for giving me a way to articulate the road ahead. 

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  • http://www.robstill.com Rob Still

    Hey Michael I really loved this podcast episode!

    I wrote a blog post relating some of your ideas to my niche, worship ministry http://www.robstill.com/the-leaders-heart/

    Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Cool. I’ll have a look.

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  • Chad Moore

    Thank you for being transparent enough to say that you too fight feelings of giving up. How could THE Michael Hyatt give up? That’s encouraging to know it’s universal, I’m not the only one. Sometimes one has to just buck up, buckle down, and keep moving forward. As the KJV put it, David, one occasion, had to “encourage himself in the LORD.” Amen, thanks for the great podcast.

  • Kamau852

    I read an interesting blog post on mindhacks which discussed how your mind is housed in your social/cultural environment as well as in your body.

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    I loved this episode, Michael. Everything we do reflects the state of our heart. Such a great reminder!

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  • http://twitter.com/tlri1993imi VIJAY RAJ MG

    I Really get inspired ,,,more n about 10000 % right thing wat u say!! my heart saying to gain a bit % of knowledge!!from u!! for surely i will become like u in next some few years,,its my desire!! n i will,,more n more i try to find n read ur thots wanna gain more knowledge!! LEADERSHIP IS THE THING WHICH COULD CHANGE A WORLD IN A SECOND,,WAT I BELIEVE..MY TRYINGS IS HONESTY SHUD BECOME MY SOUL AND DESCIPLINE SHUD BECOME MY HEART,,,MY SOUL SHUD BESUPPORTED BY MY HEART!! IS TO SAY EVERYONES!!

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