Countercultural yet crucial, Dr. Zac Bauermaster shares the surprising KEY to unlocking confident leadership at work and at home. Don't miss Zac's own story and expert advice on turning personal trials into professional triumphs.

The Surprising Key To Unlocking Confident Leadership

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Countercultural yet crucial, Dr. Zac Bauermaster shares the surprising KEY to unlocking confident leadership at work and at home. Don’t miss Zac’s own story and expert advice on turning personal trials into professional triumphs.

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  • What Zac learned about leadership from sports
  • How to help those around you feel valued. 
  • Zac’s battle with depression and anxiety and his top tip for overcoming it
  • How to turn brokenness into a superpower
  • The importance of impressive empathy
  • How to use comparison to grow
  • Why delegation is crucial for those around you


Countercultural yet crucial, Dr. Zac Bauermaster shares the surprising KEY to unlocking confident leadership at work and at home. Don't miss Zac's own story and expert advice on turning personal trials into professional triumphs.


An elementary school principal, Zac is an educational leader passionate about people with one of his main tag lines being, “It’s all about people.” His leadership style exemplifies a people-first approach as he seeks to glorify God in all he does.

Zac has gained humble confidence through his daily pattern of prayer and reading scripture that he aims to share with others to advance God’s kingdom.

An elementary school principal, Zac is an educational leader passionate about people with one of his main tag lines being, “It’s all about people.” His leadership style exemplifies a people-first approach as he seeks to glorify God in all he does.
Zac has gained humble confidence through his daily pattern of prayer and reading scripture that he aims to share with others to advance God’s kingdom.


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You have the coach and you have all these people on a team that have different gifts and how can we utilize and maximize those gifts. And it starts with getting to know the people and putting them in the right spots. So putting people in those roles to be successful, which helps the whole organization, which helps the whole family thrive.
Welcome to the imperfectly empowered podcast with DIY healthy lifestyle blogger on a former empowering you to transform your life. One imperfect day at a. Hello. And welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host on a former. Today. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Dr.
Zach Bauer master. Zach has a doctorate in educational leadership. He is a speaker and an author, and is passionate about inspiring others to become confident leaders with his unique. Approach. He also happens to be my children’s school principal. Welcome educational thought leader. Dr. Zach Bower master.
Well, Zach, welcome to the podcast. Thank you, Anna. I’m glad to be here. It’s fun to have you here. My kids saw when they saw your book. They’re like, is that our principal? I said, yeah, he is gonna come onto the podcast. And I said, They were impressed. Yeah. Huh? No, that’s very good. I’m excited for another school year.
I’m excited to see ’em and we have a third former joining us this year. We do have a third former watch out world. Yeah. She’s the one who may of my three children end up in your office. All right. Looking forward to it though. Yeah. Yeah. So I always have to ask this question because I love when we have educators come on here.
You’re the second principal that I’ve had on, were you the kid? That was sent to the principal’s office. Were you ever in the principal’s office, did you ever imagine you would become the principal? A great question. I was never the kid that was sent to the principal’s office, but I always, I always thought I wanted to be a lifelong high school, social studies teacher and a high school basketball coach, a long, a long time basketball coach.
That’s what I initially set out to do. As you know, things change over time and just led into a different direction. Yeah. So you played remind me, so we’re both local for everyone listening and watching. We both grew up in the same county. We were at different schools. Similar. We were close in age though, I think.
And you played basketball in high school? Yep. That’s correct. So I played at Sanco high school. Yep. And then you went on and played in college. Did you play in college? Am I remembering that right? I did. That’s correct. I played at Millers. Yeah. Yeah. How did that experience help transform your educational path?
Did you already feel very confident? This is exactly what you wanted to do, or even then, were you like, ah, I’ll just teach. Yeah. No, I felt fairly confident that I wanted to coach and I wanted to teach, but I think going to Millersville and playing basketball. It’s one of those. I talk often about stretching yourself outside the comfort zone.
It stretches you outside the comfort zone, you meet different people. Um, there’s really a lot of that self discipline. So you’re, you’re managing your classwork. You’re playing basketball. You’re working to stay in shape. You’re you’re thinking ahead, my wife and I, at that time, we were dating and got engaged.
So just a lot of different things going on, but I know like coach Thompson and coach Dian Pence were instrumental and I try to stay in touch with them, especially coach Pitts. And you really develop those lifelong relationships as well that you connect with. For example, One of the guys that was on my team.
He reached out, he lives in Georgia and he is a home decor shop now. And he reached out to get a bunch of copies of the book to sell at his store there. So you’re ah, that’s so cool. Yeah. So you have those lifelong relationships that you build and it, it’s cool to see what all of them are doing now. All the teammates.
Yeah. How would you say that your years in sports? I mean, For people who are not aware who are listening and watching my husband is a football coach. So I have been a football wife for, I think this is our eighth year now. It’s been many, many years. The majority of our marriage really, and both of us are passionate.
I also love sports. About how sports are so much more than just a game. It’s truly, it’s an ability to learn lifelong lessons. And as you said, create discipline, but also leadership is a huge element to athletics. Whether you are the best on the team, or you’re not the best on the team, everyone plays a role.
And ultimately everyone ends up having to take some sort of role of leadership. Tell me a little bit in your experience, how looking back. Athletics played a role in your understanding and concept of leadership. When I think of athletics, when I think of teams in my experiences, I often think you’re getting a group of people working towards a common goal, and everyone has different gifts and abilities.
And it’s putting people in the right spots to maximize their gifts and abilities for that ultimate purpose. And that’s why sports has played such an instrumental role, because let’s say you take a basketball team, you have five guys on the floor. You don’t just put the five most talented players out there.
