Our family is enjoying a vacation back in Texas to see our family and friends. Among others things, these trips provide perspective.
I’m reminded how fast time is moving forward when I see how my niece and nephews have grown and how other people are gently aging (but not me of course). I’m also reminded of what and who is important, the frailty of life, and God’s many blessings. In other words, perspective.
An accurate perspective is a growing leader’s best friend.
An inaccurate perspective tricks me into spending more time at work on “one more project” and neglecting time with my family. An inaccurate perspective tricks me into skipping my time with God this week because I’m too busy. An inaccurate perspective tricks me into being sharp or condescending with my wife because I’m stressed and I think I can appreciate her more later. An inaccurate perspective tricks me into always planning time with my kids for latter – not now.
An inaccurate perspective is too expensive!
To be an effective Christ-follower, father, husband, pastor, and friend I must have an accurate perspective.
Like me, you’re busy, so how do we do that? How do I keep the fresh perspective that an annual vacation provides?
Here are two ways to help us maintain an accurate perspective:
1) Identify & review the “big rocks”
What are the most important things to you? Who are the most important people to you?Write it (them) down. Create a personal “dashboard”. There are a lot of things you could give your attention but what’s on your dashboard are the most important things/people you don’t want to lose sight of.
Then create a system to review your big rocks.
Long-lasting changes aren’t achieved in days or weeks. You must have monthly and annual reviews. A personal journal, an active professional calendar, an annual couple’s retreat are some of the tools that can help.
What are your “big rocks”? What is working? Why is it working? What’s the plan to achieve your goals?
2) Include outsiders
An outside voice in your organization is invaluable. After a only few months in your role, you’re already guilty of accepting and overlooking things that need to be changed. If you don’t invite the voice of outsiders into the process (professional, parenting, marriage, spiritual, etc.) then you don’t have an accurate perspective.
Andy Stanley asks, “Why don’t the unchurched people in your area go to church? Could it be because you’re focusing on who you’re trying to keep instead of who you’re trying to reach?”
A desire to listen to outsiders is insufficient. An appreciation of the value of outsiders is insufficient. You’ll only listen to outsiders regularly if you have a system that allows you to tap into the essential voice of outsiders.
Are you listening to outsiders? If so, how are you benefiting from it? If not, what system could you put into place to include their critical voice?