Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Leading from an overflow”

Hobbies or Hobbles?

I was educated and trained as a veterinarian, specializing in horses.  There were certain times when I needed to restrain a horse in order to work on it.  Hobbles were one of the most useful, simple means for immobilizing a horse and to protect me from getting my brains beat out by a horse hoof!

A 1,200 pound horse can be pretty much immobilized by tethering a couple of its legs together.  Great power and strength can now be brought under control with a small rope around the legs.

Leaders are busy, often intense, and sometimes over-extended people who need times when they unplug from their responsibilities and recharge.  This habit of stepping away from our leadership duties to build reserve is sometimes referred to as living within our boundaries, scheduling with a margin, or simply taking time off.  It’s an excellent discipline and will enable sustained contribution over a long time.

But sometimes our hobbies can become hobbles for us.  What was just a small hobby now becomes an obsession.  The all-in intensity we bring to our leadership now becomes focused on our leisure activities as well.  What was a recharge opportunity now becomes an opportunity for mastery instead.

Living in Colorado, I love being outdoors in God’s creation.  And I especially enjoy fly fishing in the mountains around my home.  People come from all over the world to experience what I have out my door.  It’s a wonderful privilege to live where I live.

Yet, as I enjoy my hobby of the pursuit of trout, I want to be aware that this is a means to an end, not an end for me.  Fly fishing is a recharge opportunity to allow me to pursue my primary calling of seeking to change the world one person at a time by helping them live and lead like Jesus.  If I’m not careful and circumspect, my hobby can become my hobble to keep me from accomplishing my God-given mission.

There are some who may be called to serve as fly fishing guides or in other parts of the industry who, for them, fly fishing is their mission.  They use this as a platform to serve God and influence others.  This is good and right.  I could have been asked by Him to continue as a equine practitioner and should I have done so, it would have been right.  But the Lord asked me to change my vocation and leave vet medicine in order to become a vocational missionary.  Both vocations are honorable and good.  There is no higher value in vocational Christian service.  We do all for Him and His glory whether it is ‘ministry’ or ‘marketplace’ as all are of equal worth and value in His eyes.  It’s simply a matter of personal calling and God’s plans for our lives.

Do you have a hobby or a routine that helps you recharge?  How are you managing that hobby?  Is it truly refreshing you or has your hobby now become your hobble?

Read and Reread Your Bible

Leaders are readers!

J.O. Sanders

The quote from J.O. Sanders is certainly true.  Leaders must be living and leading from an overflow.  But, what to read?  There is an overabundance of books – especially leadership books!

For Kingdom leaders the primary reading material must begin with the Word of God – the bible.  It is our instruction manual for life and leadership.  It is a love letter from our Heavenly Father.  It is our comfort and anchor of hope when we face tough times.  We must saturate our life with the Scriptures in order to lead well as a Kingdom leader.

Some years ago I met a missionary who so impressed me with his grasp of the Scriptures that I had to know what led to his mastery.  Over lunch, he mentioned that as a younger missionary 25 years before he had begun the habit of reading the entire bible through once a month!  Two and one-half hours a day of reading led him to accomplish that impressive monthly task.  Well, that was a pretty discouraging lunch!

“No way,” I thought.  “Can’t do that.”  But I did ask him how he knew how much to read each day.  He replied, “I counted the number of pages in my bible and divided by 30.”  “Hmmm.  I can’t do the entire bible, but I bet I could do the New Testament,” I thought.  So I counted the pages and divided and thirty and read the entire NT in one month.  I took me about 30 minutes a day of reading.  I continued to do that for the next 8 years and was extremely blessed by this habit.  Today, several times a year I’ll read the entire NT in a month. Last year for my devotions, I read the NT through each month for the year.

Everyone of you reading this blog is capable of the same.  You can read the entire NT in a month by allocating 30 minutes each day for reading.  You’ll find that through repetition, you will soon be able to quote passages, though never having memorized them, just because you have read them over and over.

So, what’s stopping you from this developmental habit?  Only you.  How about launching out and see if you can do it?  Your depth will overflow into all areas of your life and leadership.

