Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
— Matthew the Apostle

I was pretty frustrated with everybody.  My unhappiness with myself masked itself with a broad disappointment in everything around me.  It shrouded my love for my children and my wife, and in turn, shrouded them.  If you had asked me at the time, I would have told you about all the ways they didn’t measure up and meet my expectations.

But, you treat others the way you treat your own heart.

The reality is that if you are disappointed in yourself, it most visibly manifests in your disappointment in others.  It is nearly impossible to disconnect the two.  I certainly couldn’t pull it off.  Though I don’t have a lot of anecdotal evidence from that period, I am sure those I managed at that time in my vocational space didn’t feel a lot of support or encouragement from me either.

I remember feeling like my wife and others were the cause of all my problems and that if they would just get “fixed” everything would be okay.  Somewhere in a rising tide of a failing marriage buckling under the weight of my disappointment, I allowed myself to take some ownership of at least a portion of the issue.  Maybe I was some small percentage of the problem.  My false humility handled the rest.


The arrogance of that statement makes me embarrassed even as I write it, but it was a crucial step.  That revelation, about twelve or so years ago, changed everything.   Believing that I was at least a small portion of the problem was the doorway to owning all of the problem.  For when I focused on what I believed was a speck in my own eye and looked away from the log in hers, I realized that it was exactly the opposite.  I was the one toting the series lumber.  After a while I came to see that she often didn’t even have a speck in hers.

All of the things that seemed to frustrate me faded when I owned my portion of the problem.  As a leader of both my home and vocational space, my moods, fear, and critical posture with everyone else was manifesting itself in cultures that were almost completely a byproduct of my behavior.  It was all about taking ownership of the weight of my leadership.

Many leaders are frustrated by:

  • The leaders they hired
  • The lack of processes
  • The performance of people they trained
  • The lack of employee ownership focus

When the reality is that they:

  • Hired poorly
  • Have failed to create adequate processes
  • Hot trained well
  • Hot created or inspired others to a clear vision

Focusing on my own contribution to my problems and frustrations (both with people and otherwise) has changed everything.  When I started to focus on my percentage of the issues I faced, I realized that there wasn’t merely a log, but a whole woodpile.

Are you frustrated?

Do you feel like you are responsible for some percentage of the frustrations you face?

Are you owning that?