If you were to take a gander back at 2016, I’ll bet you could point out a few lessons that you learned. Here are five of the hundreds of lessons learned this year. And yes, these were a few of the more difficult lessons learned the hard way.
- I heard Dr. Jerry Falwell say years ago that “if you are leading anything, you will wake up hurting many mornings.” I had no idea how profound that statement I heard some 20 years ago would be in 2016. I’ve grown to understand that there is a tax you pay to lead an organization…in my case, a church. The tax you pay is that you will be critiqued, criticized, blind-sided, and attacked. The more transparent you are, the sharper those attacks seem to be. You see, the only way to never receive those arrows, pointed at your heart is to attempt nothing of significance, to settle for mediocrity, and to allow the organization the Divine has called you to lead to die a slow death akin to the proverbial “frog in the kettle.” Here’s the problem; the Divine never once equipped and called us to “that’ll have to do” leadership. Here’s the cure – While allowing the Spirit of God to soften your heart, allow Him to also thicken your skin.
- If you allow folks to dictate your God-given dreams, convince you that you haven’t heard from the Divine, and “surely nobody wants that, do they?” Here’s the best advice I can offer you on this – Spend the time to hear from the Divine, seek wise counsel, search God’s Word, then do it and stay the course and finish the drill. You are the one that God will hold accountable, not the folks that wanted you to play it safe.
- Make your health a top 5 priority. Without health your relationships, leadership, career and joy are all compromised. Health starts with sleep. I know some of you are still motivated by a martyr complex and love bragging about how little sleep you need. Stop it! Every study on the planet shows that you need 7-8 hours every night. I’ll guarantee you that your life will be greatly enhanced by this one healthy activity.
- Stop thinking that you can actually multitask your way through life. Plan your week – plan your day – plan your life. Proper planning includes a time of meditation, assessment, Scripture reading, earnest prayer, prioritized tasking and structured calendaring. I’ve learned to plan my energy more so than my calendar. My new teaching series (The Climb) will give you some solid coaching and resources to help you make it happen!
- That betrayal cannot, and will not happen from relationships on the fringe of you intimate relationship scale. Those folks were never close enough to hurt you. But the folks that are in your inner circle of friends, co-laborers, and close confidants – those folks – those folks can pop a cap of hurt into you that will debilitate you, cause you to question everything you stand for and leave you to walk away and find some other direction for your life. But every leader must deal with this at some point in the leadership journey. Remember what Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them.”
Yes, most of these are personally painful, but I never recall a single time the Divine said it would be easy.
When you are criticized, ask yourself how much truth is in the criticism. Ask what you should/could do to better your servant leadership. Always consider the source. Attempt to not respond in defensive verbiage or petty bickering. See the bigger picture and move on!
When folks want to hijack God’s plans for your life, minimize their voice in your life, return to the Divine and ask for wisdom.
If you still think you are made of steel, remember that a lack of sleep is the reason for dozens of health challenges, AND you are not Superman or Superwoman!
Multitasking is a fool’s errand. Especially when it is a norm at home. Step away from the phone, tablet, laptop or gaming system. Set committed times to disconnect to connect.
Betrayal is ugly, hurtful, and painful. But meaningful relationships are part of the Divine’s plan for our lives. Invest in relationships. When you get hurt, beat up and betrayed, know that most often those folks represent a minority’s attitude. Don’t let the sting linger. Forgive them, move on, and keep building relationships. If it happened to Jesus with one of His twelve, why would we think it would never happen to us? Reread number one above.
Stay Focused, Stay The Course, and Stay Cool, –Chuck