My son transferred to a new college this fall and is starting a new chapter in his life. He’s experiencing that season when the possibilities are endless and the future seems so exciting. Ah, youth.
I recall those feelings when I first entered full-time ministry. Every challenge was a God-given mission to achieve; every Sunday was a new curtain call to present the gospel. Then the years unfold and life’s challenges became more serious. We take on greater responsibilities and learn to be realistic and practical. Or, as my wife calls me—predictable.
But have you noticed certain leaders are able to successfully perform their ministry roles while maintaining a youth-like energy. They laugh a lot, have an optimistic outlook, and have a sense of wonder and curiosity about our ever-changing culture. I’m thinking it must be genetic, but I’m also wondering if it has more to do with attitude. Isaiah tells us “those who trust in the Lord will find new strength, soar high on wings like eagles, and run and not grow weary.” I need some of that in my life right now!
Stan Lankowitz, a life coach and licensed professional counselor, offers these suggestions to put excitement back in leadership:
Spend time with energized people – You know who they are. Those energizer bunnies that just keep going, and going, and going. Surround yourself with the people who have the habits you’d like to develop. With practice they can become habits you’ll soon incorporate into your daily routine.
Schedule “play time” – All work, and no play… Be intentional about adding things to your calendar that help you relax, refresh, and refuel. Last weekend my wife and I attended an Open House even though we have no intentions of moving. We just wanted to see this dream house to, well, dream. It was a fun adventure and we got some decorating tips from the process.
Indulge yourself – Every Thursday afternoon our team has “Soda on the Sofa”. It’s a half hour of soda and snacks, just to indulge ourselves in food, fellowship, and fun. You may prefer chocolate, a pedicure, or a long massage. Just remember, no guilt allowed.
Break from routine– For many of us life and leadership become so routine we can do it on autopilot. An article in our town paper featured a woman who tried something “new” each week last year. It may have been a new food, book, or just driving a different route to work. New things add the spice of spontaneity, which conditions us for adventurous leadership.
Laugh more – Go to a comedy movie, watch “I Love Lucy” reruns, or just take time to read some of those funny emails your friend keeps forwarding.
Go exploring – Satisfy your curiosity by exploring something new. For me, this means trying to better understand, and use, social media. I’ve come a long way since I first heard the term “tweet”, but I’ve discovered it offers uncharted waters for me to discover.
Reconnect – Google or Facebook your old friends from high school and reconnect. It’s amazing how quickly we can pick up and build relationships we thought were lost over the years. Connect with other leaders in your area but don’t serve as a lone ranger. There’s no joy riding into the sunset, or doing ministry, by yourself.
Sound too simple? Lankowitz says, “Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Set a goal to enliven your life and then monitor your progress.” As you grow older and wiser, you can also renew yourself to grow stronger in your leadership style. Enjoy the journey.