3 Things For Leaders To Eliminate In 2015


The New Year brings about a time to reflect on the past and plan for the year ahead. I don’t know about you, but I naturally tend to think of the things I didn’t do last year. I find myself trying to add them to my schedule this year or find more time for ever-increasing priorities. This year, rather than adding things to your life, I would like to propose eliminating 3 things from your proverbial “to-do” list in order to move toward some other items that may lead to a greater sense of purpose, contentment, and fulfillment.

1. Eliminate hurry.

“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Dallas Willard

Life is not a race. When we hurry through life, we can feel like time is passing quicker than it actually is. Do you ever feel that way? I know I do. We feel like we are doing too many things at once and often try to multi-task in order to get more things done. The hard truth is there is not such thing as a successful multi-tasker. When we hurry through our days, it creates a sense of urgency in every phone call, conversation and relationship. Underlying tension can develop and frustration can build up. John Ortberg says, “The truth is, as much as we complain about it, we are drawn to hurry. It makes us feel important, it keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means we don’t have to look too closely at the heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness.” 

The antidote to hurry is intention. Learning to live life driven by our core values and not by our calendar is easier said than done. It requires a great amount of self-leadership. The tyranny of the urgent is ever present in our society. One simple step toward success in this area is to start each week (or day if you prefer) with a basic value or priority list and a commitment to those things above all else that week.

2. Eliminate worry.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." Romans 5:3-5

Worry and discontent plague our modern day society like no other generation before. At no other time in history has there been such abundance yet such great need to accumulate more. The worries of today are plenty and range from the discontent “have-nots” to the real-life concerns such as health and employment. However, no man has added any days to his life by worrying about the next. It is imperative to move toward the practice of presence and trust in learning to say, “It is well with my soul.”

Remember what brother Lawrence says in The Practice of the Presence of God, “God knows very well what we need and that all He does is for our good. If we know how much He loves us, we would always be ready to face life – both its pleasures and its troubles."

3. Eliminate complexity.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

Have you lost a sense of gratitude and wonder for life? Do you have a sinking feeling that life has to be about more than this? Do you ever consider the idea of escaping? If you have ever ask yourself any of these questions then you might benefit from removing some of the complexity in your daily life. Althoughtechnology seems to have ushered in instant access and simplicity over the past decade, it has also made life more complicated and disconnected. Look around the average American family dinner table and count how many people are on their smart phones. People are now alone even when together. Families' and kids' schedules are busier than ever. A recent study showed that only about 51% of American employees took there eligible vacation/paid time off and 60% of those worked on vacation. Our smart phones are synced with our personal calendars, family calendars, and work calendars which are also synced with our personal computers and iPads. We have constant access, constantly. If we are not careful, the days and weeks will fly by, and we will realize that we are ruled by the calendar and the culture and not by our values.

The New Year is not the only time to embrace the value of simplicity, but each day is a new opportunity to seize the moment and look up at one another. Call each other by name and encourage one another toward a life of purpose and presence. The antidote for complexity in life is simplicity. Be intentional this year to move toward it, because without our concerted efforts, life will always be ruled by the urgent.

Here's a simple, timeless prayer for 2015: "Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know, to love what I ought to love, to praise what delights You most, to value what is precious in Your sight, to hate what is offensive to You. Amen." Thomas a Kempis

What ideas do you have to eliminate hurry, worry, and complexity in your life for 2015?

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