Way Too Busy
John Eldredge once said, “the Spirit of this age is drivenness.” Obviously, he made the word “drivenness” up to speak to what he perceives is our country’s greatest challenge. Whether we stay at home and parent or spend our time hustling as a sales professional it seems we share in this same struggle.
We are too damn busy!
If you don’t believe me try thinking back to the last few casual conversations you had…“Hi Jack, how are you doing?” Jack responds – with the all too familiar phrase, “I’m good – just really busy.” In the United States busyness is a badge of honor. One that most achievers wear and advertise proudly. “I’m busy” has become one of America’s favorite past times.
What John is attempting to say is that many well-intentioned, hard-working people are struggling in every area of life because of the pace at which we are all living. We seem to be running with little reflection time. This causes a major decrease in our ability to think.
Have you ever found yourself in a season of busyness? Be honest didn’t it make you feel important? I know as a CEO and Executive Coach being busy means I’m being successful. I can’t believe I admitted that.
When is the last time you scheduled an hour for yourself, to think? How about 30 minutes – to reflect? What about 10 minutes just to remember?
At some level, we all are guilty of giving in to this spirit of drivenness. This brings us to today’s challenge – How can leaders grow if we don’t allow ourselves the time to think?
If you can’t answer that don’t worry – all the useless running can stop today.
I want to do my part in helping you put an end to this “spirit of the age” by offering four key leadership habits that promote thinking and lead to personal growth. Trust me – adding this to your already busy schedule will definitely make you more effective in the business of life.
4 Habits That Promote Thinking
- Stop. That’s right – leaders need to recognize this cycle of busyness and learn to say no. No, isn’t a bad thing it’s a healthy choice. When we say no it doesn’t mean we don’t value what others value. It simply means we are incapable of consistent emotional health when our pace out runs our thinking. Giving yourself permission to say no allows the necessary time to expand thinking and makes room for personal growth and development.
“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.” – Thomas Paine
- Listen. Learning how to listen is the number one leadership secret of great leaders. However, learning how to listen requires that you slow down talking enough to hear with understanding. Real listening is hard because it requires that you clue into the moment. When we live in the present moment – we gain the necessary information to make powerful decisions. We enable ourselves to achieve enlightened thinking. When you listen deeply, people will love to be around you. Why? I really believe that most desire to be heard more than talk.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
- Reflect. Learning how to say no and listening better only works if you add reflection to your list. Within any organization, I highly recommend allowing intentional space to reflect on what was said, and what was learned each day. Give yourself time to take advantage of the, “thorns and roses” reflection period. Think about what went really well and why, and then ask what didn’t go so well and why? Often times, this is all it takes to keep the positive momentum flowing.
“At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you.” – Jim Rohn
- Guide. Remember the adage, “do as I say, not as I do?” (It doesn’t work…never has.) In order to break the cycle of drivenness, it must become a daily habit. The best way to accomplish this is to teach someone else how to do it. We can’t expect anyone to act differently than we are leading. Often times, the coaching process, is our best teacher in life. It purifies our motives and proves our intentionality on the things that really matter. Guiding someone else through the process is a necessary step in forming a healthy habit and making sure we are leading by example.
“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.” – Bruce Lee
If John Eldredge is correct and the new challenge we are collectively fighting is our schedules, we must take a stand. It’s great to be busy when we need to be busy. Business alone is not bad, however, if our internal heart motivations are to look good or feel important – than we are off-course. Expanding our thinking and ability to learn will increase our leadership yield in life. Stop, Listen, Reflect, and Guide are 4 key ways in which we can all achieve better results.
Your turn to chime in – How busy are you today? (If you have time, please leave a comment in the notes!)