Spending a Half-Day with God #1

There are many important things that fill up our personal schedules each day.  These important tasks occupy our time and often other items that are much more important are neglected because of the pressure of the urgent.  Taking time to pray often is considered something good to do, if we have the time, but not something that is a necessity.  It is even more of a struggle, if we desire to take a half-day with the Lord for fellowship and prayer!

What is the purpose and what benefits can we expect if we take an extended time for prayer and fellowship with the Lord?  Listed below are some thoughts related to this question.

  1.  Spending extended time alone with God will deepen our relationship with Him. We will deepen the joy of our relationship with Him as we fellowship and worship Him.  As in all relationships, it takes time to get to know someone.  The Lord promises to especially attend to those who fear and honor Him (Malachi 3:16 and 2 Chronicles 16:9a).
  1. Leaving behind our daily routines and responsibilities will renew our perspective on life.  Especially when facing difficulties, we must get away and focus on the Lord, rather than on our problems.  Our attention is to be on the unseen, not the visible (2 Corinthians 4:18).
  1.  We are often frustrated in not praying enough for others.  Taking an extended time for prayer will enable us to spend quality time praying for the needs and concerns of our friends, relatives, those in authority over us, etc.  The power of prayer is evident as we take the time to intercede for others.  Many things can only be accomplished through prayer.
  1.  The busyness of our daily routines can sometimes cloud our future goals and direction in life.  Taking time alone with God can help us re-evaluate the direction of our lives.  During these times God can give a renewal for our current life path or re-direct.  When facing major decisions, such as career or location changes, we must take the time to seek God’s mind.  What does He want us to do?
  1.  Our busyness can also prevent us from thoroughly thinking through certain projects, goals or problems.  The Lord gave us the ability to think and reason.  Though we are not to depend on our reasoning only (Proverbs 3:5-6), we are still to use it!  Taking the time to think, without distractions, is a necessity as we face the complexities of modern life.

When was the last time you took some extended time with the Lord?  Is it time to put it on your calendar?

Leading from a Focused Life

Dr. RJ (Bobby) Clinton in his masterful work titled, “Strategic Concepts that Clarify a Focused Life,” states the following principles that have proven to be a guiding light for me over the years.

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to
do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgments.       Ezra 7:10

“Clearly some Bible characters led focused lives.  There was purpose in what they did. Disciplined minds followed through on decisions that continually led to that purpose.  What can we learn about lives that are extremely focused?  Do they just happen?

“Leaders, must make decisions about life and ministry which flow from their understanding of who God has made them to be and for what God is shaping them.  These decisions will lead them to effective purposeful lives, which in retrospect will be seen to have been focused lives.  But it is not a self-seeking individualistic choice of life, but a seeking of what a SOVEREIGN GOD is doing—His purposes.  All of the focused life thinking must be done in light of a strong understanding of the Sovereignty of God.

“What is a focused life?  A focused life is:

• a life dedicated to exclusively carrying out God’s effective purposes through it,
• by identifying the focal issues, that is, the life purpose, effective methodology, major role, or ultimate contribution which allows
• an increasing prioritization of life’s activities around the focal issues, and
• results in a satisfying life of being and doing.

Dedicated usually indicates that there was some sort of second decision beyond just being a Christian.  That decision places all that the leader is or has at God’s disposal to be used by and for God.  From that moment on, the leader is on a pilgrimage to discover God’s special purposes, that is, a personal destiny with God.

Life purpose, effective methodology, major role, or ultimate contribution are called the focal issues.  That is, they are the major ways that God will reveal that for which we are designed.  In a nutshell, life purpose is the driving force behind what we do.  Major role is the occupational position from which we accomplish that life purpose.  Effective methodologies are means that are effective for us to deliver our ministry that flows from that life purpose.  And ultimate contributions are the lasting results of that ministry

“It is the discovery of these focal issues, that is, their movement from implicit to explicit, which provides the possibility of prioritization or in other words, proactive decision-making. The earlier we can discover these issues, the earlier we can proactively act upon them. The leader then makes strategic decisions, which take into account the discoveries. In short, they manifest aspects of a focused life.

