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21 Things You’ll Never Regret as a Leader

9. Helping someone who can’t help you back

Leadership ushers in responsibilities, but it also brings some perks.

At some point you might command a slightly higher salary than others, have access to expense account others don’t, or even have more control over your time.

Don’t use the perks of leadership solely for your benefit. Help someone who can’t help you back.

Buy them something. Be generous with your time. Open your home. Give them access to something or someone they couldn’t gain access to without you.

Can they pay you back? No, they can’t.

And that’s the point.

10. Finding a few great mentors

Leadership can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be.

Finding mentors is something you’ll never regret doing.

I look for leaders who are a stage ahead in life who are the kind of people I want to be.

11. Developing some replenishing relationships

Ministry can be draining. So can leadership.

You give all day and often go home exhausted.

Often, people will seek you out in your off time asking for ‘just a little more.’

My wife and I realized years ago that we need to have some friends who truly replenish us … the kind of relationships where time passes quickly and you leave feeling better than when you came.

12. Deciding ahead of time what your priorities will be

I am amazed at how often I have to re-establish priorities in leadership.

Deciding ahead of time what you will do and not do, when you will be off and when you will work, whom you will meet with and whom you won’t, will help you keep first things first.

If you don’t do this, you will never have enough time and will always be disappointed with the results you’re getting.

13. Adopting a fixed schedule

One of the best leadership moves I made was moving to a fixed schedule.

What I mean by that is I follow the same rhythm to my work every week with very few exceptions. I pre-determine writing time, meeting days and more.

Although the post is a few years old and some details have changed, I outline how to move to a fixed schedule here if you want more information.

14. Discovering what fuels and drains you

Ever wonder why some days you go home feeling excited and other days you go home exhausted—and yet you worked the same number of hours?

Some activities drain you and others fuel you.

Figuring out which does what can change the effectiveness of your leadership so much.

Great leaders will spend more and more time on the things that energize them and less on the things that drain them. It’s that simple.

15. Investing in your personal leadership development

You can think of conferences, coaching, books, courses and development programs as expenses, or as investments.

If you think of them as investments, you will become a far better leader.

The best leaders never hesitate to invest in their personal development.

Becoming better is never a waste of money.

16. Taking meaningful vacations

Even when my wife and I were starting out and we had no money, we found money to take even a simple annual vacation.

It’s one of the best investments we’ve made over the years.

I say meaningful vacations because you’ll be tempted to cheat.

You’ll be tempted to say “three days is enough.” No it’s not.

You’ll be tempted to say, “We can just stay home and relax.” And maybe you can. But I just want to catch up on household projects when I do.

Taking a meaningful vacation doesn’t mean you have to drop thousands on Europe, but it does mean you need to rest and recharge. I wrote about my new rules for vacation in this post if you want more.

17. Developing a hobby you love

I could almost be a ‘work is my hobby’ guy. Maybe you could be too.

I love what I do and even writing this blog and doing my leadership podcast are “hobbies.” Work just doesn’t feel like work to me most days.

But I also realize I need interests outside of ministry and leadership. At least if I’m going to stay healthy and balanced.

It took me a bunch of false starts, but I’ve eventually settled on cycling and BBQing as hobbies (I’m a Big Green Egg enthusiast).

Despite what you think, you need a hobby.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.