After the push

I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. To be honest, I had a lot going on to prepare for activities around Easter and my writing had to take a back seat. My attention, energy, time, and intellect were used up as we prepared for this Easter. It was exciting and fun and draining.

Leaders all have “peak” periods where every moment is spent working hard on a task or event. Most leaders know when these periods are going to take place. We prepare, create the calendar, identify and obtain required resources, schedule personnel, and then execute the plan. And, because we go all out, we are exhausted when the task is done or the event is over.

Too often, we come to the end of the “push” and are left wondering and wandering. We know that routine requirements have been neglected and demand our attention but it is hard to refocus.

I believe that leaders must plan our “after event” period as carefully as we plan the “before event” actions. Before we jump into the “normal” routine, let’s make sure that we have taken care of some critical “after event” actions too.

  1. REMEMBER those who contributed. Make the list of those who should be thanked and get those thank you notes out quickly. You don’t have to write lengthy letters, just make sure to say thank you. And, if there are staff members who should be rewarded officially, get that process started as quickly as you can. This is priority number 1!
  2. REFLECT on your actions. You need to give your people some time before you start the assessment of the entire event or project. But, now is the time to do a quick “how did I do?” review. Make a couple of notes and then file them away for later. An immediate personal assessment of your performance will be helpful when it is time for the formal review and in developing future plans.
  3. REST. Literally shut down body and mind as best you can. Give yourself some honest and significant down time. An afternoon or a day can do wonders. Don’t work. Don’t think about work. Just rest.
  4. REFRESH. This is different from resting. This is a chance to give your mind and body something different to do. Go for a walk. Try a new restaurant. Google a topic of interest and read what you find. Have conversations that are not about work. Work out. Just try to stretch your mind and body with new activities and experiences.
  5. RESET. Plan out when the next “push period” will be and start making plans. Think about your normal routine and consider taking some new steps to improve your use of time and resources. Don’t obsess over the task just completed.

Improving our performance for what comes next involves doing the right things after what just happened!

Read the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 and 19. It is a great story of how a leader was used by God, found himself totally exhausted and how God provided rest, restoration and guidance.

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