If I urged you to live an “ordered” or “paced” life, would it make any sense to you? If I said I wanted you to get more rest, and I meant this both in the sense of physical rest and also in the sense that you be at rest about the most important factors in your life, would that have meaning for you?

I have recently been asked to advise some significant leaders about major crises in their lives. Though each of these situations are unrelated to each other, the crises are all from the same source. In each case, prominent leaders simply did not pay attention to the signs of burnout, bitterness, and breakage in their lives and leadership. The inevitable explosion followed.

It is as though a group of friends are driving across country. As they pass through Atlanta, one of them says, “Hey, do you hear that bumping sound in the engine?” The driver responds, “Yeah, that’s been there since Dallas, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.” And the car breaks down during Atlanta rush hour. Why? Because no one paid attention to an important sign.

This kind of neglect has led to the disasters I’ve mentioned. The CEO’s family is so worn out from the demands of his job that he’s had to resign at a terrible time for his company. The mega-church pastor suddenly quit, claiming exhaustion and moral failure, leaving thousands of her congregation members in hurt and disarray. The top-ranked entrepreneur has been fired by his own board. They claim he won’t listen to them and they’re tired of his free-spending, arrogant ways.

All of this was avoidable. All of it could have been prevented. Someone just needed to slow down and heed the signs.

I can help you with this if I get real practical. So, here goes.

  1. Science, religion, and history teach us that we are made to rest one day a week. One of every seven days should have no work in it. Screw with this truth at your peril.
  2. You should have a morning ritual. It should be one of “micro-distance.” In other words, in your ritual, step away from your busyness for a bit and gain perspective. Ponder, pray, read holy words and wisdom, scan, make lists. In short, gain altitude for your day. You can’t lead or live well if you’re fast-tracking from the moment you wake up.
  3. Schedule time to be at rest with the most important people in your life. God, spouses, children, business partners, closest friends, etc. By “at rest” I simply mean that affection is expressed, concerns are addressed, there is time for important “stuff” to come to the surface and, yes, fun is had. A Tip: Don’t mention to them that you are “scheduling time.” Just do it and make it feel natural.
  4. Take time for yourself. What is your best planned distraction? A daily run? The racquetball game? The long walk with the dog? The stogie on the porch? The card game? Shooting hoops with the son? What is your best reset device? Find it. Do it. Protect it.
  5. You need two romantic getaways a year with your spouse. I mean getaways for nothing but each other in every way. Enough said.
  6. Finally, when you hear the bump in the engine—in any important area of your life—stop and deal with it immediately. This is what leaders do. Explosions result if you don’t.

That’s it. Have a great weekend. And don’t worry. Notre Dame is going to recover.

Stephen


No candidate is perfect. Often, deciding who to vote for is a choice between “hold your nose” and “hold your nose tighter.” So how do we choose? We start by asking the right questions. Let me help you. Order or download a copy of my book, Ask the Question: Why We Must Demand Religious Clarity From Our Presidential Candidates. Be informed. Be wise. Be sure you’re registered to vote. Then be courageous, and vote.