How to Lead on Empty
Our house runs on oil for heat. Not the greatest or most efficient but that's how we heat our home. Recently, I was in our basement and looked at our oil tank and it was right on the edge of "E". I had to call my friend to get a delivery ASAP. Why? Because without the oil, my house wouldn't have had heat. I didn't wait. I got my delivery the next morning.
When we run on empty, we risk the reality of stopping all together.
Too many leaders wait way too long to refuel. It can be devastating and have huge, long lasting effects. Here are some side effects of running on "E" and how to fix them:
Recognize you can't lead on empty for long. In fact, it's impossible. Those who lead on empty long term damage themselves and those they lead.
Find your gas station. What helps you to reboot or recharge? Go there. When your energy is getting low or your are exhausted, get some gas in your leadership tank.
Don't wait until you are on "E" to refuel. I know a lot of leaders who give, give and give, and are always exhausted and miserable. That's because they are running on "E". Refuel before you hit empty.
No one leads on full all of the time. There is one misconception that the greatest of leaders are always on FULL. Not true. Even the greatest of leaders, Jesus had to "get away from the crowds", "find a solitary place" and recharge. If Jesus needed it, we probably need it even more.
Know yourself. Only you know when youa re reaching your limits. Don't push yourself so hard and so fast that you don't see the cliff you are about to fall off. Know when and how you need to take a breather.
Never apologize for a brief pause or a rest stop. I don't apologize for not returning calls, texts or emails immediately. As a leader, my day is non-stop- so when I take a break, when I take time to breath, I need it. I won't apologize for looking out for my personal, family, relational, spiritual and emotional health. I can't.
A friend of mine recently resigned from his church. A great church. He simply said, "I am burnt out." He ran on empty way too long. If you run on empty, you will surely burn out and miss the full destiny God has prepared for you.
So how do you lead on empty? The answer is, YOU CANNOT. Lead with plenty of fuel in your tank and you will lead well and long!