Resentment

From Accusation to Acquittal: A Journey of Faith, Resilience, and Redemption

April 11, 2023

Do you remember Top Gun: Maverick’s climactic scene?

As Maverick flew away from enemy territory, his F-14 clipped the roof of a building and lost its front landing gear. With the odds stacked against him, Maverick, and his co-pilot Rooster, engaged in an epic dogfight with two enemy jets. After some heart-stopping maneuvers, Maverick and Rooster managed to take out one of the jets, but the other one seemed to be chasing him down with no escape in sight. Maverick knew this was his last mission. Suddenly, a miracle happened. A Top Gun pilot came out of nowhere, destroyed the enemy, and rescued Maverick, Rooster, and his plane. As the plane steadied after the enemy’s relentless pursuit, Maverick asked, “Who was that?” The pilot replied with a grin, “Your savior!” 

This movie scene is analogous to my last few weeks at my former company. After 21.5 years of service, I felt like I had lost my landing gear and was being pursued by an enemy. When all seemed hopeless, my savior saved the day, and I came in for a crash landing.

An Unforeseen Accusation

It all began on a Monday morning, May 23, 2022. I’d just emailed my official retirement notice to my manager; I informed him my last day would be June 30th—a moment I’d been anticipating for years. In a few weeks, on June 26th, I’d turn 55 and be eligible to walk away on my terms with full benefits, just what I’d worked so hard for. I was on cloud nine. 

But my mood changed on a dime. 

Later that afternoon, I received a meeting invite from the Corporate Audit Department for the next day. The subject line read: Confidential Discussion. I got a sick feeling and a lump in my throat. What could this be about, I wondered.

As the virtual meeting unfolded the next day, May 24th, two ethics compliance investigators revealed with a heavy tone that I had been accused of a grave violation of the Business Code of Conduct. “You’re the subject of a Business Code of Conduct investigation,” said the lead ethics investigator. 

A shiver of dread ran down my spine at the thought of the consequences of such an accusation. 

According to an anonymous source, the lead investigator claimed I was non-compliant on two fronts. Number one, I previously conducted a leadership workshop for company employees in Las Vegas and took advantage of the situation by charging my company for it. Number two, I was using previously conducted workshops to promote my platform.

Planning for the Second Half

You may be wondering how I got to this point. How about a bit of background? 

In 2015, I read Bob Buford’s book Halftime and became aware of the Sigmoid Curve and the importance of planning for the second half of life before the apex of one’s career (see the below chart). Seeing how many people retire without a plan and fail, I created content and built a platform before leaving my company, aiming for my own speaking, training, and executive practice immediately after retirement. I did this independently and with my resources.

I obtained my John Maxwell Team Certification in 2016, granting me access to leadership and communication content which I used to build my platform. I also designed a website detailing my speaking, training, and executive coaching services and fees for external opportunities; all intended to be rendered during personal time.

In 2018, I moved into a capabilities role, designing and delivering company training for 500 internal associates. A peer familiar with my John Maxwell certification asked if I’d be open to facilitating some leadership training for one of the company’s most significant partners. After receiving approval from my manager and the ethics office, and with travel expense support, I agreed. I conducted three leadership workshops for a significant partner in different cities for 150 mid-level managers. In 2019, my efforts were rewarded with an invitation to lead multiple workshops for 300 mid-level managers. It was an excellent opportunity to leverage my John Maxwell certification and provide leadership training to a significant partner.

Vegas Shadow

Fast forward to 2022. Post Covid, I was once again asked to conduct multiple leadership workshops as an extension of my capabilities role. The first request was an internal one, to deliver a session for around 25 of my colleagues in Las Vegas.

I’d never been to Las Vegas, but I had an inexplicable gut feeling that something wasn’t right. 

On April 13, I lead a workshop called “The Power of Influence”. It was a highly interactive session exploring the concepts of influence, empowerment, and connecting with others. Before the workshop, I had a conversation with a few longtime colleagues and revealed to them that I was planning to retire by the end of June. I departed Las Vegas the day after, feeling fulfilled due to having the opportunity to assist a group of my peers, and came back home.

