Archives For perspective

Rhythms of Self-Care

Gary Mayes —  May 6, 2017 — 2 Comments

Do your rhythms of self-care position you to thrive? Are they enough to sustain you for the long haul? When your role changes, your responsibilities grow, and the demands on you increase, you need to adjust your rhythms of self-care if you are going to thrive.

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Leadership demands perspective.

That ability to see above the fray in order to navigate the present in light of the future. Perspective differentiates leaders from followers and leaders from better leaders. But, here’s the deal. You have to fight for perspective. It doesn’t present itself gift-wrapped. It’s fragile. Elusive. In fact, the relentless gravity of the urgent and the immediate cannibalizes perspective.

For twenty years, I have been training leaders on ways to find, sustain, and lead with perspective. Lately, I have been thinking more about what it takes to win that fight.

By lately, I specifically mean the past two months–the beginning of a long-awaited sabbatical. One of my early “projects” has been to reflect on the things that tend to eat my leadership lunch. Among my observations, a big one is that I have taken my ability to maintain perspective for granted. I allowed the demands of a growing organization to seduce me into thinking that perspective from the past will carry me into the future. New habits overtook former ones and as a result, these past couple years I have been repeatedly sucked into the swamp of operational weeds where perspective is almost impossible.

One of my sabbatical goals is to reinstate and refine the game-changing disciplines that help me live and lead at a higher altitude (my favorite analogy for perspective.)

These disciplines are not rocket science, in fact, it might be best to call them simple practices. The key is in the practice of them, not talking about them. They are much too obvious for extended rhetoric.

You might need things I don’t, but for the sake of a concrete starting point, here is what I have found I need and what seems to be a good framework for most leaders.

1. READ: Read constantly in the area of your normal disciplines AND read broadly on subjects outside of your normal orbit. To say it another way, read things that have no urgent need or useful value. (Consider: Warren Buffet and other uber-successful people talk about spending 80% of their time reading and thinking. For more: click this link.)

2. REFLECT: Use some kind of journal to record what you did and what you learned in the midst of it. Most significant learning happens while we do stuff. Severe your technological tentacles for a while to think, dream, and process what lies behind and ahead of you. (Example: I not only journal regularly, but every week I review the week that just transpired and use what I see to inform the way I will approach the upcoming week or two. I do the same in a more robust way when I do monthly goal setting and calendar work.)

3. RE-CREATE: All of us have things that are life-giving in a re-creative way. For me, it’s a simple two-pronged focus for me: I have to give attention to my soul and to my body. That means time in prayer /communion with God and time in some sweat-producing exercise. (In addition to these core two, I also need time with highly stimulating people and time spent in artistic endeavors.) The thing is, most re-creative endeavors have a non-productive feel to them. Don’t be fooled.

As for me, I know that I need to spend some time in all three areas every day and a lot of time in them every week.

What have you found works for you? Add to the conversation by adding your comments below.

For more thought about sabbaticals, click here.

 

Leaders get things done. They don’t merely mobilize others to accomplish great things, they know how to work hard and are willing to keep their head down to do whatever it takes. The only problem is that if you keep your nose to the grindstone too long, you get blood in your eyes. The ability to lead with sustained creativity and clarity requires time and space for reflection.

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At 7:14 this morning, a phone call told me that a very good friend was shot and killed last night. Emotionally I’ve spent the day vacillating between shock, sorrow, anger, and indignation. There are many things I could tell you about my friend, but since you don’t know him I need to write about the personal reflections I cannot escape.

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I want to talk about having goals and plans. I think they really matter. I am not compulsive about them and don’t let them rule my life, but for me they are essential to living an intentional life. However, there are some complicating factors. How do you balance having goals with being sensitive to the ongoing leading and direction of the Spirit?

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A Leader’s Prayer

Gary Mayes —  August 16, 2010 — Leave a comment

I have often quoted the axiom, “a difference between a leader and a follower is PERSPECTIVE. And, a difference between good leaders and better leaders is better perspective.” But, perspective is more than a strategic issue. The greatest perspective is actually spiritual, and as such, it calls for the work of the Spirit.

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Our Little Black Book

Gary Mayes —  January 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

Drift happens. It happens in all areas of life and it happens in marriage. Last week we celebrated our 32nd anniversary with one of the most important annual traditions in our lives. So, before you get lost on how people as young, hip, and fun as we are could be married that long, check out my blog on the tradition of our little black book at aboutLEADING.com.

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I had a breakthrough I hadn’t sought. I recognized the linkage between annual, monthly, and weekly rhythms that are key to maintaining perspective and focus as a leader. Being a “P” and not a “J,” I think I’ll call it “the Pirates’ Code for Greater Leadership Focus.” If I wanted more grandiose phrasing, I might call it, “Keys to Strategic Life Management for a Leader.”

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Calling & Courage

Gary Mayes —  May 24, 2009 — 1 Comment

How big is the wake behind your “boat?” Do you cut through the waters of life without leaving a mark, or do the waves of your wake reverberate in people long after you are gone? The 5 “C’s” of Leadership Capacity are qualities that translate into the breadth and depth of a leader’s influence: aka. the wake behind “your boat.”

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Character-deep leaders understand the relationship between character and competency. While character may be the key to influence, they have also learned to rely on their competencies much like a master-mechanic relies on tools.

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