You want to have a good ball handler, a good passer. You want have a good shooter, a good rebounder. And so the coach puts people in the right spots for the team to be the most success. And that’s really getting to know your players. And when you think about leadership, number one, one of my slogans is it’s all about people.
And number one is prioritizing people. So you get to know people, you get to know their gifts and abilities. You get to know their strengths, and then you put ’em in those spots to be successful individually. And then collectively as a whole. So sports has just been instrumental in really painting that picture of what leadership is.
Yeah. And how do you approach the person who often feels like they don’t have, I mean, I’m thinking of the person on the bench. There’s so many ways that you could include that when you’re talking about a team, maybe it’s somebody who feels like they’re not valuable because they’re the housekeeper I’m thinking of medicine and the people who, oh my gosh, we said so many times without housekeeper.
We could not do our jobs. Yeah. You know, it literally took every single person and that’s true in any team, whether it be the person sitting on the bench or the housekeeper who is absolutely crucial, but they often don’t feel it. What do you say as a leader to that person and how do you help them flip the script in their own mind and actually start thinking more of themselves in their role?
Yeah. I think when I think of that, I think of. Everyone feeling a sense of connectedness and everyone’s having a sense of belonging and I’ll, I’ll tie that into the school example. Some of my favorite people would interact with are the school custodians, the cafeteria workers, and just who also know everything by the way, they probably hear every single little they do.
And just making sure everyone feels involved and feels valued. I, I think that’s a key piece there. Everyone feeling valued. Yeah. I’ll use an example. The previous school district I was in there was the attendance sec attendance, secretary Linda. And our offices were near each other. And so she was in the back of the office and I was there, but every morning at six 50, I would walk behind and say, good morning, Linda.
Unfortunately, during that year, Linda got sick with cancer, lost her hair and then had a step away from the job. But we had built a relationship. We were connected. So every morning at six 50, I would still text her and I’d say, good morning, Linda, even when she wasn’t there, but she’s doing much better now, but I think it’s, it’s making everyone feel valued, feel her checking in and.
Helping them see that they’re all a part of the bigger picture as well. One of my favorite quotes about leadership is from John Maxwell. Leadership has influenced nothing more, nothing less. So no matter our roles. And when we’re talking mom, a dad, husband, a wife, no matter what we’re doing, we have influence and we can impact the lives of other people.
You said an interesting thing. I mean, I heard a couple things out of that one. It’s helping people feel connected. Two it’s making them feel valued, but you also said a third point that I think contributes to the first two is that you want to make sure they feel heard. And I think that is one of the key pieces that I have learned in my life.
I think it’s why people even love doing podcast interviews, because it’s this sense that it’s an exclusive opportunity to be heard and share your story. And in my experience, I think that has been one of the number one pieces of helping teams feel connected is making sure everyone has had the opportunity.
To be heard and anyone can do that. So how do you encourage, you know, if somebody’s listening and everyone’s part of a team in some way, shape or form, I’ve said this a million times on this podcast, everybody is a leader. If you have anyone that looks up to you in your life, anybody watching you, you’re a leader, everyone’s a leader in one way or another.
So how do you encourage people to foster that environment of. Making someone feel connected, valued, and ultimately heard, what can we be doing? Whether it be in our homes, in our professional lives practically to help inspire that I really value. And I struggle at it, but I, I preach it a lot. Being present being where your feet are and yeah, and I, I also try to prioritize individual one on one conversations.
Mm-hmm, , I’m not, I’m not a up in front rah type of person, but I think that’s where you develop those deep connections when you’re having those individual side conversations about people in their lives. So I’m a principal. So I have a lot of conversations with teachers and support staff custodians, but really getting to know them personally.
And they’ll say, all right, Hey, this, this guy, but authentically listen and, and really seek to understand. And, and that, when I talk about prioritizing people, when we get to know them, we can then empathize with them. So then we’re empathizing with them and we develop that connection. So when they feel like I always try, when I’m talking to people, make them feel very valuable.
Like, Hey, when he’s talking to me, he’s making me feel like the most important person in the world. Yeah. And then I, and then I think that spreads to a whole, because as a leader, It’s the balcony and the dance floor. So you’re down on the dance floor. You’re having those conversations, side conversations, individual 1 0 1 conversations, but you’re also stepping back from that, the balcony and taking a look at the big picture.
And, and how is everyone doing? And I’ll use the school example where I’ll use my family example and just continue to observe the different needs of people. Yeah, and you are really good at this. I will give you a shout out. So we have to pick up our kids because we’re, uh, I cannot wait till we live where we, my children can get the bus but that’s okay for right now.
I still have to go pick them up, but you do a good job of this. I see you, you go and you talk to individual people, dads who are waiting to pick up their kids, moms, maybe a grandmother, and you do a really good job of that. Connecting with people personally. And. Kudos to you. I’ve seen you do that. You’re intentional about that.
And I think people really appreciate seeing a leader out front. I think it makes a big difference. Yeah. Well, no, thank you. And it, I think it, it paves the way too, when you have those relationships and you’re connected. When you have to work through things, then absolutely. Was it, it’s been a challenging year in education, but you build those relationships and then you’re able to work through those together, even though you might not always agree.
Right. I love the term. Michael Fullen has impressive empathy and it’s the ability to see the perspective of those that disagree with you. And, and so much of us are struggling with that right now. But when we have those connections and we know people, it helps us work through some of those more difficult situations.
Yeah, I love, we’re gonna touch on that a little bit later. I’m we’re gonna talk more about impressive empathy. It is mentioned here in his book, which I didn’t give as I, when I did the introduction, I talked about this, but let’s just give this a shout out right now. This is Zach’s book that he just put out.