But what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas; it stays with you like a dark shadow.

Conflict of Interest

“You’re the subject of a Business Code of Conduct investigation,” said the lead ethics investigator.

The words sent shivers down my spine. 

He continued, “the allegation stems from the recent workshop you conducted in Las Vegas. Someone complained that you’ve violated the Code’s Conflict of Interest clause. The complaint inquired how you were able to charge the company for the workshop and benefit financially.”

The company’s Business Code of Conduct aims to protect its brands and defines integrity standards. It’s meant to help associates act honestly and ethically, uphold the company’s values and protect its reputation. Employees, including me, participated in annual training, verified that they understood the code, and were expected to comply. Violations can lead to compensation penalties or employment termination. 

Read that again. Violations can lead to compensation penalties or employment termination.  

My heart sank, especially as I was nearing the end of my career.

A conflict occurs when personal interests interfere with an employee’s business decisions, including outside speeches or presentations. The Code reads, “If the content discusses matters related to the company, approval may also be required from the manager, Public Affairs, Legal Counsel, and others. Conflict occurs if offered payment or reimbursement in connection with making a presentation.”

I was perplexed when I heard that someone had accused me of gaining financial benefit from the workshop. After all, I had only included speaking, training, and executive coaching fees on my website, along with the workshop topics and dates, although not the audience. It seemed the accuser had taken it upon themselves to deduce that I had charged the company for my services. 

What’s more, the timing of the complaint was exceptionally suspicious, filed right after I announced my retirement. It left me wondering, why had someone gone through the trouble of filing a complaint against me?

Anxiety and Uncertainty

To be crystal clear, the allegation was false.

I did not benefit financially from the company for the Las Vegas or any other workshop I conducted beginning in 2018. If I had benefited, there would have been a master service agreement, a statement of work, management approval, a purchase order, an invoice, and a payment. In other words, a paper trail. None of these existed in any form or fashion, nor did the intent to benefit financially.

The investigator began asking about my writing, speaking, and publishing activities, involvement in my family company, and activities outside of work. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’m imperfect. But the investigator’s questions seemed to be an invasion of privacy, had nothing to do with my job, and had no conflict of interest. Also, I’d gone above and beyond to always disclose my activities to ensure there wasn’t even an appearance of a conflict of interest.

The investigator concluded the conversation by asking me to send some follow-up information to him and saying that our discussion was highly confidential. A gag order was issued – I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone, not even my manager, about the allegation. The investigation was ongoing and would include additional interviews. Lastly, he told me that the Business Code of Conduct Infractions Committee would meet on June 13 to rule on my case; three excruciating weeks to wait.

As I hung up, I realized the potential ramifications of the indictment. Georgia is an “At Will” state, meaning my employment could be terminated for any reason. The charge jeopardized my hard-earned retirement benefits, including health insurance and pension. And my reputation was at risk – if I were fired for wrongdoing, I’d lose all credibility, and my post-retirement plans would go down the drain.

The investigation results and final verdict were out of my hands. All I could do was pray and hope for the best possible outcome. But the anxiety I experienced was real – a tight chest, critcal self-talk, and sleepless nights.

Finding Peace and Trust during Turmoil

Amid the waiting period, my wife and I went to Greece to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We planned the trip long before the conflict-of-interest charge was filed against me. Our time together was an interesting mix of romance and high anxiety. I’d vacillate between the two extremes. Let’s just say it wasn’t an easy time. 

On top of everything, I discovered that my book, Discipled Leader, won the Selah Award’s 2022 Best Nonfiction Book of the Year Award. Because of the cloud of suspicion I was under, I couldn’t fully enjoy the honor.

Toward the end of the week, after much prayer and reflection, I remember floating in the Aegean Sea and hearing a still, small voice say, “Be still and know that I am God.” At that moment, I let go of my anxiety and decided to trust God with the outcome, good or not-so-good. Then I heard him ask penetrating questions like, “What happens if you are cleared? How will you react? Will you be angry and resentful? Will you let the seed of bitterness grow into seeking revenge?” 

