Five Factors Leadership is a project that began almost twenty years ago at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. And while neither Tal Prince nor I (Matt Adair) had grand plans to take over the world with a podcast, here we are. And that’s a win for you.
Tal was the teaching assistant in a preaching class I had at Beeson, and he gave me a D- on a book review that I wrote for the class. I don’t remember the book, but I do remember Tal’s note: ‘Your writing deserves an A. But your arrogance makes we want to give you an F. Consider this D- an act of mercy.’
I had never met Tal before. He didn’t know me. I didn’t know him. All I knew after getting the paper back and reading his note is that I wanted to challenge him to a duel. Old school, Hamilton-Burr style. I’m pretty sure I ranted to my wife about this jerkface who had the nerve to call me out and assume terrible, horrible things about me.
Problem was...I knew he was right. And I honestly don’t know how I moved from wanting to fight him to wanting to become his friend. But here’s what I know. That one moment changed the trajectory of my life. My arrogance hid a tractor-trailer sized amount of insecurity. And what I learned is that Tal wasn’t trying to crush me; he was trying to save me.
Now, he refuses to put that story in such dramatic terms. He really did think I was an arrogant jerk. But, as he tells the story, he recognized that in me because he knew it to be true about himself. Hence, the note and an unlikely friendship.
That story - and our twenty-year friendship which has grown stronger as we have carried each other through seasons that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy - is a snapshot of what we’re offering you in Five Factors. In our work as a therapist (Tal) and a leadership coach (Matt), we know that you want to thrive in every part of your life and leadership.
We also know that every leader gets stuck. Leadership is hard. People are mean. Lies get lodged in your head and heart. You act in ways that look nothing like Jesus and hurt people around you. We know that’s true for you because it’s true for both of us.
So what we’re offering is a promise. We will always be here to help you. This is not a vanity project for us, although we enjoy working together and we love helping leaders like you. We’re offering you a place to be seen and known, as well as the opportunity to put one foot in front of the other.
You don’t have to stay stuck. You don’t have to quit. You can continue to make a difference. You can stay faithful. You can lead well without losing Jesus, your family or your sanity.
Welcome to the Five Factors Leadership. A different way of leading for a different kind of leader.