'The Hard Way' - Christian counselor shares secrets of success

Published on Friday, 17 January 2014 23:29 - Written by By Rebecca Hoeffner rhoeffner@tylerpaper.com

Dr. John Townsend knows the secret to how successful people win: The hard way.

“We have a culture that thinks responsible people are gods,” he said at his talk to faith-based counselors on Wednesday. “We have a culture of entitlement, and this isn’t a knock on any one generation. I know people in their 80s who are entitled.”

The book that Townsend is working on is titled “The Hard Way: In a Culture of Entitlement, How Successful People Win.” It is set to be released sometime in early 2015.

For more than 20 years Townsend has worked internationally with leaders, organizations and individuals, according to his website. He works with team and executive coaching and corporate consulting.

“We use his work so much here,” said Fonda Latham, executive director of the Samaritan Counseling Center in Tyler, a co-sponsor of the event. “Especially Boundaries, boundary work is so important.”

“Boundaries,” which Townsend co-authored with Dr. Henry Cloud, was published in 1992 and has sold more than 2 million copies.

A person who has trouble defining their boundaries takes on emotions, work and problems of others to their own detriment. They are often called “people pleasers.”

“Many people have been taught the wrong word,” Townsend said. “The Bible never says to be ‘nice.’ The Bible says to be kind, to speak the truth in love.”

Even God has boundaries with us, Townsend said.

“God lets us feel sad and teaches us to handle reality,” he said. “It’s the same with parents. Boundaries are used to protect us and teach us.”

Townsend often uses verses and illustrations from the Bible to make his point about the principles he teaches.

“In Isaiah 50:7, Jesus says, ‘I set my face like flint,’” he said. “Jesus was showing us God’s character,” he said. “God never runs from hard things … When successful people see a goal, they think, ‘What’s the best way to get there?’ Not, ‘What’s the shortcut?’ … “People who are successful know that no pain is no option.”

While some of the principles seem common sense, Townsend said there are many people who struggle with boundaries and with making sacrifices to reach a goal.

“Inside, we’re all saying ‘duh,’ but I promise you there are millions of people who think this way … Our jobs, as agents of Jesus, is to help people recognize these problems.”

“Thank you for what you do,” he said. “People come up to me and say ‘I’m not just better, I’m alive (because of a therapist).”