If you have not gotten it, the link will be included in the show notes. Of course, leading with a humble heart. If you have not gathered the secret to confident leadership is humility. We will talk about that even more as we go on, but I wanna touch on one other thing that you have addressed. You talked about it in the book.
I know that you and I had talked about it before you address the concept of mental health. And it’s something that I really value that you brought this up because I think it’s even harder for men to address it than it. Women cultural roles also play a part in this conversation as well as different cultures struggle more than others to be vulnerable about this.
But the reality is I’m reading these statistics here for people listening, who don’t know, 13% of men will be diagnosed with depression. At some point in their lives, 20% will experience an anxiety disorder. Now this. Statistics from people who are actually diagnosed and sought medical attention. So obviously these are short, these fall short, you mentioned that several years ago, you battled a significant season of depression and anxiety.
Share with us a little bit about that. So I to set the stage up raised in just a wonderful family, wonderful family raised in the church, parents love Jesus. I say there’s never been a day that I haven’t known Jesus. Two wonder two wonderful sisters. And really my life, I would say, when is planned? I, I went through school.
I, I played sports. I dated, I had my high school, sweetheart, who I’m now married to graduated high school. I went to college, I played basketball. I graduated. I got married, got a teaching job. And we had our first daughter, Olivia, and then we had another daughter Elliot and things just went as planned. And then all of a sudden, I don’t really know what it was, but all of a sudden I, and I describe it as I felt off like physically, I started to feel off, um, some, some pain in the chest, some physical symptoms, nausea.
and I was trying to do a lot of things. I was coaching. I was teaching, uh, I was trying to be the best husband. I could be best parent. And it, it got to a sense of like, I couldn’t keep up, but these physical symptoms, I had it. Wasn’t like, I’m anxious. Like, oh, I’m worried about this tomorrow. It was like this out of control, feeling like, whoa, what is going on in my mind?
And what’s going on in my. And I was just fighting to stay strong and I was like, all right, just, I sort of kept telling myself to snap out of it, snap out of it. And I would just be exhausted and I’d be like, am I anxious because I’m exhausted or am I exhausted because I’m anxious. And it just continued to go on.
And as, as I was batting that I just became tired and then I started to lose interest in some of those things I always enjoyed doing. And. What is going on here. So a lot of mine were the physical symptoms, not feeling well. I would go to the doctor and get my heart checked. I’d, I’d run through all these different things to see if there was something wrong with me, medically.
And it was really a battle of just what’s going on, cuz I’d never experienced anything like that. As I said, I’ve always gone through the motions and things were going well, but then there was that season of just. , I don’t know what’s happening. And a lot of it, as I said, was physical and I was trying to keep it inside and trying to fight through it.
Mm-hmm tell me a little bit about the thought processes. Could you recognize at that time that it may have something to do with the sense of overwhelm or pressure looking back? Do you feel like there was an element of. Yeah, I contributing. Yeah, I think it could be. I, I think I didn’t through my life. I hadn’t handled much difficulties or challenges.
Mm-hmm and here I am now as a husband, a father, I have a job and I think it all came in at one time. Yeah. And, and as, maybe as we continue to talk through it, I, I see it as. One of the best seasons then in my life to really transform my life moving forward. And as we get into the book, then about that humble confidence, like just that humility, like I started to open up to people.
I started with my wife and like, Hey, I’m feeling off. I I’m really struggling right now because I started to almost. She’d want to go do something. I was like, I’m not feeling well. Like I didn’t think I was feeling well. So then it started to limit what we were going out and doing. And, and when you say not feeling well for other people who may be experiencing this as well, the nurse practitioner here, obviously, but tell us a little bit, what did that involve for you?
Yeah. So feeling really tired or chest pain palpitations. Yep. Really tired, nauseous, nervous. Like if I would be out in public that some of that would really like the heart rate would really go up and I’d be in public setting and, and just really anxious in that sense and, and not, which was new for you.
Yep. Is that that’s correct. And not knowing how to handle it, but as we continue to talk through it, you just realize how many more people go through some of those experiences and challenges. And I know one time at, at church, we had a guy I’ve known for years, he stand up and we have like a testimony session and he shared something he had gone through right about the age of 30.
And it was exactly what I was going through. And that was one of the first conversations I texted him. Then Monday morning, I said, I’m going through that right now. Mm. And, and he was over there that evening and we just really talked through, you know, how I was feeling and some of his past experiences. So talking was a tremendous help during that time.
How did you even start that conversation? I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with is one. We just, generally speaking, people have heard me say this before, but we need to learn to get comfortable with uncomfortable emotions. We’re terrible about that in our society, we hate being uncomfortable.
So tell me for somebody who’s struggling with this. How did you even start verbalizing what you are feeling? Because this is a real, I mean, this is real life. You struggle to even communicate these things to your wife. Yeah. You know, and if you can’t communicate it to somebody who knows. In theory better than anybody.
How can you communicate it to somebody that you hardly know? I mean, this is the reality for many, many people. So how did you even get to the place? What came out of your mouth that helped you even start the conversation? I don’t feel right. Is what I heard you say. Yeah. So I started, I started with my wife, Carly and I would, I would say, I just feel off.
I’m not feeling right. And I would continue to have that conversation with her and it got to the point she’s she was great in talking through it. She’s like, I think you. Open up and share with some other people too. Yeah. And then when I talk about that gentleman from church, he really talked to me about, you need to have an inner circle.
And he, he used the story about when Jesus was praying in the garden of disseminate. He brought people, he was, he was feeling so much sorrow to the point of death that he brought people along with him. And they really said, you need to have people coming along with you during those difficult times. And I do share that in the book as.