An Unforgettable Moment

We arrived home on June 10th, and after a weekend of jetlag recovery, I flew to Grand Rapids, MI, on June 13th for work – Infractions Committee meeting day. The news didn’t come that day, or the next. I distinctly remember sitting in the Grand Rapids airport before my flight home, drinking a beer, and mustering the courage to reach out to the lead investigator. I typed an instant message inquiring about my case’s status. The investigator immediately replied, “Have you not heard from your manager yet? He’s been advised of your status. Please reach out to him.”

Immediately, I sent my manager a note asking if he had time to talk; it was urgent! His delayed response was, “Is there something wrong?” I replied, “Do you know the status of my Business Code of Conduct case and the Infractions Committee ruling?” Another delay. I stepped into the restroom. Then my phone buzzed. I received a message notification while standing at the urinal. I looked at my phone, and my manager responded, “You’ve been cleared of all charges.” A moment I’ll never forget.

Interestingly, my manager didn’t know that I knew I was under investigation. He knew my case status but didn’t relay it because of the imposed communication gap. Since there was a strict gag order, he mistakenly assumed that I was in the dark about it.

I was acquitted. 

Thank God. Thank my Savior.

What a relief. I would retire with full benefits and an untarnished reputation.

Four Lessons Learned on Integrity, Peace, Attitude, and Victimhood

But that’s not the end of my story. Before I continue, allow me to share four valuable lessons I learned from this experience:

  1. Putting Integrity to the Test. Integrity’s test is a great way to examine our character and moral standards. The Bible says, “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.” (Proverbs 28:18 ESV) It is essential to recognize that it is okay to be tested if we are honest and uphold our values. This can be a challenge in situations where we may be tempted to lie or act unethically for personal gain. However, it is essential to remember that integrity will always be rewarded in the long run. People who remain true to themselves and their values will be respected and ultimately achieve greater success than those who choose to be dishonest. As a lesson, it is important to always remain consistent and honest in our actions, no matter the consequences.
  2. Peace is anxiety’s antidote. When life is hard, and anxiety levels are high, remaining calm and trusting in God is vital. We must have faith that the Lord will protect us and have a plan for our lives. It is important to remember that God has not abandoned us in times of distress and that we must continue to trust in His plan. A lesson to be learned is that no matter how chaotic or difficult a situation may be, we must stay grounded in our faith and trust that God has a plan for us. The Bible says, “Do not be afraid of sudden terror or the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Proverbs 3:25 ESV) A challenge is to practice daily reminders of peace, such as meditation or prayer, to help us stay focused on the love and peace of God, even when life is uncertain. 
  3. Becoming bitter or better. A lesson that can be learned from this is that no matter what happens, we have the power to choose how we react and respond to our circumstances. Remembering that we control our attitude and how we handle adversity is important. We can choose to become better, not bitter. It is up to us to make the most of our situation, no matter how difficult it may be. The challenge is to be mindful of our reactions to difficult situations. It can be easy to become bitter, but choosing positivity and resilience is much more beneficial. The Bible says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15) It is essential to take the time to evaluate our thoughts and feelings and ensure we are making the best decisions for our well-being. It is also important to surround ourselves with positive people and environments who will help us focus on becoming better, not bitter. 
  4. Rejecting Victimhood. Rejecting Victimhood was my mantra for the last few weeks of my career. I appreciate that the company was following procedure and must address all Code of Business Conduct complaints. I hold no ill will and know the investigators were just doing their job. But I also believe I encountered spiritual warfare, and I can confidently say I was victorious. I believe God turned the evil that was intended against me into something good (ref Genesis 50:20). This experience has allowed me to develop a deeper trust in God, and I am now a witness to God’s love, goodness, provision, and protection. It has become a story that I will be forever grateful to tell.

A Final Choice to Make

As I boarded the plane in Grand Rapids to return home, anger consumed me. I felt my blood pressure rise as the plane ascended. Why would someone file a false accusation against me? I was engulfed by bitterness, resentment, frustration, and pride. My thoughts were filled with revenge, and I was determined to get justice for how I had been treated.