“Note the final bold-faced words in the focused life definition, a satisfying life of being and doing.  Leaders who discover life purpose and any other focal issue, which synergizes with it, will see things happen in their lives.  They will become people of character.  They will accomplish.  When all is said and done and life is drawing to a close, they can look back and say, “Folks, you are looking at a fulfilled person.  I am happy with the end product of God’s shaping—who I am, what I have become.  I am happy at what God has done through me—what I have done.  Life was worth living.  It has been a fulfilling pilgrimage.  Praise God!” “

How’s your focus?

God’s Use of Isolation

DAVID – GOD’S USE OF ISOLATION
1 Samuel 20-31

Isolation: when God sets a leader aside from their destiny process to develop deeper, heart issues dealing with their inner spirit; our “doing” for God ceases and we are forced to focus on our “being” with God.

“God develops our character in community and tests it in isolation.”
Bill Thrall

God develops our spirit in isolation and tests it in community.

Spirit: relating to and loving God, rather than doing something for God; knowledge and understanding of God, confidence in God, surrender to God

During isolation periods, God develops a leader into a channel for His power to be displayed. We learn to boast in weakness for we know God will work through our weakness for His glory.

2 Cor. 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Examples of Isolation:

Jesus – 40 days in the wilderness Luke 4:1-14

Luke 4:1,14
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert…. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

Moses – 40 years in desert tending sheep Acts 7:23,30

Paul – time in Arabia after conversion; years in Tarsus Gal. 1:17, 2:1

David – running from Saul in the desert ( +10 years ) 1 Sam.20-31

Leaders can anticipate times of isolation when God sets them aside from the activities of leadership in order to develop them in deeper ways.  Don’t be surprised by this, in fact, know that God is using this to develop you as a better leader.  Lean into it and don’t rush back to the action.  Let God have His way and His timing in your development.

Solitude in the Ministry

Here’s another great reminder for busy leaders from my “archive.”

Taking it From the Top
Moody Monthly – May 1991     Dr. Wayne Hopkins

Each of us regularly needs solitude, especially those in the ministry. At least one day a week you and I, individually, must get away. Normally, Sunday is not that day! For those in the ministry, it is a battle day.

In light of what a typical servant of God routinely faces and in order to remain calm in heart and gentle in spirit, a full day with God alone every week seems to be a minimum. Streams of living water do not pour forth from barren and burned places.

Life presses on us, leaving us alarmed in heart and hard in spirit. ”The length of our days is 70 years–or 80, if we have the strength–yet their span is but trouble and sorrow; for they pass quickly, and we fly away” (Ps 90:10).

American culture structures against one literally taking a day in seven for rest and reflection. The corporate world believes, as do some hard-working Christians, that any form of “shut-down-time” is sloth and dawdle. But alcoholism, deception, divorce, superficiality, and ulcers rank high among these same folks.

Solitude, found in isolation, has several components. One, the day must be one of studying the Scriptures (Deut 17:18-20; Ezra 7:10). A soul weary with sorrow is strengthened with God’s Word (Ps 119:28). A brief quiet time, even observed every day, has never been enough.

Two, the day of solitude is constructed with stillness (Ps 37:17; 46:10). Such a day probably impossible to attain by a neurotic American, or by a guilt-driven believer, is characterized by a moratorium on activity (Ps 4:4): no chores, errands, phone calls, or TV (Isa 30:15).

Three, quietness is required (Lev 10:3). Sitting still for some does not eliminate noise. But the radio, music, Walkman, even mental racket must go. For in the long hush, not in the loud hurry, we learn about God (Ecc 5:1-7; Jer 17:19-29). Only privacy provides the silence needed for God to re-order my life, bashed and sapped from six days of mauling (Prov 17:1; Lam 3:25-33).

Four, waiting for God with patience is mandatory (Ps 5:3; 130:5-6). The rude, robust, and righteous person chafes at lingering in God’s presence for any period longer than a 30-second church prayer (Hos 8:4; 10:12-13). For a society that measures Olympic races in hundredths of a second, a full day can be an eternity. However, the barbarian heart which undercuts God’s kingdom naturally jeers at any apparent dilly-dallying or wasting of time by reposing before God (Ps 131:2; Isa 8:17).

