Everyday leaders tell me that the pain is deep and that we are up to our eyeballs in it.
People are depleted, exhausted, depressed. There are bullies in the workplace and at home. Many folks are helpless and burned out: those in the big, fancy houses and those who don't know if they can make their rent payments.
People are overwrought, overwhelmed, and over the proverbial barrel. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired, as a culture and individually. Happy hour is starting earlier for more people, and it is anything but happy.
And yet, in the midst of this and because of this, many of my clients and friends are emotionally and spiritually awakening; this makes them more courageous as leaders and the results show.
They want more than just the rush from pursuing and accomplishing goals; they realize there is no relationship, negotiation, promotion, or marathon medal with enough staying power to give lasting peace. Perhaps we get a quick hit of "aren't-I-fabulous" (and yes, you most likely are … at times) from the elevated stock price, or the Board's kudos, or the press coverage but these are things that don't sustain the high.
This is where God comes in; there is a hole deep within us, and one CEO reminded me that this hole can only be filled with the Creator, not the created.
Whether we are leading an enterprise of 10,000 or a family of 4, there is only one way through this beautiful, mind-boggling, can't-take-another-minute mess called life and that is by finding a spiritual solution: one that takes us out of the ego-driven, have-to-have-it-my-way-driver's-seat and leads us to a breakthrough that is mind-blowing.
I have seen CEOs of major companies, founders of family-owned enterprises, and leaders of non-profits enjoy a deeper sense of success and engagement in their organizations as they connect deeply to themselves, finding the God who was praying in them all along.
A CEO I worked closely with for years struggled with how to bring his faith into his company. He decided to do it quietly – digging deep to accept the things about himself that did damage to him and others, changing what he could about his behaviors, starting his day with a clear spiritual practice, turning off the radio on the way to work to listen for God's direction. As he did these things, he became a stronger leader, clearer about who he was, more able to put his talents into play, and courageous enough to admit his faults and make amends. It was an individual transformation that played out positively in the top and bottom line.
I am a cradle Episcopalian. One of the things I love the most about this tradition is its theology of hospitality. So as much as Jesus is my guy and rides shotgun with me (since I have lived in the South for a long time, I get to say Jesus and shotgun in the same sentence), I know others have different or no beliefs. However, here is the hospitable invitation: we leaders are having a human being crisis and a large part of the solution is to open ourselves up to a spiritual solution to find the God of our understanding.
Connection is a spiritual excavation, not for the fainthearted. As we search for ourselves, we find God, and as we find God, we find ourselves more fully. And in this surrender, is the miracle.
Those we lead need us to experience this miracle. For our sake and for their sake.
Connection Prompt: What can you do in little ways on a daily basis to make a connection with the God of Your Understanding?