Almost every leader I know is busy. A little too busy.
Busy has a price, and often that price leads to a leader’s world spinning out of control. It’s not just a price you pay. It’s a price everybody pays: your family, your team, your church.
A fine line separates ‘busy’ and ‘out of control.’ The challenge, of course, is knowing when you’re near it.
I’ve been close to that line and I’ve crossed it a few times. Thankfully, I’m not in that season now and have learned how to better avoid it.
The stakes are actually quite high.
If your world spins out of control for too long, you end up in burnout, like I did a decade ago. And as I outlined here, the road back from burnout is a long one that not everyone makes (by the grace of God, I did).
How do you know that your world is actually spinning out of control?
Here are 5 signs I’ve learned to recognize in myself and in others.
1. You’re too afraid to slow down
When your world spins out of control, you convince yourself you can’t take any time off. The default solution in your mind is this: work more.
Yet that’s a futile line of thinking. There are actually just a fixed number of hours in the day. You can’t create more.
And the more you work, the less effective you become.
It’s critical that you get under what’s driving your irrational reluctance to slow down. Chances are that when you look, you’ll find fear.
Fear usually drives the belief you can’t slow down. And that’s always a bad sign for leaders. Anytime fear is in the driver’s seat, God isn’t.
Fear says “It all depends on me.” God says, “No, it doesn’t.”
Fear says “If it’s going to get done, I have to do it myself.” God says, “So, you’re just going to ignore the 7 billion other people I created?”
Fear says “If I don’t keep pushing, it’s all going to fall apart.” God says, “What happened to rest?”
Naturally, there’s a tension. Leadership requires effort, heart, skill and perseverance. And there are seasons where you will simply need to burn the midnight oil and push through.