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Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it. I learnt this lesson from Bill Hybels.

Create your own finish lines

Leading a team or organisation is relentless. There’s always more to do. There’s always another area to improve, something that needs evaluation, leaders to develop, new opportunities to pursue. Unless you work on finite projects there’s always more to be done and no end in sight. And in church work it’s even more so. Sunday keeps coming, programs keeping needing to be run, people need to be cared for, people need to hear about what Jesus has done for them. There’s always a seemingly infinite amount to be done. There are no finish lines.

And the relentlessness and never-ending-ness of it can become burdensome over time, and eventually can become overwhelming. Leadership is not meant to be a deathmarch.

Which means you need to give yourself the permission to create your own finish lines. Times where you can stop, catch your breath, refuel and recharge, and then start running again. And because most of the time these finish lines aren’t naturally occurring you have to create them yourself. And in some sense they may feel arbitrary. But rest and reflection and celebration are necessary for you continuing in the long haul.

Perhaps after the big upcoming event you schedule in a few half days. Maybe after the follow-up from camp is sorted you take a few days off. Perhaps after the period of busy days and jam-packed nights you intentionally take it easy for half a week and do important but more menial tasks.

Leading is important and the task is never-ending with always more to do and naturally occurring finish lines are rare. So to stay involved for the long haul you’ll need to create your own finish lines. That way you’ll end up running further and you’ll end up running longer and you’ll end up running better.