Jared Zimmerer

10 Quotes from Jared Zimmerer on Leadership

Jared Zimmerer spoke about leadership to the Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, on Nov. 14. Zimmerer is the Senior Director and Dean of Pastoral Fellows at the Word on Fire Institute. He holds a master’s degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and a PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University. He and his wife Jessica live in North Texas with their six children.  He is frequently seen on Word on Fire’s YouTube series of videos about the Catholic faith featuring the organization’s founder, Bishop Robert Barron. What follows are excerpts of his talk.

1: Leadership Mindset

“What makes the difference between a calm, cool, collected leader and one in a constant state of fear is mindset. Our life is often suffering, and our job is to choose what to do with it.”

2: Mexican Martyrs

“I grew up in a very very very devout Catholic family. But my lowercase-g ‘god’ was sports. If Arnold Schwarzenegger told me to eat oil I would have done that. If anything could improve my jump shot, I would do that. I had an opportunity to go to Mexico City with my father, and I visited the shrine of Miguel Pro. For the first time I knew what faith is and the sacrifice it entails. And then everything started to make sense to me. Miguel Pro really hit me hard.”

3: Lead Like Jesus

“As a leader, your personal holiness and your relationship with Christ will reflect in your leadership. Christ was the perfect leader, strong when needed, soft at other times, always willing to tell the truth and allow his apostles some freedom.”

4: Sports and God

“After those first years of starting a family and finishing a college, I started writing and speaking about my love of sports and fitness and how it fits with the Christian tradition. I had this love of sports, and I began to match it with the tradition of ascetism in the Church. I think the modern ideal of sports is incomplete, but that there is quite a bit of spiritual growth that can come from that.”

5: Control What You Can

“So often we think of what we cannot control, things like other people’s attitudes or perceptions, or we look too far into the future. Rather, choose to be objective.”

6: Hand a Drowning Man a Baby

“I grew up in this tradition of hard work. We were not allowed to be lazy. I worked at State Farm insurance after I got married, and after work there, I would work at a movie theater cleaning toilets, and study in what time I had. And then we got pregnant, and it’s like that Jim Gaffigan joke, where you feel like you’re drowning and someone hands you a baby.”

7: How to Make Challenges into Opportunities

“It takes a lot of practice and discipline to see a challenge as an opportunity. You have to learn to overcome your primal emotions of flight or flight. Yet each time we are able to control our reactions, it becomes a habit, and a virtuous habit.”

8: Word on Fire Origins

“In 2014 I had the very blessed opportunity to meet Cardinal Francis George. He’s one of those people who could read your soul and not judge you. At this time I was still doing parish work. He challenged us to ask, ‘What is Word on Fire going to be like in 100 years?’ With then-Father Robert Barron we started going over the Acts of Apostles together on the phone. We started listening to this grand vision of what he wanted Word on Fire to be. Then, in December of 2016, I get a call, ‘Jared I want you to do it.’”

9: Form Yourself in Prayer

“The way I have found this is through quiet, meditative prayer, maybe through a guided meditation. I really like the guided meditations available on Hallow. In addition to this I would highly recommend daily exercise. Some kind of physical exercise that pushes your boundaries, something that pushes your limits and forces you to see that you aren’t made of glass. They give you an enlarged sense of Providence.”

10: Form Your Team in Prayer

“I encourage you to pray with your team. When you pray with your volunteers, when you pray with those who work around you and under you, you get to have that level of relationship so that when those times come when you have to have a difficult conversation, you understand each other and where you are going.”