So then I started to find like my brother-in-laws my sisters, my parents, and you, you get that circle that’s with you. And so if you’re struggling that one morning, you reach out and just say, Hey, I’m struggling. And you know that people are walking alongside you with it. So I think you, you start to talk to those people closest to you, and that was a tremendous help.
Yeah. And I, I think an I. Piece to note here. And for people listening and watching who are in this position, or somebody is coming to you with something like this, especially when it’s a spouse or even a child too often, we still try to deal with it on our own. So to Carly’s credit to your wife’s credit, I’m giving her this shout out because so oftentimes it’s like even a spouse wants to just, you keep it to your.
And you try to figure it out because we’re so afraid of appearing inadequate to other people. We’re so afraid of our mess being exposed. When in reality, the more we can get comfortable with that mess, the more we can actually move on and empower transformation, which is exactly what happened in your life.
And this is the story I hear over and over and over again. So again, I want to encourage people if you’re in this position or if you know somebody in this position, I think. You need to take Carly’s advice. You need to talk to other people. And then to Zach’s point be finding it does not have to be 20 people.
it needs to be a couple people that you respect and who you trust are going to give you sound judgment, not what you want to hear. Somebody who will tell you what you need to hear. Mm-hmm so, anyway, I appreciate that, that insight. And then tell me a little bit, how long did it take you to start to see a physical change?
As well as a mental change. Yeah. It was a, it was a process. And sometimes it just goes back to the basis where I need to find a healthy rhythm in my life. Yeah. I need to be, I need to be intentional with my sleep. I need to be in, I’ve always prided myself on working out and eating. Right. But when you go through those seasons, sometimes they go to the wayside.
So I know it sounds basic. It becomes like a chicken before the egg conversation. It’s like now I don’t even know what my problem really is. yeah. Yeah. Sleeping. Eating right. Exercise, talking to people like those were all huge. And the number one was I, during this time, I could have gone a lot of different ways, but during this time I really did turn to the Bible, the bare word of God, prayer and journaling.
I was just hungry for the scriptures to learn more. Cuz I, I realized honestly for the first time I came to the end of me realizing, wow, I have with those feelings, like I have no strength. And I think just going to those and some of those really helped me now, for example, With the book coming out and school starting up, I’ve sensed myself getting in a little bit of an unhealthy rhythm mm-hmm
So the other day I just started with the journal. I was like, here’s the things I need to do to get myself back on track. And, and some of it are just the very basic things of, of exercising the quiet time with the Lord in the morning, being intentional when my phone is a way, just all those things that can add up and add that stress and anxiety into our lives on a daily basis.
I mean, this backstory just think leads beautifully into your book and this concept of really embracing an attitude of humility in order to truly. Lead confidently and I would argue live confidently. Mm-hmm I absolutely think it is that attitude of humility. We’re gonna get into that in the second half.
We’re gonna take a quick break, but when we come back, stay tuned for a speed round of this or that with Zach and his expert advice on the key to becoming a confident leader, right? When we come back, you have tried it all worried. You will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed.
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All right, we are back here. We are gonna play a quick speed round. You’re gonna get two options, no stress. Whichever one comes to mind, first burger or hot. Burger. Where’s your favorite burger you’ve ever had? So it’s called the kitchen in Nottingham, Pennsylvania. It’s right across from hers chip factory.
Very good burger place, not wait, say it again. It’s called the kitchen nodding hand in the kitchen. Yep. And it’s across from hers chip factory down in Nottingham. Okay. Do that in the show notes. I’m always including good restaurant recommendations in the show notes until I love food. Yeah. Okay. Burger at the kitchen.
Coffee or tea, coffee, coffee with creamer or black one cup of black coffee every morning. Well, you’re, I’m three cups of black coffee, everybody. I dunno how you can be a principal and only one cup. Holy cow. That sounds like torture country or pop music or both. That depends on mood or neither. I would.
Who’s your favorite artist then? Country? I went through, I went through a big country phase with Kenny Cheney and we went to, we went to a bunch of Kenny Chesney concerts going up in college. Mm-hmm so I, I have some good memories with Kenny Chesney concerts in country. A lot of fun. I like some Darius Rucker songs here.
Yeah. Wagon wheel. All right. Those are some good songs. Mm-hmm so country. All right. Yeah, I’ll go country ice cream cone or milkshake, ice cream cone. Personal yacht or private jet. I’m gonna go private jet. So you’re on your private jet. Where are you going to? Where’s the first place you’re going first place.
I’m going to go to Hawaii. We’re gonna go to Hawaii. It’s a great, have you been I, so my wife and I went on our honeymoon, but would love to go back. We were there when the island of Kauai. Okay. The garden island. Yeah. Hawaii’s another one I get real excited about. I love Hawaii. Yeah. We’ve uh, been to Kauai, Malachi and Oahu and Maui is I really wanna get back.
Yeah. And go to Maui. Zach would move there in a heartbeat. he dreams of it. Okay. So you’re not on a private jet. You’re on. Large public airplane. Would you rather sit beside a crying baby or an adult who doesn’t stop talking adult who doesn’t stop talking? Hmm, because you already have three crying babies.
Yeah. We’ll stay away from the crying babies. But a lot of look, I don’t frown upon anyone who has a crying baby on there. I’ve been there before, so yeah. Say I’ll, I’ll support them any way I can. Yeah. Or I’ve been the adult crying should throw that one out there too. My job won’t stop crying. Yeah. Okay.
Last. Question. Would you rather go water skiing or scuba diving? Water skiing actually just went water skiing two weeks ago, water skiing two weeks ago. Where did you go? Yeah. Uh, blue marsh up in Redding. Yeah. So we, yeah, so we had a good time there. The kids got up on skis as well. That’s so fun. Yeah. But we’ve been talking a lot about your backstory.
