Have you ever thought you knew what your calling in life was, only to have God redirect you to another path? Would you like to be able to lead well by following the example and instructions of Jesus? How can being intentional about self-leadership impact your journey as you lead teams or organizations?

From Dream Career to Purposeful Leadership with Jenni Catron

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In this episode, I chat with Jenni Catron, a leadership coach, author, speaker, and founder of The 4Sight Group. This is the 3rd episode in our purpose series, and I think you will love hearing Jenni’s story of how she went from having her dream career to recognizing that her gifts and skills could be used in any context God called her to.

Jenni shares valuable insights based on her experiences in leadership in the corporate world, in churches, and in running her own business. She provides tips for building a healthy culture within your team and how to understand yourself better so you can lead effectively.  We even talk about her advice for you if you’re the only woman in your workplace, as well as what it’s like to be the one with the leading career in your marriage.

Jenni’s Leadership Journey:

Jenni and I start off by chatting about her leadership journey. She was given a lot of responsibility and put into leadership positions early on in life, but she didn’t know she was a leader until she was a bit older.   

She started her career in the music business, and it wasn’t until the moment when her boss identified her as a leader that she was able to grab ahold of that idea for herself.  She went immediately to a bookstore and bought “The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day” by John Maxwell* which is her favorite John Maxwell book.

Later she transitioned from the music industry to church ministry leadership.

Leading with Your Whole Being

Jenni and I chat about her book, The Four Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership*. The was birthed out of her time at the church in Nashville and her quest to figure out how to lead well.

We chat about the four dimensions of extraordinary leadership: Relational, Spiritual, Strategic and Visionary.

Jenni looked at the healthiest example of leadership, Jesus, to really ground her work. She found that the Great Commandment really exemplified the dimensions she already had.

She says that leading with your whole being is what Jesus implies through the Great Commandment.

Everyone has a tendency towards one area of leadership, but we all have the ability to lead in all 4 dimensions.

Healthy Teams & Culture:

Jenni and I discuss the need for intentionality in building healthy teams and culture. She shares that we miss some of the opportunities to develop healthy culture and teams, and then we get frustrated and dissension happens. This sabotages our ability to live out our mission.

How do we build healthy teams?

1) Just being aware of the need for healthy teams and healthy cultures is a great starting point.

2) Determine the values for your team. Check out Jenni’s free download to help define your team values.

3) When you are not getting the results you want within your team culture, you have to ask “What have I enabled or allowed that has created our culture today?”

Building culture has to be intentional.Click To Tweet

We all have influence over the culture, even if you’re not the top leader.

Leading as a Woman in a Male Dominated Environment:

Jenni also shares about her journey has been through working in mostly male dominated environments and how to navigate this as a woman.

Her advice to you is:

1) Quit thinking about the fact that you are the only woman there.

2) You are there. You have been invited. Your gifts have made a way for you. God has opened the door – he has given you this place of influence. It is your job to steward it.

3) Be smart about how you show up – use emotional intelligence. But don’t diminish your perspective.

For more on this topic, check out Episode 2 where Holly and I talk about not hiding your femininity when you are in a male dominated arena.

Understanding & Embracing How God Has Wired You:

Jenni and I chat about the importance of self-awareness in terms of leadership.

Self-leadership is SO essential to any leadership.Click To Tweet

Jenni talks about how personality tests are very important and helpful but her favorite is the Enneagram.

We discuss how there are beautiful things about how we are wired, but there is also a dark side to it, and this is reflected in the Enneagram.

This framework gives room for growth and development and doesn’t completely box you in.

For more on the Enneagram, check out Episode 7 with Jill McCormick and Episode 8 on becoming a better leader.

Jenni also shares an example of when her personality traits caused her to feel like an outlier and she ended up shutting down. She shares that she still sometimes gets afraid of her ambition, and she has to embrace the tension of stewarding the gift while also not allowing it to take over.

Jenni and I chat about how God has given us all gifts. Jenni feels her gift is “putting feet to vision”.

From Dream Career to Purposeful Leadership

Jenni wanted to work at a record company since she very young, and she ended up doing just that. She had her dream job. But God re-directed her career path when she was asked to come on staff at her church.

She felt God telling her that it wasn’t that she was called to work in the music business, but that He had given her a skill set that could be used in the local church.

She ended up having to ask herself “What is the essence of who God has created me to be, and how does that transfer regardless of what assignment he has given me?”

Jenni points out that she realized that her identity is not in the role she holds. She is able to see the gift set that God has given her and honor God regardless of the but in who God has created her to be and the skills and gifts he has given.

How Jenni’s marriage has been affected by her career changes:

Jenni and I chat about the fact that her career has been the driving career in her marriage. She notes that unity and teamwork are the cornerstones of their marriage, which has allowed for the changes. This is how they’ve navigated the career changes and her career path being the leading career. Even during the difficult season, her husband has supported her beautifully.

Final Leadership Thoughts

We wrap up our conversation talking about confidence, habits and routines.

Jenni says this about leading with confidence:

Confidence comes from a being present and aware of where God has me, the circle of influence Im in, and using the gifts that he’s given me to serve this circle of influence well right now.

She shares that she uses the phrase “humble confidence” to remind herself that her gifts come from Him.

Jenni’s habits include:

  • Up super early
  • Introverted time – so that she can survive an extroverted job
  • Self-care, including exercise, eating well, reading Scripture & other devotionals, prayer, and intentional reading

Leaders Are Learners:

Jenni’s next book will deal a lot with emotional intelligence, so she has been reading many books  in that area. She would recommend Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradbury* as a quick read and a great way to start looking at your emotional intelligence.  

Other Episodes Mentioned:

Connect with Jenni:

You can get all the resources Jenni mentions at the end here on her resources page.

Jenni Catron is a leadership coach, author and speaker. Her passion is to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage others to do the same. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently in the different spheres of influence God has granted them. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults organizations on leadership, team culture and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership. She loves a fabulous cup of tea, great books, learning the game of tennis and hiking with her husband.

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How to Lead with Purpose in Any Setting | Christian Woman Leadership Podcast Episode 11 with Jenni Catorn