So many people, leaders especially, know one speed: full throttle.
Those who are especially driven tend to work seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s difficult for some to put their work down and leave it at the office.
One can argue that there are thousands of examples of individuals who have experienced high levels of success due to this drive, but I would ask – at what cost?
Leadership carries a price, but sometimes the price that we pay wasn’t required. Our current culture is so success-driven, I’m afraid we often sacrifice things that matter most to attain certain accolades.
There are countless benefits of purposefully slowing down and spending time in intentional rest. I’ll share five today, but this benefit list is nowhere near exhaustive.
The number one benefit of intentional rest is the rest itself. Never before in history have we seen the physiology that is the lack of rest so pronounced and prolific in our society. People are functioning on fewer hours of sleep. We are living in a tired, worn out society. So much of the disease and the health challenges that we face today are a result of a lack of real rest. Let your body – and your mind – recuperate from the pace you’ve been keeping.
The second benefit is recovery. I don’t know too many people that have not been through traumatic, difficult experiences. Sometimes, every day is a battle, filled disappointment or obstacles. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually you are degraded and diminished. You need some time to recover.
Intentional rest gives you time to get it together, clear your mind, to allow your spirit to recover and come back to where you can get focused again.
The third benefit is restored hope. The Bible says hope deferred makes the heart sick, which means the longer you hope for something and don’t receive it, over time that hope diminishes and eventually your heart becomes ill. Intentional time away and intentional separation from the fray brings you to a place where you can have your hope restored.
The fourth benefit is a renewed vision. What are your dreams? What are your desires? What are the things that you set out to do, but because of life you’ve given up, you’ve lost perspective, you’ve lost that picture, and you can’t see any longer a way forward? Without vision, you perish. Getting away, being away, getting quiet, and getting out of the dust gives you an opportunity for renewed vision.
GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT:
The fifth benefit is universal to you as an individual and to your relationships: Growth and development. You cannot invest in this kind of intentional downtime and not grow. When you take time to slow down, refresh, and renew, you’ll find growth and development in all areas of life.
Your creativity boosts, your ideas begin flowing again, your ability to solve problems and find solutions checks back in to play, and you begin to apply these behaviors to every area of life. You cannot help but grow after a time of intentional rest. Just ask the spring crops after a winter of dormancy.
Whatever you can do, do it. Make a commitment to rest. Invest in yourself (which will also be an investment in those you love).
Remember this: an empty vessel cannot be poured out. If you’re running on empty, you’re going to crash and burn eventually.
You cannot impact the lives of other people as a leader if you yourself are running on empty. You cannot give what you do not have. You have to be a receiver before you can be a giver.
It may feel challenging to take a time out and rest intentionally, but your success will only propel if you take opportunities to slow things down.