Your experience was brought you to where you are today as a elementary school principal and just written this book. Again, leading with a humble heart, for those of you who are listening. And can’t see the book. When we talk about developing confidence leadership skills, there are a lot of qualities focused on to develop.
We see tons of educational trainings and there’s a million books out there. And your approach to confidence. Especially as a leader is unique. I wholeheartedly agree with it, but it is not. It’s a relatively countercultural approach to not only confidence, but leadership. So share with us a little bit about what that key is and why it is so essential to truly living and leading confident.
I’ll go back to that, that season where I was struggling with anxiety and I was struggling with depression in that, in that time where I was really turning to the scriptures and the bare word of God, cuz I, I just had this, how I felt this, this humbleness. I cannot do anything apart from you, God. And then as I’m diving into the scriptures, really seeing, verses that stand out to me like John 15 five, I’m the vine.
You are the branches apart from me. You can do nothing, but in me you can bear. Much fruit. And so really having leaders, you know, connected to that vine. So we’re bearing fruit. Another verse that’s really instrumental to me is Jeremiah 17, seven, and eight. And it really talks about blessed is the one who trust in the Lord whose confidence is in him.
And then it talks about, I love the pictures in the Bible who, who sends out its roots by the stream. So we’re by the stream like that, living water God. And whether we’re a parent, whether we’re a spouse, a principal, no matter what we’re doing. Being rooted in God, cuz leadership is going to be difficult.
But when we’re rooted there, we can recognize humble enough to do nothing apart from him, but confident enough to do and in him we can do all things. And here’s the piece that is the hardest I think, because that sounds really good. Right. Everyone listening is like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. Mm-hmm but the reality is, and I’ve seen this in my own life.
I mean, I think you and I are similar in certain ways by nature and. When you are inherently operating out of a place and I shouldn’t speak for you, but by nature tend to be more confident. You know, not one that would tend to operate out of boldness. It’s easy to rely on ourselves because we have it together and people tend to look to us for sort of guidance and leadership and having it together.
But then in reality, You don’t learn that sense of humility because there’s not the brokenness that is required to reach that place. And I have seen this in my own life as well. I could give many examples, but I, I think when my best friend was dying of cancer was one of the most poignant that I can think of in my life where I truly, for so many reasons was beyond my own strength and that season of brokenness in my.
Resulted in the most incredible experiences that I’ve ever had. But if I wasn’t literally sobbing on the floor, I would’ve never ended up having the experiences that I did. And so my point is, in order to reach this place of humility, you have to be willing to experience brokenness, which is hard. How do you get to the place?
How do you encourage somebody? To be willing to allow themselves to feel the hard things. How do we even get to that point? Because we know brokenness is the key to experiencing humility. How do we allow ourselves to even experience brokenness? Yeah. When I think of brokenness, I think of how God uses those seasons.
To like really soften our hearts. It’s a time of softening our hearts and shaping our hearts for things that are to come. But it is important where like we are in prayer and we are in the Bible to face those seasons. Cuz if we’re not, we don’t really have anything to stand on. We’re on that sinking sand versus standing on the rock.
And I think it’s. And that’s where there there’s things where we talked a little bit earlier about having people come alongside of us. So having ourselves in a good spot for those times of brokenness turning upward, and there’s a, a good book I read called the gift of disillusionment by Peter Greer.
He’s the CEO and president of hope international, but he talked a lot in life. We go through things, whether we’re about to get married or we’re going to have kids, or we get a new job. We have this idealism and we’re all excited. We think it’s just going to be perfect. But then we hit the season of disillusion.
We’re like, whoa, this isn’t what I expected. And I think that’s part of what I experienced in 2015, 2016, like here I am, I have all these things, but it’s not what I expected. And then we have, we have different spots. We can turn there. And in the book they talk about, we can turn inward to cynicism where we can turn upward for enduring hope and we need to find those spots of the enduring hope.
But it is so true and it’s so painful, but often when we come out, you talked earlier about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Mm. But how mu how much we grow in those seasons, because what I’m doing now, like I started writing articles. I, I applied to speak and I just spoke at the PA educational leadership summit, writing a book, different podcast.
Not, it’s not all really comfortable to me, but it’s part of stretching myself out and. Through that season and sharing some of my knowledge, trying to share some of my gifts with other people. And I think once you get a little bit more rooted in your why and your purpose, you feel more confident just going out and doing those things.
But a lot of mine, as it goes back that season of brokenness and struggle and realizing apart from God, I can do nothing, but in him I’m to go out and use my gifts and use my strength. I also am gonna rewind it a little bit too. I would suggest that one of the ways to allowing yourself to experience hard things.
Would come back to that idea of impressive empathy. One of the things that we are so prone to do in this culture is we want to simply align ourself with those who think exactly the way that we think and ultimately avoid somebody challenging our thought process or our beliefs or where we stand. And in doing that, we really deprive ourselves of the opportunity to hear other people’s stories and gain.
Perspective, but I think one of the reasons that we don’t do that is because it can be very hard and we want to remain comfortable. So talk to me a little bit about impressive empathy and how it contributes to this idea of. Humility and then ultimately confidence. Yeah. It, so that the term impressive empathy, the ability to understand those who disagree with you a, a term I love is steadfast dutifully firm and unwavering.
And when I think of impressive empathy, I just think of that whole do idea of seeking to understand and listening to others. That’s a huge part of my role. As a leader, whether as a father, husband, principal, coach, whatever I’m doing just to be steady and listening. And I, I talk about it can be easy to get really high and get really low.
And my wife will tell you, and I’m blessed. Like my grandfather, my dad, just people that are steady. And I think that’s so important in leadership and not, not everyone has it. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have your emotions too, but I think that’s important with impressive empathy when you’re listening to people.
