It’s important for leaders to believe that they have help. We’re constantly at war with something or someone, battling, even if with our own limitations. My Christian worldview gives me confidence that God is always fighting for me, that I am never alone, that I am part of God’s story, and there is a greater purpose to my life. I have friends with other worldviews who are strong leaders because they have confidence that there is a reason and a calling for their efforts to put a “dent in the universe.”
Leaders who don’t believe they have help, that life matters, who feel utterly alone and forsaken… well, they aren’t going to be leaders very long.
Let’s be clear: leadership can be a lonely business. There are times when you will need to stand apart from other people, stand alone in your conviction, or intentionally separate yourself from people. But the thought of being truly, desperately alone is unnecessary and unhelpful.
Leaders who are confident in higher help and purpose still need to be reminded periodically. Richard Halverson said “It is as important to be reminded as it is to be informed.” I recommend you include reminders of the FACT that you have help and the battle is worthwhile in your regular rhythms of work.
Here are some suggestions:
- Exploit the power of music! Add songs on your playlist that remind you of important truths and stir your soul to renewed confidence. One of my new favorites is “Open Up Our Eyes” by Elevation Worship.
- Set up a recurring task with a quote that inspires you. I have this Teddy Roosevelt quote set to come up Thursday afternoons (almost always a lower energy point in my week):
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
- Use pictures that inspire you – either around your workspace or on your computer desktop.
- Keep a file of positive notes you’ve received, recognition you’ve been given, major accomplishments. Pull it out and review it for 5 minutes if you’re feeling lonely, discouraged, or momentarily defeated. Remind yourself of the good things from the past to take courage for the future.
- Take a Sabbath break weekly. Take one day in seven away from your normal routines and let that be a regenerative day. Reconnect with God, reconnect with your purpose. The second, the hour, the day, the lunar month, and the year all have an astronomical basis. But the week rhythm comes to us by revelation (hint: it’s how we’re designed). Weekly rest has proven to be enormously important for great leadership.