Not uncharacteristically, Moses waited, not only 40 days on two occasions, but six days on another (Ex 24:15-18); Ezekiel tarried seven (Ezek 3:15-16); and Jesus fasted 40 (Mt 4:2). Frequently, God’s servants–e.g. Job, Abraham, Jeremiah, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Paul–logged days in seclusion. The willingness to wait, both before Him and for Him, displays courtesy, faith, and dependency (Isa 30:18, 33:2; 40:31). Personal and work-related mission, passion, and creativity surface and flame in those hours.

Five, meditation is an absolute (Ps 1:2; 119:27). Pondering deeply the nature and the ways of God takes not only time and serenity but controlled thinking. Totally unknown to anxious Americans addicted to action, speed, work, and noise, meditation is the only vista whereby I can meet with Him (Ps 119:15,23,27,48,55,62,78,97,148; Isa 57:11). While we praise God loudly in music and testimony, we learn about Him in silence-free from distractions-as we mentally and calmly dwell on Him (Ps 86:1-17; Prov 22:17-21; Lk 10:38-42).

Six, fasting follows next (Ps 35:13). The discipline of fasting, not originally initiated for hefty American pastors or missionaries, decreases the clutter and static for the day’s devotion and, in turn, enhances solitude (Ps 69:10; 109:24). Never intended to be routine or ritualistic (Isa 58:1-14; Mt 6:16-18) or even a total abstinence, fasting portrays an inward awe for God which is particularly appropriate at critical decision times (Ezra 8:21-23;Acts 13.1-3). To consult truly with God over heavy matters in life, one’s inner contriteness and brokenness are matched by an outer withdrawal from daily routines. Jesus directed that fasting would be fitting after His departure and during His absence (Mt 9:14-15).

Seven, a prayer response to what God shows one in secret is expected (Job 42:5-6; Isa 6:5). Confession qualifies me for further illumination regarding God’s truth, whether about Him or me (Josh 9:14; 1 Ch 10:14; 15:13; 2 Ch 16:12). Some devotees ask to be taught how to pray. But as God teaches solitude and these disciplines of the soul which compose it, prayer is a natural reaction to what He discloses. Prayer without revelation is vain religion.

As serious Christians today with a penchant for action, we are impressed with David’s valor in defeating Goliath. We puzzle over how he did it, perhaps failing to notice that as a shepherd he received his boldness for the battle not from the frenzy of the freeway but from the solitude of a sheep meadow (1 Sam 17:34-37). God loves shepherds. They are known for their solitude.

Busyness is normative for leaders.  If you don’t want a busy life, then don’t lead!  But the busyness of leadership is no excuse for spending time with the King in quiet reflection, meditation, and prayer.  When’s your next time of solitude with the King?

A Shelter Day in the Ministry – Part 2

The following is from my “archives” and a great reminder of a timeless truth for leaders.

Taking It from the Top
Moody Monthly – January 1992    Dr. Wayne Hopkins

The ministry is work. Hard work! Any servant of God worth his salt, motivated by a sense of righteousness and eternity, painfully feels there is more to do than what he can accomplish. Hurting people in his ministry need him-because of marital problems, wayward children, and conflicts with relatives, neighbors, and folks at work and church.

Hence, time always seems in short supply for the urgent crises of counseling witnessing, preaching, Bible studies, and helping others. The staggering amount of abuse, adultery, bankruptcy, divorce, drunkenness, eating disorders, gambling, idolatry, and store housing drives the caring shepherd.

Not uncommonly the servant tastes the fatigue and desperate panic of an athlete in the Triathlon who discovers during the race additional miles and events are being added, pushing the finish line further away into the twilight.

The genius of a Shelter Day (S-Day)–where activity hatches are shut and bolted down, no matter how spiritual or alarming–is that it serves as a submerged day for rest and recharging. In addition to it being a study time, the S-Day is to be distinguished by stillness (Ps 46:10). It is not enough merely to stay home one day a week in seclusion; one cannot hopscotch around the house to the phone, computer, TV and refrigerator (Ex 14:10-18). Stillness requires staying fixed and focused mentally, and it excludes leapfrogging on ministry projects behind closed doors (Ps 37:7).

