How will you become a healthier influencer? One way I respond is to attend the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), annually sponsored by the Willow Creek Association. One of the sessions offered in 2016 was entitled “Leadership Illusions,” co-led by Bill Hybels, Dr. Henry Cloud, and Shauna Niequist (Bill’s daughter). I’ll comment later on Shauna’s presentation, but examine some of what Bill and Henry had to say.
Bill Hybels said the first illusion is you can carry ever increasing amounts of speed in your life and simultaneously keep your soul care line heading in the same direction without drop-off.
At some place along this increasing line of speed, we start losing touch with our soul. The connection with God becomes me asking God to keep my speed up. “God, keep up with me today” is our default prayer. Coupled with that is a tendency in leaders to wait to stop this cycle of activity with self-reflection. We know it’s time to get before God and ask “How am I doing? What’s happening to my heart? What’s happening to my relationships?” But we are afraid.
We recognize that if we don’t punctuate our activity with time for self-reflection, we will ultimately pay a price, and, everyone else around me will pay too. My experience is that when leaders start the process of slowing down, it’s awkward. If you don’t get into some system of rest and recreating, you’ll wind up in the looney bin.
Spend two minutes reflecting on this. What do you need to do or not do? It must include flattening out the speed for a while, with new practices and boundaries. Speed kills for a reason.
Dr. Henry Cloud, recently wrote “The Power of the Other.” He says that part of what it takes to be healthy is the power of the other. He reminded us that we’ve all heard great stuff about vision, strategy, and execution. The second illusion is that we go and do that, but we tend to ignore the need for mutually supportive relationships. i.e., who are you connected to?
Grab a 3×5 index card or a napkin. Henry said there are only four possibilities on the map of connectedness. The upper left corner (#1) is no connection. God put a chip in every human being searching for connection. When you connect, it increases your capacity. Leadership and life can force you into isolation. In corner 1, I’m alone. The upper right corner (#2) is bad connection. The worst place is to be in relationship with someone but not connected. In this corner, it leaves us feel like I’m bad, inferior, and a loser. The lower right corner (#3) is fake good connection. It’s pseudo connection. It relieves the pain. It might be a substance. It might be an addiction. It might be an illicit relationship. It might be driving your team to greater and greater numbers. But it’s like eating sugar. You eat sugar but you need more. I heard a Christian speaker saying she was having an affair with two men: Ben and Jerry. The left lower corner (#4) is real connection. You have someone in a mutually supportive relationship, i.e., who can meet my needs in real way. You have to come home to corner 4. God says to come home to corner 4. We just need to admit our need. By the way, that’s where God lives.
Spend two minutes reflecting on which corner do you find yourself in most often? Why? What inhibits or prohibits you from going to corner 4 where you would be connected to Christ, and by being better connected to family, friends, and co-workers? Walk wisely. Be healthy by caring for yourself first, so you will run your race (life) better able to serve others along the way.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz