Happy New Year! I really unplugged this year and had a refreshing time with family and friends (except for the stomach bug I caught from my five-year-old grandson!).
I hope you did too and you are excited and eager to jump into the new year. I have several posts I will share with you this month to help your new year get off to a great start. I look forward to several new things we have planned as we journey together in 2017.
But I want to start with what I believe to be the most important goal you can have for this year that will set you apart and make all the difference in your leadership. I have personally been doing this for several years and it has made a significant difference in my own life and leadership.
As leaders of faith, this isn’t new news for us. The difference will be in taking action to make it a regular and normal part of your life. It started for me several years ago when I was given a new leadership role that was bigger than me (aren’t most?). The leadership challenge was great and I was desperate for wisdom and direction. Where is the best place to get wisdom and direction? Time in prayer and in God’s Word.Where is the best place to get wisdom and direction? Time in prayer and in God's Word. Click To Tweet
I started the habit of getting up around 4:00-4:30 each morning to make the time, to let it become “normal” for me. It was rough at first but like any habit, it soon became essential and natural. I don’t do this 100% of the time, and sometimes I can be distracted by emails or the day’s to do list, but most of the time I find that quiet place to seek wisdom and direction from the greatest source of all.
I have been scanning several posts and articles on approaches to the new year. If you do the same, you will find posts that speak about meditation in the same way. But this is more than meditation. This is getting leadership and life perspective from the author of life itself.
Here are 5 key benefits from making this goal a reality for you:
- You are your best in the mornings.
Your mind, your energy, your focus is all sharper in the mornings (for the majority of us). Don’t waste your best on the least important things like email or even the news.
- You need perspective.
It is so easy for us to make life about us, to see problems as bigger than they really are, and to make small issues big all-consuming challenges. This time with God will always give you perspective. It will remind you of who you are in relationship to him, eternity, and the future. It will even help you with your own insecurities, weaknesses, and addiction to self. It will help your type A driven need to produce results. I can say all this because this is me and my early morning time has helped me with all this.
- You need room to think.
I think one of our greatest dangers as leaders is we stop thinking. It is so easy to get in the drive to execute, to produce, to make things happen, we forget the bigger picture of our purpose, the reason we are leading, and how to define success. We stop looking externally and become so insulated in our own systems that we easily lose perspective. I looked up several definitions of “think”. Here are a few: reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions; thinking carefully before you begin; using one’s mind actively to form connected dots.
Spending time with God in prayer and in the Bible will help you think. God connects the dots. He is above and beyond time and can help us see what we can’t see on our own.
- You need the focus on people first.
It is so easy to forget we are in the people business. People is what we do. It isn’t building great plans, growing market share, or executing brilliant strategy. It isn’t about the numbers we look at every day. It isn’t even about growth. Don’t hear me saying that these aren’t necessary disciplines but they aren’t the reason we do what we do. One of the most important lessons I have learned in my early mornings with God is to see people more like God sees them. In our short time on earth, in our even shorter time in our leadership roles, we need to remember it will be our investment in people (especially our families) that will make the most significant difference in generations to come.
- You need help coping with disappointment.
It is so easy to get discouraged when you lead. People will disappoint you. The forces of change will cause some of your great work to fail. You won’t get it right all the time. We are always one step away from becoming leaders that only see the problems and reacting with a negative view. This early time with God will help you deal with disappointment and move on. It will help you turn problems into opportunities and negatives into positives. Our faith gives us hope for the future always. It also gives us grace for ourselves and others.
Make the goals of spending regular time with God a discipline in your life. Just do it. It will make all the difference in 2017.Make spending regular time with God a discipline in your life. It will make all the difference in 2017. Click To Tweet
Blessings and Happy New Year!