To blow off some steam a few days later, I rode my bike and listened to an Insight for Living podcast. Pastor Chuck Swindoll was teaching on “Life’s Most Subtle Temptation” – revenge. He shared the Bible story of David and King Saul (ref. 1 Samuel 24).

David had been unjustly pursued by Saul, who believed David was out to kill him and wanted to eliminate him first. One day, David and his men were hiding in a cave, and Saul entered, not knowing they were there. David’s followers encouraged him to kill Saul while he had the chance, but David chose a different path. He cut a corner of Saul’s robe and let him go, believing revenge was God’s to take. 

After Saul had left, David approached him and revealed the swatch from his robe. He confronted Saul and told him he could have killed him but chose not to. David also explained that the allegations against him were false. Saul was humbled and said, “You are a better man than I am.” Then, they parted ways.

David’s story reminded me to leave revenge in God’s hands and to focus on living a life of integrity and truth. With the Lord’s whispered questions still ringing in my ears, I faced a critical choice: bitterness and resentment or a better way forward. 

On June 16, 2022, I committed to choosing joy and thanked the Lord for His help in guiding me in the right direction. I wrote in my journal, “I felt worn out, roughed up, hungover, frustrated, and angry. Pissed that I was treated this way. Under investigation right before I leave. Was hoping to leave without a bitter taste in my mouth. I need to choose joy and be thankful. No resentment. Lord, please help me work through this and fill me with your Spirit. May my thoughts and actions honor you.”

With retirement right around the corner, I took a leap of faith and embraced a new outlook on life. With the Lord’s help, I ditched the weight of resentment and took flight, soaring like Maverick with friends cheering me on. I let go of the past and embraced the future, determined to make the most of my life. Now it’s time to take on the ultimate challenge: writing my next chapter and bravely facing the adventure that lies ahead. 

Are you ready to join me on this journey of self-discovery and challenge yourself to overcome any bitterness or resentment you may be feeling? Can you find the courage to let go of the past and move forward with your life? The choice is yours.


BONUS – Watch or listen to my interview with my friend Steve Adams where we discuss the above story and the importance of cultivating integrity.

Embracing Brokenness Ministries Podcast w/ Host Steve Adams

118. 340 Questions Jesus Asked | Bob Tiede | Cru Leadership Development Embracing Brokenness Ministries

Jesus asked questions to lead people to change and transformation. Bob Tiede, a member of the US leadership development team at CRU, shares his 52-year journey with the organization and the importance of developing future leaders. He emphasizes the need for organizations to invest in leadership development to ensure long-term success. Bob also discusses the power of asking questions as a leader and how it can lead to more effective communication and decision-making. On today's podcast, Steve and Bob discuss his book '340 Questions Jesus Asked' and the power of asking questions in leadership and communication.  Get Bob's e-book free: https://leadingwithquestions.com/books/  00:00 Introduction 00:57 Bob Tiede's 52-Year Journey with Cru 04:16 The Importance of Leadership Development 07:30 The Impact of Asking Questions in Leadership 10:09 Personal Story and Spiritual Journey 25:24 The Significance of Asking Questions and Jesus's Questions 33:00 Effective Communication: Stories and Questions 45:55 Purposeful Leadership: Lessons from 52 Years of Experience — Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/embracing-brokenness/support
  1. 118. 340 Questions Jesus Asked | Bob Tiede | Cru Leadership Development
  2. 117. Jay Payleitner | Checking the Boxes Only You Can Check
  3. 116. TOSA | A Classic Therapeutic Community
  4. 115. The Noise and Distractions in Parenting
  5. 114. The Noise is Deafening

And to learn more about my platform, visit http://www.prestonpoore.com today!

Cheers,

Pres

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The One About The Bullies

October 10, 2022

Seven Ways to Prevent Bullying

First, an update to my original 2020 article…

People and events shape who we are.

I was bullied during my adolescent years and have shared my story several times in support of National Bullying Prevention Week.

The last time I shared my story, I received stinging criticism that I bullied others, and my attitudes, words, and actions toward them were hurtful. Just as I was shaped by my bullying experience, I now understand that those I bullied were impacted by my behavior toward them. I am so sorry.