God’s “thoughts and ways” which are as high and different from mine as the heavens are above the earth (Isa 55:8,9), are not grasped by me in the midst of a cyclone, convulsions. or even a dull circus. The profound joy and peace–promised to me from another world (Isa 55:12)–as a result of entering God’s intimacy are not merely millennial blessings, tucked away for me for the future, in the meantime leaving me to grunt, gnash, and gnaw on my own (Isa 28:12,13). God orders me to abandon now my “evil thoughts and ways” (Isa 55:7-13) and ponder His thoughts and ways.

Before the S-Day can produce “strength and a rescue” for me, it must be furrowed with “rest and quietness” (Isa 30:15). A modern “can-do” American, especially the guilt-driven Kingdom worker, finds it virtually impossible to turn off the power drive and park for 24 hours.

Both a physical and mental idle is mandatory, if I am going to benefit reflectively from God’s presence with me (Ps 116:7; Zech 2:13). A throttled-down, unflapped composure by me is that steady state needed to refuel in mid-flight. True poise, which allows insight and refreshment from the sphere above, gushes to a calm, unruffled soul below, content to wait for Him no matter how long it takes (Hab 2:20; Zeph 1:7).

David’s other-world contemplations and psalms flushed earthward while he sat or lay motionless and hushed (Ps 4:4; 16:78; 42:1-43:5). Songs bubbled up and over, springing from deep wells within, only in a long lull which followed a storm. Job, likewise, made absolutely no progress in penetrating the mystery of his afflictions until he and his friends stopped their flap and fury allowing God to interrupt with facts (Job 40:3-5; 42:1-6).

Like rain and snow cycling from heaven to earth then back, according to Isaiah 55:10, 11, the Word of the Lord spreads throughout the land to accomplish that which He intends. The soil, nourished like my soul, then yields its “seeds for the sower and bread for the hungry.” Patiently and majestically nature waits–as anyone knows who has stood in the middle of a meadow or deep in the woods–for the moisture of the rain and snow. Comparable, the nurture of wisdom and grace, derived from perceiving God’s thoughts and ways, arrives fruitfully in season to those who wait (1 Sam 12:16). Heaven never makes the fields and valleys fertile because they “spin or toil” (Mt 6:19-34; cf. 4:4). They must wait.

For my soul to be restored, God leads me by the still waters (Ps 23:2). For me to drink, I must cease my bank-side romp and ruckus and lie in green pastures. For I process truth about God only in a balmy, soft, and soothing setting, not in a brouhaha, by a boombox, or amid baubles. In praise, singing and celebrations, with bands and voices, I communicate with God. In the still and quiet, God communicates with me…

Do you have your scheduled Shelter Day – a day of reflection, meditation on God and His Word, and study?  It need not be weekly, but it does need to be regular.  Is it on your calendar?

A Shelter Day in the Ministry – Part 1

The following is from my “archives” and a great reminder of a timeless truth for leaders.

Taking It from the Top
Moody Monthly – December 1991    Dr. Wayne Hopkins

I guess every warrior wrestles occasionally in his sleep. I certainly do! David did at times  (Ps 6:6, 42:3 77:2).

The Bible suggests that sleep and dreams in the night, or the lack thereof, gauge how well I do in the day (Ecc 5:3, Is 29:7-8). Indeed, God desires me to have sweet dreams (Ps 4:8).

As the Searcher of all hearts and the Knower of all thoughts (2 Ch 32:31), however, He may grind on me at night in my sleep (Ps 17:3; Heb 4:12-13). He may prod me to cooperate; to do some soul-searching myself on a sleepless night, instead of turning to Sominex or a nightcap (Ps 4:4; 63:6).

