After lunch, several years ago, a friend of mine decided to purchase a book for me and have it delivered to my house. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was somewhat in denial of my current state of mind. I still had my superhero mentality that nothing is really affecting me and all I needed was a good meal and a nap. In reality I was deteriorating from the inside out…I just didn’t know it. My body was showing me signs, my journal entries were confirming it, but my mind wasn’t in compliance. In actuality, I was exhausted.
I started to read the book and couldn’t put it down. The author was describing his own personal experience, but I was right there with him. So much so, that I stopped reading, jumped on to Google and searched for signs of burnout. As I read, I was beginning to gain clarity on what was happening truly going on inside of me. I was running fumes. There was a free online assessment so I took it. Sure enough, according to the book, my online reading, and the assessment, I was in big trouble. Everyone around me could tell, but for some reason I couldn’t…or I wouldn’t. I was motivated to find answers like never before. So I started on a quest to get me back to health.
I am not sure where you are today in your well being, but I wanted to share with you what I decided to do in my life several years ago to get back onto a healthier track. These new habits have completely changed my life. I hope these two tools will help you if you are in a bad place and desperately needing change. As the saying goes, “Few things worth doing are ever easy.”
Choosing to Be Different
After reading the book, the first thing I decided to do was to find a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. My wife did the same.
On the left side of the line I wrote the phrase ‘Life-Giving’ and on the other side, I wrote "Life-Sucking.” Then we began to list all the people, relationships, friendships, things, and places in our lives that gave us energy, encouragement, and put life back into our souls. On the other side we did the same for those people, relationships, places, things, etc. that were draining and literally sucked the life out of us. After looking at the sheet, we just paused and reflected for several moments. There is something very powerful about putting the truth of your life in black and white. It was so sobering for both of us. In all honesty, it was far easier to start with listing out the Life-Sucking column than it was the other list.
Over the next 60 days we decided to start prioritizing time on our calendar and shifting resources towards those items in the Life-Giving list and we began to systematically end or limit those items in the Life-Sucking category. I can’t tell you how helpful this simple exercise was for us. Our attitudes changed and we began enjoying life again. It was liberating. In fact, we live by our lists today.
The second thing I did was taken directly from the book I referred to above, Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro. One of the best habits I developed from reading the book was to incorporate what is referred to as your five percent.
Basically, the thought is that there is 80% of your life that someone else could do. The next 15%, with enough training, education, and experience, another person could do what you do. However, there is only 5% of your life that only YOU can do and should do.
My reason for bringing it up is to give you a tool to purposely live out what matters most to you. I simply call it Priorities for My 5%.
Each calendar year, I jot down a word or phrase that I am hoping for in that New Year. Often times I pray and ask God if there a word or phrase that He has for me. In response, I felt like my word for 2017 is Breakthrough. I also write down a few scriptures that I sense for this year. You may choose to do something differently. Afterwards, simply answer each question.
Once you have completed this exercise, the key for all of us is to do it. How? I have chosen to set up a reminder to review my 5% list every week. Quarterly, I review how well I am doing with a simple red, yellow, or green beside each item. Usually on vacation I spend more time thinking about my 5% and if there is anything I need to edit or tweak. Ultimately, I hope this guides you to invest into the areas of your life that matter to you the most.
You may choose to have totally different goals for the most important areas of your life. Whatever it is, take the opportunity of to invest into the areas that matter most to you. You won’t regret it. You may even find that this year will be the most life-giving year of your life.
It’s my heart and passion to help leaders live out their calling and flourish. I believe your best days are before you. It’s time to thrive. Let’s do it together. You are not alone. Click here to set up a Discovery Coaching call.