Leaders Are Burning Out
I have seen dozens of talented leaders burn out over the past few years. I do not want that to happen to you. How can you protect yourself from burnout? By honestly evaluating the strength of your foundations.
Building Strong Foundations for Leaders
Peter teaches the importance of building strong foundations in 1 Peter 2:1-10 using a metaphor we are all familiar with — construction:
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
It’s mind-blowing to watch a building project unfold, isn’t it? Construction workers transform bricks into beautiful buildings. Through tedious work and lots of concrete, they assemble brick by brick until they form a wall. One wall becomes four walls. Four walls become formational structures that form a building. A brick by itself is just a doorstop or a paperweight, but a bunch of bricks can become a home. What good is a beautiful building if it has a weak foundation, though?
FIRST, THERE IS THE CORNERSTONE — JESUS.
Peter shows us where to find our foundation — it’s in the cornerstone of Christ (1 Peter 2:6). This means that Jesus is our firm foundation. We develop foundations that cannot be shaken by building our worldview and finding our strength in Jesus. How do we ensure that Jesus fortifies us? Do these things daily:
- Pray. Prayer should be the fuel behind everything you do. Seek God’s face before you make a single decision. Prayer is not merely part of our faith; prayer is the force behind our work.
- Read God’s Word. Are you in God’s word daily? We need to constantly check our perspectives by learning what God says. Don’t let a day go by where you aren’t pulling strength and guidance from God’s living Word.
- Worship. We aren’t just talking about music here, but genuinely strive to worship while you work. Praise God for your opportunities and influence, then use your position to glorify Him.
SECOND, YOU NEED SOLID SUPPORT.
Peter calls us “living stones.” At first glance, that’s pretty lame. Who wants to be called a brick? Why would he use that metaphor? Think about it. When stones get together with other stones, they become something amazing. This passage teaches that Jesus is building His church — with us.
By yourself, you are a mere rock. When you come together with other people, you make something amazing. Simply put, don’t lead alone. You were created for community. How do we ensure we have solid support structures in place? Do these things monthly:
- Network with other leaders. Join a circle. Get involved with a local network. Shoot, join a fantasy football team. Whatever it looks like, focus on fostering healthy connections with other leaders.
- Meet up with another leader. Get one-on-one with another person in a similar walk of life. These discussions can range from encouragement to accountability. These conversations will be crucial to your overall resilience regardless of the topics discussed.
- Talk with a chaplain, counselor, coach, or mentor. Processing your problems and pain with another person often catalyzes breakthroughs. Ensure you have someone who can speak into your personal and professional life.
LASTLY, BUILD OUT YOUR STRUCTURES — THIS IS YOUR STRATEGY.
This is last on the list. Kind of weird, right? Nope. Not at all. We often lead with strategy as our central focus. The work has to be done. I get it, strategy is at the center of everything you do. However, the long-term success of your strategy, or your ability to cope with its failure, only comes with a strong foundation that is built on Jesus and the right support system.
How do we keep our strategy sharp? Do these things weekly:
- Read something that helps you grow and lead better. Whether it’s a book, a blog, an article, or a resource, always be learning. “Leaders are learners.” Be sure you strive to learn something new and apply that principle at least once a week.
- Listen to a leadership podcast. I get it, this is similar to point number one. However, have you really tapped into the amazing information at your fingertips with podcasts? Put one on while you work out, drive, or do the dishes. Podcasts are great for priming our mental pumps. As you listen, ideas will just start coming.
- Share what you are learning with other leaders. This is something we often miss. If you are learning something, be sure to share it! If knowledge is power, then shared knowledge is shared power.
Check Out the Leaders Following Christ Podcast
We’ve creating a podcast to help leaders build strong foundations that will give them resilience. It’s called the Leaders Following Christ podcast. We believe the best leaders are actually followers. They follow Jesus and allow him to transform how they live and lead. How can you use your influence to make an eternal impact? Join us as we learn from leaders who are glorifying God by turning their platforms into their pulpits. Visit https://leadersfollowingchrist.org/podcast to learn more.