Perhaps He seeks to fuss about something ajar or amok in my life (Job 33:14-18). God cradles some, others He clobbers or torments during the night (Isa 50:11). Sleep disorders for some, due to their lifestyle, are such that money, no matter what the amount, cannot buy them sleep (Ecc 5:12). Nightmares, sleepwalking, early arousals, or the like, may serve as a divine alarm, which produces a warning about a spiritual or emotional problem. The problem left unchecked could blaze into a multiple alarm, i.e., physical sickness (Ps 38-3-18). Merely turning off the buzzer is not the object; determining the cause and putting out the fire is.

It seems that God may resort to the night shift with me when He cannot get through on the day shift (Ps 25:8-9). Perhaps in the daytime I am too baffy, bawdy, or busy, but I must collapse or crash somewhere, someplace. Then, there He is (Ps 107:4-32; 139:1-12).

God’s preferred plan, I believe, is that I need one day each week for Him to punch me down, purge me out, patch me up, and mold me back, after six days of duking, drubbing and drifting (Ps 64:4). Fundamentally my soul craves solitude with Him for recuperation (Ps 55:4-8; 84:1-2). Now, a full day of retreat will not replace nor diminish time spent with God each day in prayer, meditation, and study. The Shelter Day is an addition. David, certainly an enterprising administrator, like Daniel, prayed three times a day (Ps 55:17).

But I need at least one major in-take period…; a time of seclusion (Mk 1:35; Heb 4:9); a time for replenishing me deepest wells. Hence, the S Day must be a quiet, study day.

The S Day is not the time for direct sermon or lesson preparation per se’, for that is work, draining the well. On the S Day the well is allowed to recharge. Later, when the well is brimful, sermon construction is quicker. Without the S Day, the well has little time to recover before the bucket bangs the bottom again, scooping up mud and mush…

…The S Day, to reload the heart and soul with premium gusto should be Word centered (Ps 119:92; Mt 4:4; 2 Tim 2:15; 3:16-17), in a cloistered haven. Here I suggest a simple, meditative reading first, then rereading the biblical text (Deut 17:18-20: Ezra 7:10). It is not unthinkable that, in this manner, the entire Bible could be read a half-dozen times each year.

Second, endeavor to outline. Outlining forces critical thinking as one seeks for the theme, message, and logical development of a paragraph, chapter, or book…

Third, study inductively. Original outlining requires it, of course. Collecting references and thoughts, too, (perhaps on 3×5 cards) on relevant topic helps. These topic headings are personal, arising out of one’s life, ministry, and interests…

…compile a growth log. Here one keeps notes and dates on fresh insights. This is not a diary or journal, but a record of added wisdom, jotted down not only on the S day, but as thoughts surface on any day.

Perhaps these S Day study-tips will allow one’s pool to be restocked and flooded with fresh, cool, and living waters from Jesus Christ Himself (Ps 19:7-11; 25:4-5)…

Hence, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in a sheltered place” (Ps 4:8).

Do you have your scheduled Shelter Day – a day of reflection, meditation on God and His Word, and study?  It need not be weekly, but it does need to be regular.  Is it on your calendar?

Reflection at Year End

As we come to the end of the calendar year, it’s good to pause and reflect upon what was and what will be.  It is through reflection that we can gain perspective and see more clearly the overarching, macro movements of our lives.

Leaders are often too busy to stop and reflect.  We always have more things to do and people to see.  We take one item off of the do-list and add three more!  Who has time to stop and think?

Today…..now is the time to stop and reflect upon who you are becoming and what you are doing!  Here are some questions to get you started in this reflection time.

Are you pleased with your own personal spiritual walk?  More importantly, is Jesus pleased?  How’s that margin in your life?  Are you living and leading from an overflow?  How’s the family doing?  Are you paying the price to have the marriage you committed to on your wedding day?  Are you investing deeply in your children, knowing that the years for significant influence are rapidly passing you by?

What fears are you trying to ignore related to your leadership?  Are you leading with faith and courage?  Is the vision of where you are leading to focused or foggy?  Do you have a team that is unified and empowered?  Are you accomplishing the mission that you intended to accomplish?

These and many more questions are helpful for taking stock of where you are today and where you need to be/go tomorrow.  Use this time for reflection and refocus as you start a new year full of new hope and new beginnings.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Even the Energizer Bunny Needs Recharging Eventually!

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.”

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