Here’s an article that recently appeared on the Willowcreek Global Leadership Summit blog. It’s well worth reading!
Hitting the Wall: Three Indicators that Your Personal Battery is Drained
The May 2016 Hitting the Wall leadership theme series continues with insights from Scott Cochrane, WCA vice president of International.
At the 2015 Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels engaged in a fascinating conversation with Brian Houston, senior pastor of Australia’s Hillsong Church.
Perhaps the most compelling portion of that conversation was when Brian opened up about a season of his life when he had reached his physical, emotional and spiritual limits. He shared how, in that season, he switched completely into “leadership mode.” He was paying no attention to his own physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
The result was to see him hit what he called “the red line,” and then cross over that line into the danger zone of complete personal depletion.
Brian’s description of hitting “the red line” immediately brought to mind the red line image that can serve as a daily reminder of the perils of personal depletion.
It’s the image of the red bar on our smart phones and indicates when we are close to losing power. That red bar is our phone’s way of telling us that unless we recharge soon, we will be completely out of power.
As leaders, God has wired us up with a similar “red bar”—a series of indicators that serve to warn us of an impending loss of power if we don’t recharge soon.
These are some of the most common red bar indicators:
When I drive to work, the way I react to other drivers tells me a lot about the condition of my soul. Does heavy traffic immediately push me into the high-irritability zone? That’s a warning sign I need to heed.
Pay attention to your own levels of irritability. They could be telling you that your personal battery is starting to run down.
The more replenished my soul, the more I tend to focus on the needs of others. When my personal agenda begins to trump all other considerations that’s a real danger sign.
If you don’t seem to be concerned with the welfare of others, watch out. It could be that the red bar is appearing.
When my soul is in a good place, I can spot a sin pattern a mile away. But when I am depleted, I can begin to convince myself that a minor indiscretion can be justified in the big picture.
I once considered propping up a struggling not-for-profit organization I led by accessing funds we were holding in trust. I found myself rationalizing this clear violation by telling myself it was for the good of the constituents I was serving. Fortunately, I recognized the danger signs just in time.
Watch out when you find yourself justifying questionable decisions. Your red bar could be telling you something.
The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart because everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23). That’s the Bible’s way of saying, “Pay attention to the red bar in your life!”
And if it begins to tell you that you are in the danger zone, start immediately to recharge yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Because your most effective leadership will only happen when your personal battery is fully charged.
Scott Cochrane serves as the vice president of International at Willow Creek Association. An insightful and genuine leader, he travels the globe mentoring international teams, often alongside Bill Hybels. Prior to joining WCA, he was the executive pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, British Columbia and provided leadership to the WCA Canada.
A business consulting firm recently sent me an email entitled ‘The Soul of Sacrifice’. The word soul, the poetic layout of the article, and the beautiful photo grabbed my attention. I read the whole thing – not something I usually do with long emails. The point of the article was that serving my business required sacrifice. They suggested all the things that had to be given up in order to serve:
‘STOP!’ My heart cried out, ‘NO! ‘
A great business does require sacrifice – at times. But somewhere along the line we have convinced ourselves that building up a business requires breaking down our bodies and souls.
Yes, you might have to put in a few late nights. But when this becomes a pattern, you are allowing your business to eat you alive.
There is a better way! The soul of your business can become a thriving, living, serving entity without stealing its energy and joy from you.
It’s actually easier to birth a business by giving up sleep, family time, art, etc. However, you can create a healthy life and a healthy business. With careful planning, healthy boundaries, and firm discipline you can pour yourself into your business without giving up your entire life.
* Set your working hours at the beginning of each week with an honest assessment of what you truly need to get done.
* Delegate anything that can be done by someone else at least 80% as well as you would do it.
* Schedule time for meals, family, recreation, devotion and yes, sleep!
When you look around and see frazzled business owners racing to get ahead, remember that you are creating something that will endure: a life you love.
Just sit there right now
Don’t do a thing
For your separation from God,
Is the hardest work
in this World.
Let me bring you trays of food
that you like to drink.
You can use my soft words
As a cushion for your head.
Creative rejuvenation. Spiritual revival. Professional development.
You hear about pastors, professors and corporate execs taking time off for study, rejuvenation, travel… But business owners??
This business owner is going to do it!
I need time to heal and get my strength back: mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
You may or may not know that I was recently diagnosed with CRPS in my foot. CRPS is a nerve disease that is very painful and has kept me from wearing a shoe for over a year. I’m getting around fairly well on a knee walker, but my mobility is limited. I’m scheduled for surgery at the end of February to implant a Spinal Cord Stimulator to help manage pain. We’re hoping this device gets me back in a shoe, on my feet, and ready to get my energy and strength back after months of inactivity. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers during my recovery.
So if I am this close to getting back up and running (at least walking!), why would I choose to pause now for a Sabbatical?
A Sabbatical is a time for refreshment, study, reflection and rejuvenation. I feel my heart, soul and business all need a time to dive deep, to rediscover the roots of my passion and purpose, and then clarify the calling and focus of my life’s work. I promise you I won’t be simply watching Netflix and coloring mandalas — however I do anticipate doing some of that too! I plan to use this time to read, talk with people who inspire me, write, and listen.
So no new clients, speaking gigs or marketing for the next 9 months. I’ll fulfill the contracts and promises I’ve made over the next few weeks… and then I’m done!
Lots of fear is popping up in between moments of thrill at the thought of time to rest and write and read and think and possibly travel — but I am confident I will emerge with more focus and clarity, passion and purpose.
You’ll still see me here and on social media. I’ll keep you posted on projects and progress. But I will also probably take a bit of time offline too.
And at the end of these 9 months we’ll just see what is born from this time of refreshment.