I do not believe in coincidence. I often smile when puzzle pieces emerge uniquely by the Spirit though. There is something that is so incredibly cool and fulfilling when the fingerprint of the Spirit is all over you or the things you come in contact with. Whether it’s being assigned a book at the perfect time… or meeting the right person… that leads to another match somewhere else… the doors continue to open. The books serve as guides that unlock a new layer or connection with the Spirit in me and continue to increase the fullness of God in my life, my family, and my leadership. I am grateful for the timing of each lesson and for the opportunity to give Failure of Nerve a second read with a new lens.
Edwin Friedman’s book A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix is an essential read for anyone interested in leadership and organizational dynamics. Through his years as a family therapist, Edwin Friedman has come to understand that effective leadership requires more than just technical knowledge. It also necessitates emotional maturity and self-awareness. In this book, he examines how leaders can take responsibility for their own behavior while still holding others accountable, a balance that is often difficult to achieve but necessary if we are to create healthy organizations with lasting impact. Friedman draws on his extensive experience working with families and religious institutions alike. Offering practical insights into how leaders can develop healthier relationships within their teams by understanding human nature better.
Coaching and team building have been on my mind for weeks now. Camacho’s book, Mining for Gold  unlocked something in me that has been extremely beneficial in such a short amount of time. I love the process of coaching in the Spirit and I have started using it to some degree in my ministry, my Portfolio Project, and even my family dynamics. Combining the advice from Camacho and Friedman has helped me see outside of the immediate emotions I’m having and have a greater awareness of tension, fears, hesitation, and other sensations that originate with certain topics, tasks, and perspectives of those involved.
Friedman emphasizes the importance of creating a resilient culture where people feel safe enough to express themselves authentically without fear or judgment from those around them. Something which he believes will lead not only towards greater collaboration but also higher levels of productivity across all areas of an organization’s operations. This semester has helped me realize the importance of safe spaces, expression, coaching in the Spirit, and authentic leadership. Friedman provides insight into the protection of these spaces and positive outcomes by overcoming or avoiding ego barriers. “The emotional barrier that associates self with autocracy and narcissism rather than with integrity and individuality has to be crossed before leadership in America can be free to venture in “harm’s way.” Awareness of the barriers is beneficial and can lead to a new positive direction. Reframing situations, goals, objections, or anything in a way that meets individuals where they are can decrease emotional setbacks and offer new perspectives.
A Failure of Nerve is thought-provoking on many levels. I believe this book is one that requires multiple reads and will offer immeasurable benefits to leaders at each stage of their life. Friedman’s exploration of how traditional leadership models within religious organizations are failing to address current challenges can be applied to many organizations and business models. The book argues that leaders must have the “nerve” to confront difficult issues and navigate through conflicts instead of avoiding them. It emphasizes the importance of embracing change and taking risks as part of effective leadership. Additionally, it encourages leaders to embrace diversity in order for their organization or group to grow and thrive. Too often we rely on a “quick fix” for any problem and we live in a society where “wanting and getting it now” is the norm for most desires. Friedman says “the twin problems confronting leadership in our society today, the failure of nerve and the desire for a quick fix, are not the result of overly strong self but of weak or no self.”
By addressing these topics, this book provides readers with valuable insights into how modern organizations can become more successful by adapting their approach toward leadership practices. Friedman argues that differentiation is the key that allows leaders to navigate through conflicts more effectively and make better decisions when faced with difficult situations. “Differentiation is the lifelong process of striving to keep one’s being in balance through the reciprocal external and internal processes of self-definition and self-regulation.”
Lastly, Friedman provides insight into how contemporary culture influences decision-making processes. The book offers both warnings against potential pitfalls and constructive strategies designed to help equip Christians to navigate them successfully without compromising their faith. It serves as a reminder to us to remain vigilant and faithful even when faced with challenges and times of changeability. A Failure Nerve improves effective leadership in Christ’s name and I recommend all Christian leaders refer to this book regularly.
 Camacho, Tom; Mining for Gold
 Friedman, Edwin; Failure of Neve. 192
 Ibid, 193
 Ibid, 213