It is critical for leaders to have a rhythm of rest.
I can remember when this blog was just an idea inside of James’ heart and mind. Now it is something that I look forward to reading every Monday morning because it helps me to get my week started off with a leadership principle to help me lead at a higher level. Today, I get the opportunity to be a guest blogger and invest in your leadership. Let’s dive in…
I’m going to take this opportunity to write about something that I am realizing the value of more and more as I get older. I was terrible at this and am making some strides to be better. I’d like to take a couple of minutes to talk about REST. Yeah, I know. Not the sexiest topic in the world but one that is vitally important for longevity.
In fact, I was hesitant to write about this topic for two reasons: 1) I don’t feel I’m that great at it 2) I was fearful that it might be misunderstood as someone who is looking for ways to avoid working hard. To be honest, I would avoid conversations about rest because I did not want to appear lazy. But I realized that the pendulum had swung too far the other way.
If you are reading this blog, you are most likely a driven leader who cares about growing your leadership. Otherwise, why would you be reading a leadership blog? I’ve found that people in this category struggle immensely with taking time to rest their minds and bodies.
I used to buy into mentalities and phrases like “Team no sleep” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. I would use those phrases to propel me to work longer hours and justify my need to work around the clock. I would rarely take days off and when I did take a vacation, I would spend time cramming in some work time around the fun with my family. Now, I realize those phrases are careless and that God never designed us to grind like that.
I’m still a work in progress but I am trying to improve because I know that proper rest can recharge you and help you to be even more effective. As I’ve gotten older and tried to learn from others, I’ve had to learn how to rest. As a leader, I want to encourage you to pause and take some time to take care of yourself. Here are four tools that I have added to the toolbox over the years to keep me rested and refreshed.
Take a Vacation
I know this sounds elementary, but it is important. My family had the opportunity to spend last week at a resort in Orlando and spend a couple of days at Disney. While this does not seem restful in the physical sense, we were intentional about making sure the other days were low key and relaxing. They included a whole lot of time in the lazy river and sitting in a chair (shaded of course) by the pool. It was helpful to have some time away from the everyday grind. I love what I do but the week away from it has helped me to come back to it with fresh perspective. Spending additional time with the people I love the most was just what I needed!
One of the most refreshing ways to refresh yourself and rest is to serve someone. Proverbs 11:25 states “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” I’ve found that something happens inside you when you focus on blessing another person or organization. For me, I spend a lot of time at North Cobb High School serving on the character development team with the football program. This investment allows me to spend time with the players and coaches to help add value to our community. I am also able to use the leadership gifts that I have been given to refresh others, which also refreshes me.
Find a Hobby
In the past, I pushed back against this idea because I did not see how I could possibly add something else to my already busy schedule. Last year, I was invited to be one of four hosts on a podcast called The Power 5 Podcast. It is a comedy podcast where we rank topics related to sports, food, music, and really any random thing you can imagine. This has been a fun hobby and a way to disconnect from everyday life. Recording, promoting, and thinking of fresh podcast ideas with the three other hosts keeps me connected with something fun outside of my job.
Take a Random Day Off
Every year, I have vacation days that I lose because I do not take them. A few weeks ago, I had the thought that I should take a day off. I was self-aware that I needed the short break during a busy season. Immediately, I found myself trying to justify taking the day off because I felt like I needed a reason. That is faulty thinking! Sometimes you should take a day off just to rest. No reason is necessary!
I know it’s summertime but here’s a little homework for you. I would encourage you to take some time today to reflect on these questions…
1. On a scale of 1-10, how well do I rest?
2. What can I do today to insert some weekly rest into my schedule?
3. What can I do long term to create a rhythm of rest?
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you might have about this topic. I would love to learn from you. My email is [email protected]. I’m always available to help unless I’m resting!