As leaders, we are on a journey of growth. There are times when forward motion seems easy and effortless. We’re excited about our goals and motivated because they are easily within reach. But there are times when we stagnate. We’re neither excited nor motivated. In fact, our “leadership” seems to be more about procrastinating than accomplishing!
There are lots of reasons we could be in that “holding place”. Maybe we’ve set the wrong goal, maybe we’re overwhelmed by the task and facing burnout, or maybe it’s just that the task is a bit beyond our reach and so we stand still.
Where do you feel you are? Standing still or about to break? All of us have felt the frustration of getting nowhere and the stress of going everywhere. Fortunately, there is a third option – stretching.
This past week I was talking with a pastor who was having severe back pain. He could hardly walk. His doctor and therapist told him that he had to do stretches every morning and night. It turns out, he feels a lot better.
Doing nothing or doing too much would be incapacitating. Stretching was the answer. Stretching prevents injury while expanding our capacity.
In a recent blog, Seth Godin, wrote, “Stretching is growth. Extending our reach. Becoming more resilient, limber and powerful. Stretching hurts a bit, and maybe leaves us just a little bit sore.”
Here are a few areas we all could use some stretching.
- Stretch your friendships.
Relationships can grow stagnant. It is easy to get into a routine or neglect spending meaningful time with others. What would it take to dive deeper in your friendship? Here’s a challenge! Complete this sentence. “If I could have an honest conversation with ________, I would share ____________________ .” Would that be too much of a stretch? Maybe, but too often we resort to chit chat, just to keep things on an even keel. What would it be like to go to that person and have a deep conversation?
- Stretch your leadership.
Leaders stretch themselves by learning and then applying what they learn. They are not afraid of trying. Too many leaders (or would-be leaders) overanalyze. They wait. They meet. They think. But that isn’t leading. Solomon, one of the wisest people who ever lived, said, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” Ecclesiastes 11:4 (TLB). Stretch yourself and initiate what you’ve been putting off. Get started!
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid…” ~Jim Rohn
- Stretch your faith!
We all struggle to have more faith. Start with the faith you have and make one more step! Faith is realizing that we’re never great, only God is! I know that when I get to heaven and look back on my life I’ll be asking why I didn’t trust God more. Your next step of faith is this: Know what God is asking you to do today and then do it!
BEFORE YOU GO…
Seth Godin warned that if you’re afraid of breaking, the answer isn’t to stay still. No, if you’re afraid of breaking, the answer is to dedicate yourself to stretching. Stretch! Where do you need to stretch? I’d love to hear from you!
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Thanks so much. The analogy with physical stretching and its healthy aspects are well done. Thanks Superintendent. 🙂
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