The psychological term for my behavior is “Displacement – a defense mechanism in which a person redirects a negative emotion from its original source to a less threatening recipient.”[1] In my anger, frustration, fear, and anxiety, I’m confident that I took my negative emotions out on others.

Unfortunately, my regretful behavior continued into my college and early career. I became the intimidator for fear of anyone intimidating me. 

I accept responsibility for my conduct, and if you were at any point the brunt of my regretful behavior, please forgive me. It wasn’t until the Lord got a hold of me that I put down my defenses. I discovered what it meant to love people…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, English Standard Version)

I surrendered my desire to rise and fight back no matter the situation to him. He transformed my mind, will, and emotions, ended my need to intimidate, and empowered me to love others. Admittedly, I’m still a work in process and have a long, long way to go.

How about you?

If you’re a bully or intimidate others, maybe you’re displacing your emotions on others. Do as I did, examine your ways, and surrender them to the Lord. He alone can change hearts, and changed hearts change behavior.

If you’ve been bullied or know someone who has, I encourage you to read my story and the seven ways to prevent it.

Lastly, UNITY DAY is October 19, 2022. Will you “wear and share orange for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion and to send a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying” with me? Visit https://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/unity-day.asp to learn more.

[1] https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-displacement-in-psychology-4587375


Now, here’s my original article. I hope you are inspired to help prevent bullying! Good reading…

After becoming a Christian in the eighth grade, I shared my newfound faith with everyone. I hoped my relationship with Jesus would be contagious. After a few months of sharing, multiple friends called and asked to come to church with me. I was so excited! Some came and responded to the gospel as I had. But others decided that the Christian faith wasn’t for them. These “friends” who’d rejected the message began to reject me as well.

Being bullied became a constant pattern in my life. I was ridiculed and ostracized by my “friends.” I was physically or verbally threatened on several occasions because of my beliefs. 

One semester, a group of tough guys began intimidating me. They’d sneak up on me and whisper, “Do you want to fight? You’d better watch yourself after school. We’re gonna kick your butt!” They were relentless. The bullies stared and laughed at me in class, followed me down the halls every day, and prevented me from getting into my locker. I was scared to death and felt like no one could help me. 

I didn’t know how to fight back. I was a scrawny, five-foot-two kid who weighed eighty pounds soaking wet. The bullies seemed like they were ten feet tall. Their intimidation became overbearing, so I went to see the school counselor. After hearing my story, he began escorting me to the bike rack after school for the next month. I’d unlock my bike, hop on, and ride like the wind, hoping to get home before the bullies caught me.

One time, I was home alone, and the doorbell rang. Two bullies were at the door. They tried to pull me outside and beat me up—in a nice, middle-class neighborhood, no less! I forced the door shut. They looked for another way into the house, calling me names as I hid inside. I tried to call my neighbors for help. No one was home. I was so scared that the bullies would find a way into my house that I called the police. The bullies left. 

My dad came home, and I told him what had happened. Trying to help me, he called the bullies’ parents and had stern conversations with them. Well, you can imagine how the bullies reacted. Their threats, intimidation, and pressure grew worse. During P. E. the next day, the bullies told me I’d pay for my dad’s calls. 

Somehow, I kept my faith and prayed for God’s protection through all that. I trusted God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (ESV). I surrounded myself with other believers and found support. I was never physically harmed, but I was emotionally scarred. 

Being bullied was humiliating and embarrassing. Admittedly, I’ve struggled with resentment toward those bullies and wanted to get revenge over the years. It took a long time for me to forgive them and overcome my fear and anger. These traumatic episodes molded me at a very early age and had a lasting impact. On one side, they taught me to trust God and persevere. On the other side, I learned how to hide my faith from others as a form of self-protection.

