How are your gauges? I check the ones on my car frequently. The readings on the gauges provide a snapshot of reality. They rarely lie. We ignore them at our peril. I am glad my gas gauge has a yellow light that tells me I have about a gallon or 2 left before I wind up hitchhiking on some dark road in the middle of nowhere.
How about your Leadership Gauges? There are 3 to pay attention to. Where would you mark each gauge in relation to your life?
1) Spiritual Gauge: Empty…..Half ……Full?
This gauge moves toward empty every time you invest spiritual energy in others. Helping people connect with God, providing soul care and engaging in great moral or ethical battles can sap your tank. Though especially true of pastors and non-profit leaders, this can affect every leader.
The spiritual life must be replenished. Times for prayer, meditation, solitude, reading and silence are usually sufficient to refuel the tank. Pay attention to the soul and to the heart. Life flows from those places and, like a garden, they must be tended to and weeded regularly.
2) Emotional Gauge: Empty….Half….Full?
Are you experiencing unresolved conflict with co-workers, family or friends? Are you continually sad and depressed, filled with fear, easily aggravated or overly defensive? Then your emotional gauge is likely near empty.
Getting relationships back on track, addressing conflict head on, and forgiving people who have offended you will help move the needle back toward Full. It is important to process these emotions with a trusted friend or safe small group who know you and want to see you find healing. Consult a professional counselor if needed, especially if there have been serious losses in life; a death, job loss, a broken dream, or a relational breakdown.
3) Physical Gauge: Empty….Half….Full?
Lack of sleep, poor diet, too much caffeine or sugar, illness, and too little exercise or fresh air will drain this tank quickly. Some of these we cannot avoid, but we must address. Allow time for healing during an illness. Too many of us get heroic and come back to work before we should, infecting others and slowing our healing. The result is poor performance and fractured relationships.
So pay attention to your gauges, and make two decisions. First, build some margin into the calendar. Put “ME” on the schedule just like any serious appointment and stick to it. Set vacation time NOW. And second, set clear boundaries. Say NO and mean it. You do not have to do it all, and your kids do not have to sign up for everything. FOCUS is your friend!
Lead at full capacity, and your leadership will flourish.