4 Steps to Staying Strong in Leadership

Recently I tried to get my girls to clean their rooms.  It was a total parenting failure!  Multiple times I told them but my message was not getting through.  I learned a lesson, you cannot talk to kids when a TV is on anywhere near them!  They are like bugs to light with that thing on! If I want to communicate with them I take a simple step:  I press pause on the TV.  Then they might actually look at and listen to me.  If I don't, they won't hear a word I am saying.

Great leaders know how to press pause.  

You run pretty hard during the week.  Meetings, planning, counseling, emails, calls, conversations, building teams…you’re starting to feel busy just reading this aren’t you?  To maintain your pace you have to strategically pull away from the race.

Long term ministry is not sustained from raw talent but from a full tank.  Learn now to recover and hear God's voice.  Learn to "press pause.” Unplugging is intentionally focusing on Christ and on yourself.

Here are 4 ways anyone can press pause...

1. Take your day off.

Early in my career I felt guilty taking days off.  Looking back that was just immaturity.  You have days off for a reason.  If you do not take your day off each week, you will burn out.  Period.  

Our office is closed on Fridays. I take every one of them off.  Are there exceptions periodically? Sure, but don’t use that as an excuse.  On Fridays I do not schedule anything.  I "let things happen" on Fridays.  It is guarded as my one unplanned day.  Fridays are as sacred as Sundays to me.

If you have vacation days, by all means use every one of them.  Make sure others on your team take theirs too.  Good teams honor health...find out how HERE.  Early on we couldn’t afford to go on vacation so we would either stay at home or go visit family.  What you do does not matter, time away from the grind does.  

2. Find a rhythm.  

There are things you have to do to establish rhythm in your life.  It ensures that your life has balance and flow.  Working out every day keeps me settled.  It helps me maintain pace on a daily basis.  I go to the beach for 1 week every summer, to the mountains for 1 week every fall, and to my home town for at least 2 weekends during the year.  These are rhythms that work for me.  Have a routine that brings peace to your soul.

My friend, and a ministry hero of mine, Shawn Lovejoy calls this "Nurturing Vitality". Read more about it HERE.

3. Stay fit.

Pay attention to your emotional, spiritual, financial, and relational health as well as your physical.  Find time every day to feed these areas in your life. 

Set a goal to be physically active at least three times a week.  Get outside or to a gym or in your living room and break a sweat.  Make sure that you are taking steps to keep yourself emotionally healthy.  What is it that helps you feel balanced in your soul?  Do that as often as possible.  Commit to read your Bible for more than just sermons.  Read the One Year Bible at least 5 days a week.  Find a plan and stick to it.  Follow along with me on our church’s reading plan. If you’re single be sure to plan time and trips with friends to maintain those friendships.  If you are married make sure you schedule time to keep your marriage fresh.  

4. Unplug as often as you can.

I stole that line from my friend Dave Willis.  He taught me how to “live a focused life."  

We live in a digital age, making life remarkably better.  This also means we can never really disconnect.  Here is your remedy: Routinely and aggressively turn off your phone.  

Most of my hobbies require that I do not have a phone.  My passion is surfing.  I enjoy hiking, mountain biking and working out.  None of these things are conducive to having a phone.  Hitting that OFF switch is so life-giving to me!

What are you doing to "press pause"?  How are you nurturing your vitality?  What practical things help you recover and enjoy life?  Do you know the rhythm that makes your soul feel nourished?  When is the last time you unplugged? How are you creating space for God to speak to you?

What are some steps you take to press pause?