Wow…not how….

Just over a week ago I had the opportunity to go to a great event, Leadercast . Leadercast is a one-day leadership event that exists “to inspire and equip leaders worth following.” As with any event like this, throughout the day my mind wondered outside of professional development into the realm of fatherhood. A father needs to be a great leader, and I want to be a leader worth following.

The day was kicked off by a great pastor and leader, Andy Stanley. The theme for the whole day was The Brave Ones, and Stanley began by focusing on the concept of BOLD leadership. Bold leadership is clarity-focus-stubbornness-and resourcefulness.

 Bold leadership is clarity around and unreasonable commitment to what should be.

  — Andy Stanley, Leadercast 2015

Stanley brought forth several great principles, but one idea made me pause and think for a few extra seconds. He stated, “When someone in your organization (family) has an idea, what if we responded with a ‘wow’ instead of ‘how’?” What if we stop letting ourselves get caught up in how something can be done and allow ourselves to marvel in the idea.

A great example that falls in line with this concept is from Jon Acuff’s book Quitter. Jon talks about his dreamlike personality and that he’s always coming up with ideas for anything and everything that he communicates to his wife. (My wife can intimately relate to being married to this type of person.) His wife used to always immediately ask the “how” question, and it would instantaneously squelch his day. They then learned together that with their differing personality types and strengths that she needed to simply say “ok” when he put forth a dream, and most of the time he wouldn’t even think about the dream a few days later.


A great story of living out the ‘wow’ response instead of ‘how’ in the family setting comes from Bob Goff’s book Love Does. Bob tells the story of the 10th birthday tradition he started with his children called ten-year-old adventures. On each of his children’s 10th birthdays he took them to do whatever in the world they wanted. He ended up going to London for high tea, backpacking Half Dome in Yosemite, and riding a motorcycle across the dessert.

What a way to live and lead as a father!

I understand we don’t all have the means to live this way. But at the very least can’t we attempt to stretch ourselves? Can’t we venture outside of the mindset of pragmatism and endeavor into the world of wonder and excitement?

It can start small. The next time your little boy comes and says they want to build the world’s greatest fort, don’t ask for the blueprints…just help them do it! The next time your growing daughter wants to start their own business making custom sleeping gloves, trying helping them create the name and logo instead of prodding her about keeping an accurate balance sheet.

Let’s lead as fathers and mothers and help our children see the possibilities instead of only the stop signs of life.

Wow. How. There’s only a one letter difference between them, but their meanings to a child and a family are worlds apart.




Sometimes you just need to let them wrestle!

Sometimes you just need to let them wrestle!

Share Button

One Thought on “Wow…not how….

Leave a Reply

Post Navigation