I had so many phone conversations this year regarding COVID regard. What the school was doing and school board meetings, school board, and obviously not everyone agrees, but I think it’s, it’s all how it is shared. It’s all how it’s received. And we just really need to be listening to each other because like, when you use this example with the school, everyone does have a common goal.
They want what’s best for their kids, but there’s different approaches to get there. So I think in a leadership role, a lot of it is. It comes down to listening and people wanting to, we go back to what we talked about earlier. Feeling heard and valued people wanna be heard. So I’ll have a lot of phone conversations where I do a lot of listening, but I think that’s an approach of humbleness where it’s not, we’re just talking and I’m gonna shut you down.
I know in relationships, people don’t like to get shut down. They want to be heard and they want to be able to talk through. And I think, I think that comes from you must be married. I am. I am. I I know not that Carly’s training you very well. Well done, Carly. She does. She did tell a story the other day she was, you know, she already was.
She was struggling a little bit, one day and she went to, to pick something up and like the receptionist there or something sort of shut her down and it was feisty conversation. Yeah. But it’s more of that empathy. You don’t know what someone’s going through and, and we don’t wanna shut people down right away, cuz we don’t know what they’re going through in that particular moment.
You’re right. I am married. That’s I’m a work in progress every day, being a amen. Being a husband and being a parent that, that has taught me selflessness, at least. Yes. Amen. I know Zach and I, for anyone listening, who is not aware of, if you’re just joining me because you wanna hear Dr. Bower master. I am married to a Zach.
If anyone’s like, wait, is she talking about this Zach or the other? I’m also married to AZA, but. Zach. And I have talked about that many times. There’s nothing more humbling than marriage where you’re like, oh man, this is hard. Yeah. Talk about impressive empathy. I don’t care what you have to say. Just do it.
Yep. I, I feel like even though, even though we’re married 12 years now, it still gets harder, but in a good, in a good way as well. I think it gets harder. I think, I think this is true in leadership again. I mean the family life. Just as much a leadership conversation parenting, especially, and certainly being married.
But I think the longer that you’re married, almost the harder it gets, because we were just talking about this. It’s like, now you’re comfortable with each other. And then when you have that fight and you have that, it’s almost like you have this sense of, oh my gosh. Like we’re doing this again. Like we’ve been here before and I see why I see why couples end up getting divorced right around this time, because you kind of get to that point where you’re like, Ugh, we just can’t do this anymore.
Like we’ve had this conversation a million times. Yeah. And if you’re not willing to fight for it, it really is. That impressive empathy is just gone. You’re like, forget it. And then you, and then you feel like the kids are purposefully trying to pull you apart. Like God put ’em there to make your marriage even tough.
Yeah. But it’s such a work it’s like MTV used to have a show boiling point. They try to make you boil until you say I can’t do it anymore, but it’s so it’s so important to love our spouse first and then, and, and our children as well, but really focusing it on, on our spouse. Yeah. Well, and again, to your, to your point with leadership, I think it is such a relatable example for many people.
That idea of helping to establish the people who are clearly the front leaders in a team. So in this conversation, we’re talking the parents, there has to be some sense of unity or else the little ones or the people who are not clearly in the front leadership role. You know, they feel that tension and they feel that sense.
Disconnectedness. So, uh, yeah, again, if any of you are like, I’m not in a leadership role, listen, if you have anyone watching you, you are in a leadership role. So all of these, all of these conversations apply to you. One of the other. Excellent conversations and points to be made about confidence, especially Theodore Roosevelt coined this popular phrase.
Comparison is the thief of joy. You talk a little bit about this in your book, and certainly this is a very poignant reality for many people in terms of confidence. Talk to us a little bit about your experience with comparison, how you overcome it, how you kind of flip the script in your own mind. And how it can inhibit effective leadership and how to change that.
I think it’s important to know for me, again, this is an area that I’m, I’m always a work in progress as well. Right. And that’s where we need to empty ourselves of pride. Like I know I every day need to empty myself of pride and, and just to go forward and do the best I can with the gifts that I’ve been given.
But. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing. If, if you see another, how another principal’s running a school or this family, they’re able to do this and go on this vacation and, and just comparing that dad, it it’s very easy to do. And, and, and a lot of us will probably say that we don’t do it. And it’s even more challenging with social media.
Where you can go on and you can see everything’s doing like, wow, they did that. They’re doing that already. They have this book out. Um, okay. Yeah. Tell me how a guy compares, because I think this is something that women, a lot of times, comparison comes more to appearances or a home or kids having it together or whatever.
Tell me how guys, what is the narrative in a guy’s head when he’s comparing himself to somebody else? Cause I think it’s a little different than. You mentioned some of it a little bit, but elaborate on that for, for me. How do men compare? Yeah, as I think about that more depth, I think you almost compare where somebody is maybe in their career where they are with their family.
How old are they and what are they doing by this age? It’s like achievement based. It’s more achievement based. Yeah. Certainly be more achievement based. But I know you mentioned like vacations, like you’re thinking the idea that, so they’re making X amount of money where they can afford this. Yeah. But I’ll sometimes I’ll so I, I work as a principal, so I’m pretty much locked into a school schedule.
Yeah. And sometimes I’ll get envious of those people in the business world who I can see, they can take their kids to school a little more flexible schedule during the day. And you’re like, man, I wish I could have that for my wife and, and my kids where we could operate with that schedule. So sometimes I’ll get caught up into that comparison where I wish I wasn’t in this schedule.
That’s locked in at, from 6:30 AM to 4:30 PM and sometimes evening and just flexibility during the day. Yeah. So sometimes I can get caught up in just watching how another family operates. Wishing I could have that. So I think, I think that’s just being, and it’s so real. We all do this. And I, you know, I’ve had this conversation with fitness, nutrition clients, actually in a sort of different vein if you will, but it’s this idea of sometimes it’s not a bad thing to see what somebody else is doing and then create a goal for yourself.