Eventually, I grew out of the five-foot-two frame into a six-foot-one frame. I matured physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My confidence grew more potent, and bullies no longer intimidated me. I stick up for myself. But when I sense someone is trying to threaten me or someone else, I have a visceral reaction (i.e., hair standing up on the back of my neck) that motivates me to fight back – stand up for myself and others. This isn’t always good. At times, I can become the aggressor. I’m still a work in progress. God continues shaping me – healing the wounds from long ago, building my faith in him, and moderating my reaction to bullies. He’s not done with me yet, but I know that he’ll finish what he started.

Statistics show that 20% of children ages 12 to 18 years old experience some type of bullying – unwanted aggressive behavior meant to hurt. Bullying comes in several forms (verbal, social, and physical) and typically occurs in a few locations (school or online). 

How do you prevent bullying? It can be complex. But based on my experience, I recommend the following seven ways:

  1. Keep the faith – I ran to God and sought his help in my time of need. He heard my cries and protected me. My faith in him grew more profound because of my experience, and he continues to mend me today. 
  2. Speak up – If you’re the one being bullied, tell a trusted adult or authority. Don’t be embarrassed. Ask for help. It took me a long time to muster the courage to admit I was being bullied. Ultimately, I told my parents and teachers. My experience may not have lasted as long or been as acute if I’d confided in someone earlier.
  3. Surround yourself – seek support, safety, and solace with your friends and family. I leaned into my church youth group and will never forget their encouragement.
  4. Stick up for yourself – Sometimes, you need to dig deep inside and find the courage to overcome your fear. Let the bully know you’re not going to take it anymore. I’m not condoning violence. I am condoning a deep resolve that prevents anyone from unwanted aggressive behavior. Tell the bully to stop.
  5. Be someone’s hero – Don’t stand on the sidelines if you see someone being bullied. Intervene, stick up for the bullied person; if you see something, say something. I wished I had more heroes willing to stand up for me. Now, I try to be that hero in someone’s life that I didn’t have.
  6. Build awareness and a culture of safety – Teachers, administrators, parents, and students can all play a role in bully prevention. Educate everyone on what bullying is and what it isn’t. Teach respect, dignity, and what to do if bullying is occurring. Learn to listen. Be empathetic. Protect others.
  7. Forgive and forget – It took a long time for me to resolve my feelings of anger and resentment. I learned that it’s not good to hang on to grudges. If you do, you’ll become bitter. The path to becoming better is through forgiveness and forgetting the circumstances – move on.

To learn more about bullying, its effects, and how to prevent it, visit: https://www.stopbullying.gov.

Have you ever been bullied? What was your experience? Please send me a note to preston@prestonpoore.com and continue the conversation. 

Cheers,

Pres

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Resentment: Four Ways to Let Go and Move On

March 16, 2018

Our manager, Kevin, suddenly charged into the room and sat down at the conference table.

“Okay, let’s see what you’ve got!” he exclaimed.

“Hi, Kevin. How are you today?” I said with a smile, trying to lighten his mood and begin our meeting on a positive note.

Kevin replied, “I don’t have time today for small talk. Let’s go through your presentation and determine the next steps.”

Over the next 15 minutes, Peter, my teammate, and I presented three different promotional displays to Kevin. We discussed the construction, benefits, and potential cost of each display. Kevin seemed to like the options and asked how we could gain national customer team feedback.

The conversation came up once before, and I recommended using an internet survey. Kevin turned it down the first time. During this discussion, I thought I’d revisit the survey option. After I mentioned it, Kevin shook his head and said, “Nope, already rejected.”

I gently pushed back and asked him to reconsider. I began my response with, “I don’t mean to challenge you, but….”

Not good. As soon as the words left my mouth, Kevin’s face turned red; he slammed his computer shut and shouted: “But you are challenging me, and I don’t appreciate it!” Throwing a tantrum, he got up and began to walk out of the room. Wanting to solve the issue, I followed him out the door. I asked Kevin to wait a moment and told him that I was just trying to make a suggestion. I told him I didn’t appreciate being treated that way, especially in front of a team member.

Kevin said, “Are you going to confront me in the hallway right now?”

“No,” I said, staring at the floor. He told me we’d talk later and walked away. I went home deflated.

The following day, Kevin called me into his office. When I arrived, he asked me to sit down. Then he said, “I am going to tell you some things, and you cannot respond.”

