The way I was working wasn’t working.
I had been promoted and was finally feeling like I hit a groove in this new role, about a year into it. Then, our senior leader left the organization unexpectedly, and my groove was all shook up. I inherited half of his role on an interim basis, while my supervisor inherited the other half. And what my supervisor could no longer carry from his previous role, I picked up.
Did I mention I didn’t drop any of my current responsibilities?
For a few weeks, I managed the chaos, but I was drowning and praying I didn’t wreck anyone else’s world too much in the process.
The Challenge of Being Ridiculously in Charge
I was reminded of the words Dr. Henry Cloud wrote in his book, “Boundaries for Leaders.” A client of Cloud noted, at the end of a coaching session, “I guess I’m ridiculously in charge of this situation.” That phrase jumped off the page at me!
I wanted to keep making excuses about how I had been given an unsustainable load. But those excuses wouldn’t suffice when I failed to serve the people I was leading, who were doing all they could to keep us moving forward as our board searched for a new leader.
I stumbled on an article in those days, which ended up saving my life. The article, Maker’s or Manager’s Schedule?, outlined the daily tension I was living in. To create keynotes and write copy, I needed long, uninterrupted blocks in my calendar. But, to serve the 8 people I supervised and the many volunteer leaders in our organization, I need to live in 30 and 60-minute blocks.
The push-pull between these two schedules was killing me. I wasn’t present in conversations with people, and I wasn’t producing my best work when I sat down in front of a keyboard.
Finding a New Groove
It took a couple months, but between that line from Dr. Cloud, the article on scheduling, and a template from Michael Hyatt called Your Ideal Week, I began to take control of my life back. I started batch scheduling my week into days and half-days with themes, delineating between maker’s time and manager’s time. While that 12 month period was exhausting and less-than-ideal, I found a rhythm and grew a ton as a leader.
Everything changed for me when I realized I was ridiculously in charge of my life as a leader. In my moment of need, I found an article which clarified my problem. That article drove me to search for further resources, which I already had buried in my Evernote archive. I had a sense of urgency which fueled my willingness to get uncomfortable and try something new. And I learned a new way of working, which enabled me to serve the people around me better and to rediscover a sustainable, healthy rhythm to my life.
Finding Your Groove
You’re ridiculously in charge too. Sure, there are areas where you don’t have all the authority or power you wish you had. But, the frustrating part of leadership is you lose the right to turn around and blame someone else. You get too much credit in victory and too much blame in defeat.
I wonder if while reading my story, you were reminded of a challenge you’re facing? Could it be the way you’re working is no longer working? And you feel the urgency to change…
I have a hunch that the solution isn’t far away. When we become open to change and wisdom, it’s exciting how often insight shows up.
Whether it comes from a conversation, a link on Twitter, a podcast, or a coaching session, I believe the activating moment you need to begin a new season is closer than you think.
May you have eyes to see and ears to hear.