What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.

-Brené Brown

Our E-Myth coaching certification taught us that there were three conditions required in order for change to occur:

  1. A person had to be in pain (meaning they don’t like their situation)

  2. They need to be motivated to make changes

  3. They have to be coachable

You might be saying “duh” to all that, but it is not as much of a given as you might think.  What we find is:

  • Some people don’t like their situation, but aren’t really motivated to change things.

  • Some are in pain and motivated to change, but not coachable.

  • And some aren’t any of the three.

I mean, we all know people that are pretty miserable and don’t seem motivated to do something about it.  And it isn’t that we don’t all have problem areas that demand some attention.  We all have those.  But until we are in enough pain to be really motivated about it and desperate or humble enough to be open to let someone come alongside us in that, change will not happen.

Let me say that again; change will not happen.

We’ve gotten pretty ruthless about the administering of those three conditions.  We reference it all the time and there are leaders and institutions that have asked for our help that we have walked away from as a result.  We have learned that exerting our energy and time in the direction of someone not checking all three boxes is a waste of our time and their money.  

Yes, we have turned down business as a result.

I have become so convicted about this “three-legged stool” of conditions and I even apply it avocationally to individuals I meet with or couples where we invest our time.  We have willfully walked away from those who said they wanted help if the answer wasn’t yes to all three questions.

Doesn’t sound like a very Christian thing to do?

I think it is the pinnacle of stewardship to know where to offer your gifting, ability, and good heart in the place that will have the greatest Kingdom impact.  

We are coheirs of God’s Kingdom.

We are image bearers of the most high God.

We are glory bearers of some aspect of God’s glory.

Stewarding all that well requires some hard choices.

I have gotten really comfortable making those determinations.  The number of people who say they want to change their life and business and the number of them who are really committed to doing so are wildly different.  My time, energy, and lifespan are finite.  So is yours.  In these desperate and fragile times, it is necessary that we all get a lot more discerning.

Oh, and another thing I’ve learned recently:  I think there is a fourth leg to the stool that’s necessary if there is going to be a relationship where sustainable change occurs.  In order for interest, mutual satisfaction, and the momentum to sustain the relationship, there needs to be some sense of the person being grateful or thankful.  This is an essential transaction that needs to occur for both parties.

I am working hard to appreciate the people who invest in me in ways that have produced meaningful change.  It is fuel for the journey when others do that for me.

Real change is possibly and sustainable over time if the person is in pain, motivated to change, coachable, and thankful.


  • We are all in some sort of pain in some area of our life…there are things we don’t like. But are you really motivated to change things and be coachable?

  • Do you think that might be why others don’t invest in you or why your situation isn’t changing?

  • How are you investing your time, energy, and gifting? Are you planting that seed where it will find the greatest purchase?

  • How good are you at expressing gratitude for those that have made a difference in your life?