Staying motivated can be difficult at times. Sometimes we can find ourselves drained of motivation. We know what needs to be done and yet the energy is just not there for it and we become disinterested.
Archives For Leadership
Some teams work well together and some teams don’t. Those that work well together succeed; those that do not work well together do not succeed.
It is a very humbling moment when you realize that you have taken on too much – that you are living outside of your limits. Sometimes it is hard to admit that we can’t do it all. Sometimes we have glorified our busyness so much that we don’t even recognize that we are living outside of our limits.
I have come to this point a few times in my life. During these times I have had to face my human limitations. I had to accept the fact that I am not the Energizer bunny. I had to accept that I could not keep going and going.
We need to learn to recognize the signs – in ourselves and in others – that we may be reaching our limit so that we can pull back and recalibrate.
7 symptoms of living outside our limits
(from Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton)
1. Irritability or hypersensitivity.
Things that normally wouldn’t bother us (such as a child’s mistake, another driver cutting us off in traffic or a coworkers irritating habit) put us over the edge. We may or may or may not express our rage outwardly, but inwardly we are aware of reactions that are all out of proportion to the event itself.
During waking hours we might be aware of a vague sense that something is not quite right or an even stronger feeling of wanting to bolt from life. When it is time to rest, we might find ourselves unable to settle down and sit quietly or fall asleep. Because we are overstimulated, our sleep may be broken, marred by too much mental activity or disturbing dreams.
3. Compulsive overworking.
We might find that we are unable to stop or slow down even when that would be appropriate – like at night after dinner or on vacation. A compulsive leaders is one who – for some reason that he or she cannot quite name – has no boundaries on work, checks e-mail late into the evening, and is unable to unplug completely to go on vacation, to enter into solitude or to spend uninterrupted time with family.
4. Emotional numbness.
When we are pushing our limit, we may notice that we can’t feel anything – good or bad. It takes energy to experience and process a full range of human emotion. When we are “at capacity” we literally do not have the energy to engage the full range of human experience, including our emotions. In addition, we might be afraid that if we did stop and experience our emotions we would be overwhelmed, and who has the time for that?
5. Escapist behaviours.
When we do have a break in the action, we might notice that increasingly we are succumbing to escapist behaviours (such as compulsive eating, drinking or other substance abuse, spending, television, pornography, surfing the Internet) and don’t have the energy to choose activities that are life-giving (such as exercising, going for a walk or bike ride, connecting meaningfully with friends and family, enjoying a hobby or interest like playing an instrument, cooking, painting, drawing, writing poetry, playing sports, working with our hands, reading a good book). This becomes a vicious cycle, because escapist behaviours actually drain energy from us – energy we could use to make life-giving choices – and then we just get more and more lethargic.
6. Not able to attend to human needs.
We don’t have time to take care of basic human needs such as exercise, eating right, sleeping enough, going to the doctor, have that minor (or major) surgery we need. Even such simple things as getting the car washed, picking up the dry cleaning or staying organized seem impossible to accomplish, indicating that we are pushing the limits of being human. We may also notice that our most important relationships (family and friends) are routinely being short-changed.
7. Hoarding energy.
When we are running on empty, we can have the inner experience of always feeling threatened, as though exposing ourselves to additional people or situations would drain the last of our energy or the energy we are trying to conserve for what we think is important. We might actually become overly self-protective and even reclusive in our attempts to hoard the few resources we do have.
If even a few of these symptoms are true for you, chances are you are pushing against human limitations.
What symptoms do you recognize in your life right now?
(1) power to produce an effect and (2) power to affect somebody’s actions, character or beliefs through example, fear, admiration, etc.
So an influencer would be someone who has the power to produce effect in somebody’s actions, character or beliefs through example, fear, admiration, etc.
A parable that demonstrates the power of an influencer
A young school teacher had a dream that an angel appeared to him and said, “You will be given a child who will grow up to become a world leader. How will you prepare her so that she will realize her intelligence, grow in confidence, develop both her assertiveness and sensitivity, be open-minded, yet strong in character? In short, what kind of education will you provide that she can become one of the world’s truly GREAT leaders?”
The young teacher awoke in a cold sweat. It had never occurred to him before — any ONE of his present or future students could be the person described in his dream. Was he preparing them to rise to ANY POSITION to which they may aspire? He thought, ‘How might my teaching change if I KNEW that one of my students were this person?’ He gradually began to formulate a plan in his mind and his teaching began to change
Now, every young person who walked through his classroom became, for him, a future world leader. He saw each one, not as they were, but as they could be. He expected the best from his students, yet tempered it with compassion. He taught each one as if the future of the world depended on his instruction.
After many years, a woman he knew rose to a position of world prominence. He realized that she must surely have been the girl described in his dream. Only she was not one of his students, but rather his daughter. For of all the various teachers in her life, her father was the best.
