No Pain, No Gain
Last week I was honored to share and hear great leaders at Exponential in Orlando. I went with our network, Planting the Gospel, led by David Putman. In addition to connecting with leaders and planters, we also connected with some pretty good restaurants. One night, near the point of starvation, we pulled into Landry's, a seafood spot in Orlando, and we sinned terribly. After consuming gumbo, shrimp, salad, and fish, our entire team was in need of repentance.
When we returned to the house, David and I decided we were going to punish ourselves for our gluttony with a four mile run...with full stomachs. My normal range is two miles, but due to my sinful state of over indulgence, four miles sounded like ample punishment.
After two miles, my side began to cramp (and all I could taste was shrimp); I slowed my pace and David began to pull ahead. He glanced back and asked, "Are you o.k.?" I replied, "I have a cramp in my side." What I was hoping to hear was, "Let's slow it down" or "Let's rest for a minute." Instead, without missing a beat David said, "Suck it up, let's go" After a few minutes (and a large burp) the pain left and we continued the run. David eventually pulled ahead, and when I finished the fourth mile, David was waiting for me at the gate of the neighborhood we were staying in. He jogged the last stretch with me.
As I was finishing my last mile, God spoke this to me.
1) Leaders need Conditioning: I had to slow my pace at mile two because I did not condition myself beyond the two mile mark. As leaders, it is up to us to push ourselves, grow ourselves, and condition ourselves for the race that God has set before us. We must set the pace for our team. If we're not living a disciplined life, we shouldn't expect our teams to.
2) Leaders Don't Give in: David could have easily said, "Let's rest," but instead said, "Suck it up." When your team is assigned to do something that is out of their comfort zone, often they will respond painfully, hoping you'll say, "Let's rest." When the leader slows down, the pace slows down, and then everything slows down. Rest is important, but we should never slow down simply because a team member is lazy and has refused to condition himself. The only reason I finished the four mile haul without stopping is because I was challenged.
3) Leaders Finish Well: Although David finished before me, he was there when I arrived. Good leaders should be ahead of their team; if they're not, they aren't leading. Good leaders also go back and help their team to finish well. On our last stretch David encouraged me and bragged on me for not quitting...as a result, my milage range has changed.
Set the pace, challenge your team, and help them finish well.