What Are YOU Looking At? [Guest Post from Bill Treasurer]

Leaders_Open_DoorsI love leadership.  Everything about it, when it’s done right.  I love being able to help others grow, find their niche in doing whatever they’re hard-wired to do.  And because I love leadership so much, I really enjoy reading books about leadership… especially new books.  I was recently introduced to a book that I’m finding both refreshing and extremely helpful.  That book is Leaders Open Doors, authored by Bill TreasurerAnd today, we have the pleasure of having Bill as a guest blogger!  Very excited about that… I hope you’ll leave comments, and I especially hope you purchase the book!  It’s definitely a must-read, whether you’re a seasoned leader or just getting your start in leading others… this book is an awesome resource.

Oh… before I forget, I’m giving away free copies to the FIRST 3 PEOPLE who leave a comment!  Just make sure you include your email address, and I’ll send you an Apple access code to download your free digital copy from iTunes!

But enough from me… here’s Bill:

            “Whatever you do, don’t even think about going near that rock.”

These words, a final bit of coaching advice, were said to me just as I got ready to paddle over Nanny Falls, the culminating rapid on the Nantahala River. It takes a few excursions before a beginner kayaker can graduate to Nanny Falls, and I had managed to flounder my way down a few other rivers. But this experience was bigger and splashier. It was also more dangerous, as Gabe, the most experience kayaker paddling with our group, incessantly let us know.

            “…don’t even think…rock…near…don’t…rock…near…rock…”

Funny how one’s nerves can distort one’s thinking. Gabe’s words reverberated in my head as if he were banging them on a steel drum. The rock that Gabe was warning me against was a house-sized slab of granite with the bottom edge hung over the river, creating what’s known as an “undercut” – a dangerous hole that can trap a kayaker, recirculating them over and over under the water. Getting pinned in an undercut is one of the most common causes of kayaker death.

            “…near that rock…that rock…near…rock…”  

As I paddled toward Nanny Falls, all I could think about was what Gabe told me not to think about…that rock. That damned forsaken rock. That gigantic fossilized piece of kayaker-ingesting…


“Holy crap!” I thought to myself, “I’m trapped under that boulderous bastard!” And I was! By over-warning me about the rock, Gabe had helped me narrow my thinking until all I could think about was the stupid rock. Instead of focusing on what I needed to do, I was focusing on what I needed not to do. That anti-goal thinking had helped me get pinned under a granite behemoth.

Somehow I managed to dislodge myself from my boat, grip the bottom edge of the rock with one hand, and pull myself out of the liquid vortex. I had escaped, but narrowly.

When faced with, or witnessing, other situations that required healthy doses of courage, I’ve often thought back to this early kayaking experience. I’ve come to believe that when it comes to the advice of coaches and friends, it is more common for people to tell you what not to do, than what to do. Their motives are in the right place, but their approach isn’t. In order to keep you safe, they over-warn you about the dangers. In small measure, this makes sense, but when heightening your awareness of the dangers becomes the overriding focus of their advice, it becomes the equivalent of telling you, “Whatever you do, do not think about the color blue!”

When it comes to putting courage inside of others, the literal definition of encouragement, a better approach, is to spend more time on specifying what a person should do, not what they should avoid. Driving a car works much better when you’re watching where you’re going than looking at all the things you should avoid.

When pursuing personal and career goals the important question is: What are you looking at? Are you focusing on where you want to go? Or are you leering at all those things that could trip you up? Your courage will help you go in whichever direction you are most mentally committed to – your goal or your dangers.


Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting. His latest book is Leaders Open Doors (www.leadersopendoors.com), and focuses on how leaders create growth through opportunity. Bill is also the author of Courage Goes to Work, an international bestselling book that introduces the concept of courage-building. He is also the author of Courageous Leadership: A Program for Using Courage to Transform the Workplace, an off-the-shelf training toolkit that organizations use to build workplace courage. Bill has led courage-building workshops for, among others, NASA, Accenture, CNN, PNC Bank, SPANX, Hugo Boss, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Contact Bill at btreasurer@giantleapconsulting.com, or on Twitter at @btreasurer (#leadsimple).

11 thoughts on “What Are YOU Looking At? [Guest Post from Bill Treasurer]

  1. Hello Bill,
    I wish we had more people like you and Darren helping developing more Christian leaders.This country needs them.

  2. Wow Bill,
    That was a nice insight “telling people what to do instead of telling them what not to do” As I think about it this is often times my approach towards discipling and equipping leaders. Thanks for the insight, and may God continue to lead you in your ministry.

    1. John,

      Thanks for the comment, my friend! I’ll make sure Bill gets it. 🙂 If you would, email me at DPlum007@gmail.com, and I’ll send you the access code so you can download Bill’s book from iTunes.

      Keep up with Bill… and with The Plum Line, as well. 🙂


  3. Darren and Bill – thank you for taking the time to write this blog it seems as though your words come at just the right time. Bill I am very interested in your work and will be checking out your book and your website.

    1. Hey, Angela!

      Good to hear from you, my friend… long time. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed Bill’s post… I’ll make sure he gets your comment! Email me at DPlum007@gmail.com, and I’ll send you the access code for Bill’s book.

      Blessings, Ang!

  4. I’ve just recently been introduced to Bill Treasure. So glad to have found this exciting material. And following his writings has lead me to this blog. Thanks, Teresa

    1. Hey, Teresa!

      Good to meet you on The Plum Line… thanks for following, and look forward to hearing more from you. Glad you liked Bill’s post… you’ll love his book even more! 🙂 Email me at DPlum007@gmail.com, and I’ll send you the access code to download Bill’s book.

      Hopefully, you’ll become an avid reader of The Plum Line! Please share with those whom you feel will benefit from the posts! 🙂


  5. I agree, as leaders, we are often so inundated, that we tend to focus on – albeit unintentionally – “encouraging” those entrusted to our leadship by telling them what not to do. It will take very deliberate effort to refocus such direction, but I can certainly see its benefit for both the leader and those whom he or she is leading.

    1. Hey, D!

      Good to hear from you! 🙂 Glad you liked Bill’s post… if you get a chance, check out his new book, Leaders Open Doors. VERY good. I know you’re a – as John Maxwell would say – a Level 4 or Level 5 leader! You’d really appreciate what Bill has to offer in his writing!

      Blessings, my friend… please don’t stay a stranger to The Plum Line! 😉

      Pastor D

  6. A Christian Comedian I used to enjoy listening to talked very similarly about how to approach the word. The idea was that we spend so much energy worrying ourselves over what the Bible says not to do. Turning that around, if we spend all our energy focusing on what we are instructed to do, we aren’t going to have the time to do the things we are told not to. From a leadership standpoint, giving instructions on what to do as opposed to what not to do is just taking the bull by the horns and giving the tools necessary for success. Nice read.

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