The last topic in this series is probably one of the hardest things for leaders to do consistently. Leaders and people with vision often get so caught up with the passion of the dream, so focused on everything and everyone else around them, that they don’t take the time to build themselves. If we want to accomplish anything great, we need to make sure we are building with longevity in mind.
Tragically, we hear so often of great leaders, either in politics, business, or in the church, that have burnt out or have made some error, moral or otherwise, and are no longer in their positions as a result. These situations not only can have massive economical or political implications, they also generally end up affecting the lives of countless others as well.
There are several things that I believe are imperative for any leader to understand and implement that may reduce the chances of things like this happening.
First, I think that every leader should know themselves, and should understand where their breaking point is. Someone once told me that we need to understand how to read the “gauges” of our lives. Often, it is when we allow stress, fatigue or any other element to go unchecked, that we open ourselves up to trouble and bad decision making. We not only have to identify when our gauges are dropping, we also need to identify what it is that rejuvenates us. This will be different for everybody. For some, this will be spending some time away, either alone or with family. For others, it may be doing some hobby or extreme sport. I know for me, riding my motorcycle through a twisty road, or watching a great movie, traveling somewhere new, prayer, or even dinner and laughter with great friends, are all ways I recharge my battery.
Secondly, I believe that, as leaders, we should always be trying to sharpen our skills and always be learning. Most of the Metamorphic team have made the choice to continue their education by doing further university training or taking courses that help them increase their current skill sets. This not only helps them to stay sharp and broaden their knowledge, it also adds to their effectiveness with Metamorphic and increases the productivity of the organisation.
Another thing I have noticed over the years is how a number of leaders have limited their effectiveness, or even had their time in leadership cut short, due to them not taking time to look after themselves physically. Leadership demands discipline; discipline, not only in time management or in setting goals for the organisation, but self-discipline in relation to exercise, proper diet, and even in making sure to get enough rest. I have seen too many pastors and leaders burnt out or driven to early “retirement” just because they did not look after these simple things.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not the start that determines your success or otherwise, it is how you finish that will determine how people remember you and your influence. If you are a leader, can I ask you, will you take the time to make a personal plan for your life? Set goals for your physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual well-being. I guarantee that if you do that, and you discipline yourself to follow it, you will have a far more effective career or ministry, and will set yourself up for a bright and long future.