You know that sick feeling when you turn the ignition switch to On and instead of the motor roaring to life all you hear is the “click…click” of a dead battery. Yes, there had been some recent warning signs…the slow turning over of the engine on cold starts, but you had ignored them because it did start eventually. And besides, you had things to do, important things, and many people were depending upon you.
So, you get on with it…placing the “check out the car battery” on the To-Do List and move forward. But now, here you sit, turning the ignition switch again and again, desperately hoping that the battery will find some lost energy reserve to once again move you toward those important items on your plan today. But it’s all to no avail…the battery is totally dead!
Leaders are often like those dying-dead batteries. We run well for long periods of time giving away ourselves to the demands of our role while all the time running lower and lower on our spiritual, emotional, and physical reserves. Until one day, we try to “start our daily engine” and it only responds with a “click…click…click.” It’s time for some attention to that long-ignored “personal reserve” if we are to continue to lead from an overflow.
Here are some suggestions on how to recharge those personal batteries that may be in need of some attention. Not all will be appropriate for your season of life or person, but reflect on these and see if there isn’t something that could put some needed “juice” into your reserves.
Get some time away from your leadership responsibilities – you’re really not that important!
o Plan your daily and weekly schedule with margin for change and interruption. Don’t book each day full with back-to-back appointments.
o Turn off your cell phone! You’re really not that important!
o Let incoming calls go to voice mail so that you can control when you want to talk on the phone.
o Limit the number of times you check your email each day.
o Do you really need to post to Facebook, Tweet, or respond to every text message immediately?
Get a life outside of your leadership!
o Develop friendships with others not directly related to your leadership role.
o Find some recreation and hobbies – know yourself and what ‘fills your tanks.”
o Take a break / vacation – put it into your schedule just as you do your other important appointments.
Push yourself to learn something new!
o Learning something new and different will stimulate long dormant brain cells and/or muscles, bringing a new sense of progress and perspective.
Do something physically stretching!
o “Stretching” is relative given age, physical condition, habits, etc. Don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else is doing just because it fits them. Know yourself!
You only have one body and it must last you for the entire length of the trip–so take good care of it. You don’t want to come to the end and say like David Brainerd (missionary to the Delaware Indians) who died at the age of 29, “God gave me a horse to ride and a message to deliver. Now I have killed the horse and can’t deliver the message.”