Wouldn’t it be great if leaders could fill their tanks as easily as putting gas in their cars? Maybe some have mastered this skill. I would not be among them.
Undoubtedly, at least for some of us, life would be easier if we had a “leadership gas gauge” to visibly highlight when we were running low on fuel. Maybe even include a pleasant sounding bell to ding at us when our tank gets below a certain level. Because when you are in the midst of a dwindling fuel supply, you can be so busy doing what you’re doing that the fact you’re running on fumes can sort of sneak up on you . . . right up until you can’t go any more.
Of course there is no one-size-fits-all way to fill up your tank, but if you’ve made it to a position of leadership, you ought to have at least some idea of what renews your energy. Family . . . friends . . . nature . . . laughter . . . exercise . . . quiet reflection and prayer . . . a good book . . . the options are as endless as the personalities of those who lead. I’m pretty sure more meetings isn’t the antidote, but other than that, the sky’s the limit.
Well if the sky’s the limit, what’s the barrier? Passion . . . commitment . . . a sense of responsibility . . . perfectionism . . . optimism (as in, “I’m sure I can fit one more thing into my schedule”) . . . drive . . . competitiveness . . . not necessarily bad things, unless of course they bring you to a sputtering stop. How much better is it to recognize the shadow (draining) side of these positive leadership traits early on, and fill up along the way? Scheduling in a few laughter-filled lunches seems like a much better use of your time than spending several days sick and flat on your back. I know, I know, you don’t have time right now — which is, of course, when you most need to take the time.
Now before my friends call me out, I absolutely recognize that this is the pot calling the kettle black (hence my wish for a gas gauge!) The fact that I haven’t totally mastered the art of pacing doesn’t mean I don’t know I need to. It’s that one more thing I optimistically thought would fit on my list.
But for today, the list will wait. What I really need is a nice big cup of tea . . . fill’er up!