Take Away’s from Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley

There’s a group of twelve men who are close to my heart and who I pray for on a daily basis. Most of the men I’ve never met, but I feel that I know them through their books and teaching lessons.

One of these men is Andy Stanley. Many of his leadership teachings seem to resonate with me so much. Many times I read his books or listen to his leadership lessons and feel as if he prepared that specific lesson or book just for me!

Another one of these times came when I read one of his books entitled, Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?
Choosing to Cheat is a short 100 page book with a simple message that leaders will be forced to “cheat” in their lives. They’re going to have to “cheat” their family out of the time which they deserve for the sake of working hard and becoming successful. Or the leader is going to have to “cheat” work out of the duties and responsibilities that the leader should or could do, in order to maintain the time needed for his family.

Here are a few take ways from this books which I really recommend for any leader:

  • Someone is always going to be cheated – As leaders we only have so much time. As a result, someone is going to get “cheated.” Someone at work on the leader’s team isn’t going to get the time he or she needs for a project. Or a son or daughter is going to have a dance recital ballet where her father doesn’t show up because he’s busy at work. Every leader is forced to cheat in some areas, but it’s up to the leader to manage his life and priorities to decide where he cheats.
  • Hard work isn’t always what brings us rewards and success – Andy explains how success rarely comes directly from the hours of hard work, time and dedication to a job. But success normally comes from people we meet accidentally or an opportunity thrown our way we didn’t know about,
  • Don’t give your family your leftovers – If you’re a leader with a family, your family deserves to get your best. A daughter should not have to settle for her daddy’s leftovers. She shouldn’t only see him late at nights after he’s worked all day and is totally burnt out and tired. She should be able to spend time with him when he’s alert, awake, energetic and excited to spend time with her.
  • For the sake of keeping priorities in alignment, you’re going to have to allow important work things to slide – As you make the commitment to cheat at work so you can fully devote your time at home, you’re going to have to find yourself releasing and letting go of opportunities at work. You’re going to have to leave meetings early and say no to new opportunities because you committed to be home on time.

Andy Stanley’s book, Choosing to Cheat has been one of the most influential books in my life as a leader. It certainly was a message I needed to hear. I suggest you pick it up and give it a read if you’re a leader who has a big vision and a family you need to balance that vision with.

It’s a small book about 100 pages, so you can sit down and give it a read in one sitting.

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at