Harvesting The Seed (part 2): A Q&A conversation with best-selling author, Jon Gordon
In an exclusive two-part interview, we were able to talk to Jon Gordon about his connection to the Clemson University football team that is vying for a National Championship title on January 11th, his connection to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the journey that led him to become a world renown author and keynote speaker.
CF: What’s a common misconception that people have when it comes to starting something new (i.e. habit, routine)?
JG: I think a common one is that they think they have to do something big and complicated to be successful. They think you have to be highly intelligent when you really just have to care. You got to care, then you’ve got to love, then you’ve got to serve. That’s what I discovered through my book, The Carpenter. If you love, serve, and care and make those a priority, that’s going to build a great team. Many think it has to be complicated, many think they have to start big but think love, serve, care…focus on one word, just be simple and powerful like the “safe seat”. I think people think it has to be complicated but it doesn’t.
CF: When did you know you wanted to pursue speaking and writing?
JG: Well over 15 years ago, I was really unhappy with my life, I was miserable and negative and my wife basically gave me an ultimatum that I needed to change. I remember praying for the first time, and even though I wasn’t a Christian I said, ‘God, what am I born to do? Why am I here? I know I’m here for a reason’ and that’s when writing and speaking came to me. He gave it to me and that’s when I knew I was going to pursue this.
Now intially I knew that I couldn’t just pick up writing and speaking right off the bat so I opened up a Moe’s Southwest Grill not knowing how that’d go. Opening like 20,000 credit cards just to open this place, God carried us through that season. We literally should have been bankrupt like many times over, shouldn’t have made it, and I look back and I saw one miracle after another. I saw His hand on my life, saw His grace pouring through and I knew right then and there. That’s where my faith was born, I just saw God working in my life and that’s where my trust in Him was born.
From that moment on, I had this restaurant but God basically gave me the sign that it was time to pursue writing and speaking full-time and just go for it. I told my wife and she was like ‘No! You’re not even good.’ but I decided to sell the restaurant to focus on writing and speaking 100% and didn’t know how it was going to go, didn’t know if I was going to make it but decided to focus on doing it and that’s when it happened.
We have to believe in miracles and trust Him, I think the more you’re open, the more you trust, the more God will guide you on your journey and point you in that direction. Having that childlike faith, I believe it so I’m prepared to receive it so believing that he’ll show me the signs is when I’m most aware to receive it when He does. My friend Erwin McManus at Mosaic Church says sometimes we are waiting on God but sometimes God is waiting on us.
When you pray, a Christian should be able to pray with the belief that God is a God who will hear our cry, answer our prayers, and speak to us in a way that will lead us to action. That’s the other part of the equation, will you take action when you hear His voice? Will you take a leap? I didn’t allow fear to get in the way of that voice of God and His plan for me and maybe that’s what people do. I was fearful but my wife and I were like ‘hey let’s just go for it’ and I think just by jumping in, I became a conduit for God’s miracle.
CF: How did you get connected w/ FCA?
JG: Years ago when I wrote Training Camp, I was definitely God-inspried as I wrote it in three and a half weeks. My faith was getting stronger and I think I shared it with a few friends and they said, ‘you should share this with FCA, it’s right up their alley.’ I didn’t know much about FCA, knew a little bit so I went to a local meeting with Clint Henry (staff member in Jacksonville, FL) and just hearing him talk, everything he was saying was basically what Training Camp was about so I knew God was doing something.
I felt like God was calling me to get more involved with FCA, it was a calling so I knew I was supposed to, so I started to donate money locally, started to donate money nationally, got my publisher to donate a thousand copies of Training Camp to FCA to pass out at the Final Four basketball to coaches across the country. So I’ve really gotten involved in the ministry, by giving as well as speaking. I’ve gotten involved with FCA Lacrosse and the camp they’ve put on for the past 4 years.
CF: Being one of the pioneers of the One Word culture, you know we have to ask what’s your one word for 2016?
JG: I definitely shouldn’t be credited with creating the One Word culture because Dan Britton and Jimmy Page are FCA guys who have been doing it for 16 or 17 years. They brought it to me and I started sharing it all around, but they definitely deserve the credit for it. I just popularized it, I guess. My word is FORGIVE this year. I didn’t choose the word, it chose me. God really hit me with that and I was wondering where did that come from.
I listened and what’s funny is the next day my publisher texted me and said ‘hey I know my word for this year…it’s FORGIVENESS.’ I was shocked and I told him that was my word as well. Then the next day, another friend who I hadn’t heard from in a long time texted me and said ‘hey what’s your word for this year? Mine is FORGIVENESS.’ Again, I was like ‘what?’ but I guess that was God confirming that’s my word for the year. I don’t know why but I guess He wants to be forgiving.
(part 1 of the interview can be viewed HERE)
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