I looked at him inquisitively and thought, “I’m in for it; this can’t be good.” He was about to give me feedback. He told me that he wanted me to think about it and then we’d talk again. So, I sat in silence, ready to listen.

“Preston, I was relatively easy on you yesterday. Other executives would have torn you to shreds.”

“Really?” I thought to myself.

“You’re not helping me, you’re not being a team player, and you don’t listen well. You’ve got to change, or you’ll be out of a job.” I held my tongue, honoring his request, and thanked him for the feedback.

I walked away from the conversation madder than a hornet. I was highly offended. I’d worked very hard, accomplished so much, but Kevin always marginalized me. Kevin retaliated by implying my job was in jeopardy. A molehill was made into a mountain, and I resented Kevin for it. As a matter of fact, I resented Kevin and his management style for the two years I worked on his team. My constant feelings of bitterness were taking their toll. What was I going to do?

All leaders experience resentment from time to time. What is resentment? It’s an emotion that wells up inside when you feel like you’ve been mistreated or offended. Hard feelings, frustration or anger, can come from any number of sources, including not gaining someone’s respect, not receiving appreciation for a job well done, not being assigned to a special project, being passed over for a promotion, an unspoken apology, or rejection. Resentment is the most toxic of all emotions because it can lead to anger, hate, discord, divorce, aggressive driving, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, bankruptcy, and even violence.

If you hold a grudge against someone, the bitterness will fester inside and eventually destroy you. It begins as an emotional trigger and, if harbored, will become a mood impacting behavior. Resentment is a heavy burden you carry, affecting your relationships and health. As the adage goes, “Bitterness is the poison one swallows as he or she hopes the other person dies.”

If resentment is so dangerous, what is the antidote? Forgiveness. If you forgive someone, you stop blaming him or her for the offense. You let go and move on. The Bible says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV)

How do you forgive someone? Employ the four steps to forgiveness:

  1. Acknowledge your anger, then drop it and move on. It’s okay to be angry but don’t allow it to last. Let go of the anger when offended or wronged by someone. Don’t harbor it. Anger can lead to hate and violence. Resentment will break you unless you break it first. Put down the poison and move on.
  2. Stand in their shoes. Realize that everyone is perfectly imperfect. The Christian leader remembers God forgave them, and that same mercy should be shown to others.
  3. Respond with good, not revenge. Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. Ask God to change your heart and enable you to return the offense with a positive reaction. Practice the Golden Rule – do to others as you’d have them do to you. Remember, love is patient, kind, and doesn’t seek its own way.
  4. Pray. Ask God to forgive you and enable you to forgive the one who offended you.

Admittedly, I’ve struggled with resentment for years. I often dwell on circumstances and people when I feel disenfranchised, demoralized, or undignified. In the above story, I let my manager get the best of me. I should have taken responsibility for my words and actions. I didn’t need to challenge Kevin after he’d made a decision or chase him into the hallway to confront him. I needed to exercise more self-control and give him space. It would have been better if I’d approached him later, apologized, and asked how I could help; personal leadership lessons learned that I applied to future situations.

The good news is that I recognized the impact bitterness was having on me and those around me. I discovered that the best antidote to resentment is forgiveness. I let go of my grudge, and my well-being improved tremendously; I no longer felt the weight of bitterness. I found that my mental outlook improved, relationships healed, and I felt much better.

How about you? Do you resent someone? Are you holding a grudge? If so, how is it impacting you? What will happen if you continue holding on to the resentment? Are you willing to forgive the individual? Why not forgive that someone today? If you do, your well-being will improve, your relationships will heal, and you’ll be a more successful leader.

Want to learn more about becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!

Cheers,

Preston

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Preston Poore

I’m a disciple of Christ and an executive at a Fortune 500 Company. In my blog, The Discipled Leader, I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work.

As a certified coach, speaker, and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, I help others grow their relationship with Christ, develop their leadership skills, and understand how they can make a positive difference in today’s chaotic world.

Let me help you reach your potential.

I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and learn how to develop Christlike character, influence your culture and change your world.

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