The greatest asset that I have found in long-game leadership is divine direction from God. No leader knows all, so there is an imperative need for a greater source of knowledge, wisdom, courage, and compassion that we must tap into as leaders. Inasmuch, there is no greater liability to a leader than being unable to discern God’s guidance when it is needed.
Like many entrepreneurial leaders, I can be a bit of a loner at times. Although I love spending time with family and friends, solitude is what I need to recalibrate my energy and focus. Sometimes I get too involved in life and leadership and slip into the bad habit of neglecting what I need most to thrive. When I do, it always results in a season of feeling exhausted, doubtful, and if gone unchecked, critical and defeated. That may be a little too transparent for some of you, but I suspect that most of you can relate to my blaring honesty.
When you lead in any industry, it is imperative that you know how to keep your mind clear and your stamina strong. You can stay attuned to God by recognizing this obstacles to hearing His voice and confronting them head on.
In every leadership role I’ve had, the job is never done. There is always one more problem to solve or person to serve and multi-tasking seems to exacerbate the challenge of getting things done well. If you are feeling overwhelmed by too much to do all of the time, you have to stop the busyness train before the crash comes. Do what you must: say no, delegate, postpone, outsource, there are many options…you don’t have to do it all right now. Take at least 30 minutes each day to s-l-o-w down and meditate on God’s priorities for your day. Schedule it if you must - first thing in them morning, during lunch, or some other reasonable time, but commit to it. If clients are worth a scheduled appointment than certainly you and God are, right? You can overcome the busyness obstacle by prioritizing time to ask for guidance and listen for answers.
If you are leader, you cannot completely escape some amount of stress. With deadlines, courageous conversations, unexpected opportunities, and workload, you are going to experience short-term stress, and some of it can actually help you move forward faster. But stress becomes an obstacle when it overwhelms your mind and body to the point of taking you hostage and becoming a health risk. You can overcome the obstacle of chronic stress by adapting some daily practices of meditation, focused breathing, walking in fresh air, stretching exercises, and one of my favorites is listening to soothing music while I work.
Outside noise can deafen your inner voice. One way that many emerging and expert leaders invite noise is by asking for too many opinions. If you are making a decision about a step or season in your leadership, be careful to listen to yourself first and last and limit the opinions in between. Too many opinions can cloud your judgment. You can overcome the noise obstacle by using this rule: Ask God first, think for yourself next, then ask others only for confirmation of what God and you have decided.
Having experience leading in both ministry and marketplace organizations, I can confidently say that it is exceptionally difficult to lead people in any role without the supernatural strength that nurturing your faith relationship can provide. Use these potential obstacles busyness, stress, and noise to signal you to slow down, seek God, and settle into His peace.
Which of these obstacles is the greatest challenge for you, and how do you combat it?