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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

From Top to Bottom and Back, with Courageous Humility with Joel Hawbaker: Creator Series

Welcome to our new series Creator’s Creations!

We are sharing highlights from transformation stories and how we are creating FIT Life Creation and the community. In this Creator series feature, we are featuring From Top to Bottom and Back, with Courageous Humility with Joel Hawbaker.

Highlights of Story and Creations:

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” - C.S. Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew

Married, divorced, remarried. Success, utter failure and loss, then greater success. From the fear of others and their opinion to freedom and joy in who I was created to be. I’ve experienced all of these things and more in my personal life in the last ten years, and I’m thankful to have come out the other side of the pain and anger to a place of peace, and contentment.

The beginning of Courageous Humility

In my professional life, I’ve had a wide variety of occupations: trash collector, firefighter, construction worker, school teacher, insurance salesman, soccer coach, financial planner, pizza delivery guy, professional speaker, author, blended/stepfamily coach. Every one of these jobs has taught me something different, and yet they all have also taught me the same lesson: my mindset determines my enjoyment and my success in every situation.

These days I speak with many different groups about what I call Courageous Humility, a leadership philosophy rooted in personal responsibility, humility, confidence, and courage. I believe we are called to use our gifts and talents in the service of others, to help them become better versions of themselves by helping them improve their mindset and their attitude so that their actions will follow.

I’ve been blessed to share these messages with high schools, colleges, churches, with groups of hundreds, and with intimate groups of less than ten, from corporate and church leadership retreats to family conferences The goal is always the same: to help people realize that they have the power to take responsibility for their decisions and in doing so to improve the relationship they have with those around them. After all, I firmly believe that if you take care of relationships, the results will take care of themselves.

My goal is to always be helping others to improve personally and professionally; to help them become the people, the leaders, the families that they were created to be; and to help them understand the importance of their mindset and choices.

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Your Brand

Courageous Humility is about using the gifts and talents you have to serve others. It takes courage to trust others to do their jobs, and takes humility to be willing to put their needs before your own.

I’ve been blessed to speak and teach about courageous humility, blended families, and leadership at a wide variety of events and locations including conferences (Military Order of World Wars—Youth Leadership Conference, 2018 and 2019), colleges and universities (Duke University TIP Institute, Jacksonville State University, University of Montevallo), corporate retreats (Diehl Aerospace), fundraisers (Calhoun County’s Community Enabler “Bosses Busing Tables” luncheon), and more!

Biggest Success Factors

As I mentioned above, one of my core teachings is that if you take care of relationships, the results will take care of themselves. If I want a successful marriage (and I do!), then I need to focus on maintaining a strong relationship with my wife and my children.

In our case, I also need to make sure that we have a good relationship with my ex-wife and her husband as well because that relationship influences my marriage too.

I also had to learn that everything in my life was my responsibility: either I accept that and therefore have the power to transform it, or I relinquish responsibility to someone else and have to live with the consequences.

I choose to take responsibility which empowers me to make necessary changes, and I seek to encourage and inspire others to do the same. Twelve years ago I lost my father to cancer, and ten years ago I went through a very painful divorce.

I spent about a year embittered and angry and blaming everyone else for where I was. After some hard conversations with people I loved, and with the help of those around me, I began to realize that I had allowed myself to play the victim.

Once I accepted that I was responsible for where I was, I saw that I could make different choices that would produce much better results. I changed jobs and found joy in my work, instead of just working to pay the bills. I began to write and found joy in sharing the lessons I've learned with others. And I began to speak and teach and found joy in opening the eyes of people to the power of personal responsibility.

The common thread through all of this success was a powerful three-part support system of my faith, my family, and my friends. My church came alongside me through the divorce and afterward. My family was a consistent source of encouragement and help when I needed it.

And my friends were with me every step of the way, helping me do more than I had thought possible. It is this same type of support system that I want to help others create: who is important to you? What is important to your success? And how can I help you build this in your life?

Your Challenges & How You Turned Pain into Purpose

First big challenge: Taking Responsibility

It’s always easier to blame others than to take responsibility for where we are, the choices we’ve made, and the outcomes we’ve created for ourselves. I know that life isn’t fair and sometimes we’re dealt a difficult hand, but we still have the choice of how we respond to that.

I’m always reminded of the saying of President Teddy Roosevelt, “Do the best you can with what you have where you are.” That’s all any of us can do! The question is, are you really doing your best, or are you slacking off and blaming others for your lack of success?

I was quite guilty of blaming others, and when I finally decided to take responsibility, that’s when the transformation began. Instead of feeling entitled to a good life and being angry that I wasn’t getting it, I was now empowered to change my life into something quite different than before.