It’s like, there is an element where you can flip that around where. You can appreciate and even want when somebody else has without one feeling badly about yourself or two, putting that person down because they’ve achieved it, right? Like it’s not this woman’s fault that she’s got a great body fat percentage and she is fit.
Like she’s earned that. So I’m not gonna think badly of her. And I’m also not gonna think badly of myself because I haven’t yet, but an opportunity to learn. What did she do? What are the tools that she used? Because it’s very possible. I could do it too. So it’s like this fine line at times, because comparison doesn’t have to be the thief of joy.
It can actually be an opportunity to grow and create a goal for yourself without putting yourself down, which takes very intentional approaches. How in your experience have you been able to. Take those moments because we all have them and turn them into a positive experience for you or something that does not inhibit effective leadership.
Simon Sinek talks about having worthy opponents and what you said there just made, think of worthy opponents. It’s not like you’re against them, but how are you making each other better? And I’ll go to that. Amen. As iron sharpens, iron one, man, sharpens another. So I, I would even do things this year where, Hey, why don’t I take a half day?
Vacation day in the morning. And I get the kids to school. I spend some time with Carly in the morning, and then I go in at lunchtime. And I think you see, as you said, Hey, how can I make this fit for my family? Exactly. And oftentimes we don’t know the rhythm of other families, but we need to find that rhythm for ourselves.
So I think I’ve been able to step back reassess. And like I said, one example is, Hey, where can I strategically take days off? Where can I strategically take a morning off or an afternoon off to spend some of that time with my family and a rhythm that works for us. And I just wanna point out here, because again, people heard me say this so many times, but let’s highlight this example in real life.
What he has just said is it’s not all or nothing. This is the mentality that we constantly have to fight that it’s not. All or nothing. You’re basically finding ways, like you just said to modify the place where you are at in order to achieve something, but it’s not, you’re not gonna go out and quit your job and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
It’s not this constant elusive fight for something that is unattainable and ultimately enter that all or nothing mentality. So if you’re listening and you’re struggling with that right now, and there’s something that you’re wanting, what are small steps that you can do today? To incorporate that into your life does not have to be the all or nothing type of type of approach.
It’s not sustainable and you’ll just be miserable all of the time. So I that’s a great example. I think, I know for me, I don’t wanna speak for all men. We can get caught up in that all or nothing type of process. It sounds like you’ve talked about that before. Like, and, and my wife will say that like, I, I can become obsessive and pretty drastic with things.
Yeah. And it does, it doesn’t have to be that way. And I think, yeah, part of that, I thinks that. That desire God placed in our hearts, that eternity, we want things that we just can’t fully grasp right now here on earth. So we, we want all or nothing and we can’t, we can’t always get there. And it it’s always a little bit more incremental.
It’s one of my favorite quotes is small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time. Craig Rochelle said that agreed. So just like, yeah, just like you’re saying, say that one more time. Wait, say it one more time. I realize someone else quote, but say it. Yeah, small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time.
Yeah. So it’s doing those little daily habits day by day. For example, writing a book like you just sit down and you don’t write a book, it takes time and you do a little get in the habit of writing and, and then the kids come in and you look down and you’re like, what did I just write? Where was I? Yeah.
So just what’s my name. . Yeah, like you just, you figured out as, as you go. It’s really, really interesting because in my experience I have found, so I, in this role, in this virtual role, I definitely work primarily with women, but I’ve also worked in medicine, especially in the ER, I worked with many, many men.
I am certainly married to a man. I, so it’s been interesting and I’ve had a lot of male fitness nutrition clients as well. And I will say from my experience, women do struggle with y’all or nothing mentality, but they’ve been nurtured. It’s a societal influence, which is also very fascinating, cuz I think a lot of that influence comes from high executive men.
But by nature, men struggle more with the all or nothing mentality. It is a, you kind of said that it is more inherently ingrained for whatever reason in men to go all or nothing, which is where my clients tend to struggle. Cuz they’re. Fall or nothing for six weeks. And then they fall off the wagon cuz they exhaust themselves.
You know, they look great after six weeks, but then six weeks later they’re right back to where they were. If not yo-yo to the other side where women are more willing to pursue a sense of disciplined moderation. So I’ll just throw that out there for anyone who’s interested in that reality. I do think by nature, men tend to struggle more with all or nothing women do, but they’re more, it’s a more nurtured mentality.
It’s. Per se what they naturally are inclined to. So I think that is a great, great perspective. And one of the other elements to that, that I wanna point out, especially for men in leadership, and you talk about this in your book, is this idea of in that all or nothing mentality, it’s like you have to do everything yourself, because if you don’t somehow that results in a sense of failure.
Because you should be able to do it all yourself. Tell me how you fight that mentality with the idea of, of delegation. I’m all about delegation. . As soon as I see someone that can do something better or as well as me and I can do the things that I’m really passionate about, I’m like, please yeah. Oh, happily pay you to do this.
Women really struggle with this too. This is, I say this is barely equal among men and women, but I’m all about. Delegate to accelerate. You can quote me on that. Yeah, I like it. Okay. So tell me, yeah, I’m real passionate about delegation people, the quote I use in there and I love quotes. I love listening to podcasts.
I love quotes and it’s honestly one, I bet people would have different views on, but Andy Stanley says delegation is getting things done through other people. And it, that’s not, uh, that’s not the prettiest quote, but it is where we have so many leaders that. Just burning themselves out, trying to do everything, feeling like, Hey, I need to be the first one in.
