I recently read Leading on Empty
by Wayne Cordeiro. Book #3 in my leadership focus year.
Before I get started, I've just got to say how much I love and appreciate Cordeiro's heart for the Word of God. I stand up and cheery every time I hear him give the plain, simple exhortation to people-- especially to pastors-- to commit to reading the Scriptures.
This is a book leaders probably pick up when they are feeling empty, but in reality, they should pick it up well before they get to that point. In fact, most of us are so addicted to different dimensions of our jobs (speed, power, complexity) that we are probably leading on empty before we actually realize it. I'm glad I've read this book in a more "full" season of life and leadership because it's going to allow me to make some important pre-decisions to help me avoid or course-correct the pitfalls of leading on empty.
Here were some specific questions I need to ask myself continually:
- What are the top 5% things that only I can do? What can I delegate?
- What fills my emotional/spiritual/relational/physical tank? What fills the tank of my husband?
- What drains my tank? What drains the tank of my husband?
I really appreciated Cordeiro's distinction between solitude and isolation. I think I tend to confuse the two, and I suspect other leaders do as well. I need to seek solitude out of humility-- recognizing that my leadership must flow from my personal walk with God. I need to avoid isolation out of humility-- realizing that my leadership must flow out of an environment of relationship that keeps me grounded and accountable.
I love this quote from the book: "Faith is living in advance what we will only understand in reverse."
I've already recommended this book to a friend in leadership who has tendencies towards depression, but I feel it's worth recommending to anyone in a position of leadership. We need to know the early warning signs before we shipwreck. We need to make pre-decisions that insulate us from our own pride and stupidity. And we need to learn how to rest well.