We are not wired to function without rest.
Take a moment and personalize that.
YOU are not wired to function without rest.
This is true on a base human level, but it is a good lesson for leaders as well. "Burning the midnight oil" is a great metaphor, but does not make a leader effective over the long haul.
Leaders need rest.
You need rest.
Here are 4 reasons why.
You need rest because...
Tired eyes rarely see a bright future.
Leaders are dealers of hope. Inspiring others to better days is our core task. Exhaustion causes us to see the future dimly. It is impossible to inspire when we feel stuck in the mire. Rest removes us from the pressure of the urgent to see the possibilities of the future. Those you lead are struggling to see past the immediacy of their own moment. They need you engaged in the potential of what lies ahead.
When fatigue walks in faith walks out.
Leadership is hard. At the core of a great cause is the belief that what you are doing will work. A lack of rest robs us of the strength to hold on to that belief. It is ok to get tired, but it is not ok to stay tired. You have to lead yourself enough to recognize when you need to hit pause. One indicator is when you begin to see things through the dark veil of fear. Rest renews faith.
Exhaustion makes mountains seem taller and valleys seem lower.
When a leader is tired what once looked like a challenge morphs into an impossibility. Leaders tackle big mountains and persevere through dark valleys. Perspective helps keep leaders balanced during turbulent times. Rest is the key that unlocks perspective.
Decisions when you're worn out result in potential fall out.
I heard someone say, "Don't make a big decision when you're tired." Instead of pressing through and forcing decisions it is often best to wait. If I face a major decision while I feel pressured or tired, I make the decision to wait! When you are exhausted being decisive can become divisive. Wait, rest, then decide.
Your next leadership breakthrough may come on the other side of a nap!