A huge question was asked this past weekend at a dinner party. One of my good friends is exhausted from wrestling with multiple, lingering health issues in his family. Another friend asked him how he copes with the stress and frustration. He said that some of what he did was fun in the moment, but really wasn’t life giving. He specifically said was that what he was doing was merely numbing him from the difficulty of his life.
This all reminded me of another good friend, who just two days before this dinner, co-taught a workshop with me. He warned those leaders of the danger of the quick fix: the easy solution that didn’t actually solve the problem, but shifted the burden of the problem to someone else—creating another problem in the process.
Back at the dinner party, another friend asked the question: “So, instead of that numbing stuff, what could you do that would be life giving to you?”
Everyone at the table went silent for a moment. It was a big question and it invited a response from all of us. And we didn’t all have easy answers.
This might sound overly simplistic, but my goal is to figure out how to do more of what is life giving and do less of the other things. What’s hard knowing what is truly life giving—and what is merely numbing.
What are those people, places, and/or activities that fill your soul with deep gladness and sweet satisfaction? Don’t settle for merely fun. And don’t give the generic answers, like family or vacation. The more specific the better. My friend, in our discussion, realized that it wasn’t just time with friends that was his most life giving. He loved introducing great friends to each other—that group dinners with friends were even better. What is life giving can be very different from person to person, when you get specific enough.
Leaders, how full are the hearts of your people? Is their day-to-day work on their list of what’s life giving to them? If not, you’re probably not going to get remarkable results. And beware of trying to give life to your people through the methods that fill you. One of the keys to great leadership is learning the unique wiring of each of your people. We lead individuals, each wildly different, none of them “normal”.
Whatever it is, how could you do more life giving things in the next month? Next week?
And maybe the biggest question of all: What “numbing” activities are keeping you from doing more of the really life giving stuff? Tweet This How could you do less of those?
I don’t expect that I can solve this in a week or a month—or even a year. But year after year, I want to be able to say that I’m doing more life giving things and less of anything else.