I need to be the last one to leave moms. Yeah. Moms. Hello. I see you in the back trying to scooch outta your seat. Yeah. Yeah. Like I, I need to be able to do everything, but so many, we go back to the, that example of a basketball team and you have the coach and you have all these people on a team that have different gifts and how can we utilize and how can we maximize those gifts?
And it starts with getting to know the people and putting them in the right spots. Hey, you’re really good at this administrative. Or you’re really good at forming. Uh, you’re really good at leading committees. So putting people in those roles to be successful, which helps the whole organization, which helps the whole family thrive.
And you, you talk about that example. And I always think about my wife. She needs to delegate a little more to me and to the kids. and it’s hard. And I get that and Zach would walk in here himself and be. Amen. And it is, it’s really hard because it’s like grocery shopping. Yeah. Key, key point. He always wants to help me by grocery shopping.
And I’m like, it’s just easier. I know where everything is, but then I’m exhausted because I’m doing everything. Although now I order everything online anyway. So yeah, that’s, it’s it’s little things where. For example, if I start washing the dishes after dinner, I think sometimes she’ll stop me and think it’s her role.
Like, Hey, I’ll do I’ll do that. Like you, you just were like, so I think we, we battle. I think we battle these names. Apparently. You’re wonderful, wonderful wife. I don’t think I’ve ever one time in my life. Stop Zach from washing I’m like Zach, can you wash these dishes please? that’s actually how it goes in our house.
She. So she doesn’t like when I wash dishes, cause she says, make sure you add more soap. And if there’s a little water on them, don’t put em away in the cup. You put ’em away with a little water still in them. Yeah. I’m the abnormal one here. She is. She is entirely normal. Like I said, I’m all about delegation, but you wanna do it.
Absolutely. This is why I had children to do chores. You got it spot on, but that’s part of delegation because sometimes it’s a work in progress where yes, the first. You could easily finish that task right. Easier than trying to lead someone else, but then it takes time. And before you know it, they’re doing it a lot better than you would.
And you have times I was thinking about this yesterday. I was driving home and I was thinking, how much in our work are we in our strength zones versus how much are we doing things outside of our strength zones. So, right. Those can be those ideas where we take a step back and say, why am I devoting so much time to this?
And it’s not just getting outta work. It’s Hey, how can we make? So who’s very talented in that area. And then I can use some of my. More purposefully on a daily basis. So I was just wondering that even as parents, as coaches, teachers, principals, whatever we’re doing, how much time are we actually in our strength zones?
Because I love presenting. I love creating, creating those presentations and speaking to groups, but unfortunately, I don’t think I put enough time into planning for those things. As I wish I could, because I’ll be diving into some other areas that I’m not as strong at. And sometimes we have to do those things.
Sure. But how can we even take our strengths and maximize them even more? Absolutely. And this is something that I remember. So I was fortunate enough to be able to pre-read Zach’s manuscript before it came out. And I remember jotting this note down in the delegation section as it is something that I’m all for.
And, you know, I, I’m kind of made the note that in my own experience in professional roles, in personal roles, whatever to not delegate is actually. Diminishing somebody else’s value because in my experience, it is empowering to other people to recognize their gifts, to recognize the things that they can do very well and then give them the tools and resources they need to be able to thrive.
So it’s not this idea that you can’t do it all. If anything, you are actually empowering somebody else with the tools and the confidence to. Get the things done. They could maybe even do better than you. And then it’s to your point, allowing them to be empowered themselves, but then also giving you the space to tap into your strengths.
And then it’s better for everybody. Cuz now everybody’s leading out of their strengths as opposed to doing ridiculous tasks that somebody else could do so much better than me. I love what you said too there about you. Don’t just give ’em the task, but the tools and resources, tools, resources, time. This is why we don’t do it.
This is a big reason cuz people don’t wanna take the time. Yeah. I’ve heard this a million times in the blogging world. People are like, how do you get all this done? I said, I’ve hired, help. and I make less money initially, but I guarantee you, I will be making more mm-hmm in the long run than the people who aren’t delegating mm-hmm because I take the time to teach somebody.
Here’s how I want it done. I empower them with the tools to be able to do it the way that I foresee will be the most successful. And then it allows me to focus in on what? So that’s a key piece of it. And I that’s and I love, and I think about it when I think about delegation, a few of the, the days I have in there talk about from generation to generation.
And I love that video that you posted recently, just thinking about our role as parents and then grandparents, but delegation and leading our kids for generations to come. And I think that’s so important and that’s easy to miss, especially as a male, as a principal, always striving to do what I can. I need to always remember myself.
My wife and my kids. Those are the first ones I need to leave. Mm-hmm , as we continue to build and leave a family legacy from generation to generation, and I’m thankful, and I’m blessed to have grandparents and parents in front of me that have done that. So I think that’s so important when we think about delegating and generations and, and leaders to come.
Yeah, I love that this book is really, it’s a beautiful, so, um, for anybody that missed it and didn’t catch this piece, it is a 40 day devotional for leaders. And again, I will reiterate that everyone is a leader in their own, right? This is truly for anybody for moms, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or you’re a CEO of a company there’s so much, there’s so much encouragement in these chapters and there’s 40 days worth of.
Not just inspiration, but I, I think really it’s kinda, like we said, iron sharpens iron, it’s the ability to hear from somebody else, your perspective. And what I really enjoyed about this is how you pooled so many leaders from scripture and elements of them that I would’ve. Not necessarily thought of this unique element to them as a leader in scripture.
So even if you don’t read the Bible, this is still well worth your time, because you will realize you’re not alone in your struggles. If for no other reason you are not alone. Zach, where can other people find you if they wanna get your book or they wanna learn more about what you do or yes. Have you come speak?

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