This isn’t simply a parable about an unnamed school teacher.
It is a parable about you and me.
It is a parable about the potential positive influence that we can have on another person’s life.
How would you change your life if you were given the revelation that there would be “X” amount of people who would be positively influenced by you?
Who are you influencing?
Have you ever seen Rocky 3? It’s a bit of a trip back in time but in Rocky 3, Rocky Balboa has been the heavyweight champion of the world for several years. The once obscure and impoverished street fighter from Philadelphia is now living in a Hollywood style mansion.
He’s enjoying a life of wealth and fame and self-indulgence. The day he plans to announce his retirement, he is challenged by an unknown behemoth – James “Clubber” Lang (played by Mr. T). Rocky figures that this would be his final fight and he accepts the challenge.
Rocky trains for the fight in a circus-like atmosphere. He signs more autographs than he hits punching bags. Meanwhile, the challenger is in a meat locker, punching sides of beef and knocking around dock workers and docks.
When the fight time comes, one wonders whether Rocky can reach down and pull out one final victory, even though he is no longer at his peak. The challenger destroys Rocky in just three rounds.
Humiliated and dejected, Rocky tries to figure out what went wrong. Apollo Creed, his opponent in Rocky 1 and 2, gives him his assessment. He says these inspirational words:
“Eye of the tiger, Rock. Eye of the tiger. You used to have the eye of the tiger. You used to be hungry to win. You used to have the want-to. You used to be willing to pay the price to train. You used to fight with abandonment. You used to. But winning led to fame, and fame led to affluence, and affluence led to indulgence, and self-indulgence led to weakness, and weakness led to defeat.”
Apollo Creed convinced Rocky to work out in a run-down sweatshop. Creed spent months helping Rocky recapture the eye of a tiger. And as you all can imagine, Rocky, fighting with the eye of a tiger, recaptured his world championship and yelled, “Yo Adrian!” one more time.
Moral of the story:
Beware the dangers of living a life of comfort and ease because winning leads to fame, and fame leads to affluence, and affluence leads to indulgence, and self-indulgence leads to weakness, and weakness leads to defeat.
Keep a watchful eye out to make sure it doesn’t lead to an embarrassing and costly defeat.
Do whatever is necessary to keep the eye of the tiger in the various pursuits that are important to you.
Do whatever it takes to keep your passion and to not let it grow cold.
What are you doing right now to keep your passion from not growing cold?
One principle that I have tried to live my life by (sometimes better than others) is: Do a few things well. I was first introduced to this principle in Bible school through a ministry called Sonlife (which is now called Youthfront).
Dan Spader (the founder of Sonlife) in his book “Growing a Healthy Church: The Sonlife Strategy” put it this way:
This so true!
Since then I have been exposed to this concept over and over again in many different ways (this has been a good thing for me as I have needed the constant reminder).
Recently, I was reminded of this principle once again through Craig Groeschel’s book “It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It.” Groeschel calls this principle: “divine focus.” I like that. He challenges his readers to think about this question:
“If you could only do one thing in ministry, what would you do?” (pg. 59)
That’s a good question for anyone in ministry to answer!
That’s a good question that all of us need to ask ourselves about our lives!
I know that I have been guilty at times of trying to do too many things (okay a lot of times).
All this does is lead to us to frustration and burn out. Groeschel offers a great solution. He calls it the “to-don’t list” (pg. 59). He says:
“Instead of thinking about what you want to add to your ministry to-do list, maybe you should pray about what to add to your ministry to-don’t list. Some call it planned abandonment. You are planning what things you won’t do, to do best what God called you to do” (pg. 60).
This is something that I have been working hard at lately. Saying “no” is very hard for me to do but I am learning that as I do it is helping me become more effective. It also allows other people to use their gifts and abilities too!
We live in a selfish world where many people are only interested in themselves. Selfish people only consider their interests, their rights and their plans. Selfish people are not interested in serving others.
We need more people in our world who have the attitude of service!
We need more people in our world who are willing to put aside their own interests to consider the interests of others!
This isn’t always easy but there is joy in serving others!
4 practical ways to demonstrate the attitude of service
1. Show respect and courtesy.
It seems like such a small thing, and in our busy lives we often forget that a kind word, a helping hand, or just a smile and “Thank you” can create a bright spot in another person’s life.
2. Listen more than you speak.
The truth is that many people are longing to find someone who will listen to them. David Augsburger said: “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”
3. Give genuine praise.
Recognizing the contributions of others is a mighty act of service. This is an investment in others that doesn’t cost you a thing, and the returns can be amazing.
4. Keep your promises.
You can create an atmosphere of service simply by doing the things that you say you will do. Dependability and punctuality are the hallmarks of the service-oriented individual.
Which of these do you find the hardest to do? Which of these do you find the easiest to do?