Well, summer's pretty much done in my world now. Everyone- including me- is headed back to school soon. So I guess it's time to blow off the dust from the keyboard and spread some blog love.
As a starter, I think I'll blog the stuff that I was reminded of while watching a simulcast of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit last week. Our church hosts it annually and I think it was at least the 10th time I've watched the summit in this way. I set aside some time to process my learnings afterwards and as I did, I also tried to see where my current thoughts intersected with some past notes I had taken.
Bill Hybels, the founder of this summit and the lead pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in the suburbs of Chicago was, like normal, the first to speak. He broke his talk basically into 3 mini-talks of sorts, each with it's own introduction and conclusions. But the first reminder/learning that stood out to me as I reviewed was his last section were he made this statement:
"Time is not the leaders most valuable resource, it's energy."
As a read previous notes, I was reminded that in 2005, a guy named Jack Groppel spoke at the Summit on the subject of life management and he said something very similar. He agreed that as leaders, we are pressured to consider the cost of our time and that we work hard at managing it. But instead of tracking our time, he too said we should actually be tracking our energy investments and expenses. Groppel said that,
"Energy is finite. Humans run out of energy. Therefore great leadership is mobilizing, focusing, and renewing energy."
For Hybels, he suggested that this could be done by narrowing and focusing the field of what we are trying to do in the first place. He challenged leaders to look to the next 6 weeks of their life and come up with their top 6 initiatives that they needed to do that were "above and beyond" their normal job descriptions. He argued that this would help leaders to propel what they lead and manage where their energy is spent at the same time. He even said that the clarity this would bring, would generate energy, where a myriad of conflicting tasks otherwise might just drain.
As I thought about this, I became both exited to be focused and also pretty overwhelmed with the thought of 6 more things. Especially above and beyond things and especially if I compartmentalized my life and only did them at work, ignoring some of the implications that my home, family, and personal life have on the big picture as well.
But as I read the notes I took on Groppel back in 2005, I noticed that he also said that the number one area church leaders sacrifice is "self care" and that you can't give what you don't have. I let that check sink into my soul and made a list of 5 things I want/need to do personally in the coming weeks that affect the bigger picture of my life and ministry. Here they are:
- BODY/SOUL: Take care of me by getting back into a regular routines. I need to revaluate my reading, writing, sleeping, exercise, and eating habits to insure I'm managing my energy flow (both in and out) wisely.
- KIDS: Restart my one-on-ones with my kids now that school is starting again.
- WRITING: Finish my second book, "Criticism Bites: the fine art of listening to, responding, and even learning from your critics."
- UT OH: Solve the immediate problems caused by a dishwasher that leaked for months without us knowing it (which we discovered yesterday) and basically totaled the kitchen. Develop a short and long term remodel/budget plan to repair it.
- GET HELP: Find, empower, and utilize the help of both paid professionals and volunteers to join me in these things, personally expending energy only on what God has specifically asked or gifted me to do- and delegating the rest to others who can and yearn to help.
There you go. That's my list. Maybe you'd benefit from the same exercise, considering where you both spend and replenish your own energy. If so, go ahead, grab some paper and give it a go.