When you sign up to be a leader, you also sign up to experience some seasons of discouragement.
It comes with the territory.
Not everyone will like your decisions and will let you know it….sometimes in “not so nice ways.”
You will lose people. Some because they don’t care for you as their leader and some because you have to let them go.
You will be frustrated at times with an employee’s performance and cannot express your frustration to your closest friends, because they are on the team with you. There is oftentimes loneliness at the top.
You will feel more pressure to perform at the highest level than anyone else on the team at times.
You will get criticized.
You get the point. All of these things will happen to you in leadership and it can breed discouragement.
And it comes out of no where. Usually after you have success. That is why Craig Groeschel says, “The greatest threat to future success is current success.”
With discouragement being so real and likely, how can we combat and manage the ebbs and flows of discouragement? Glad you asked, here are four tips for battling the discouragement you will face in leadership…
1. Learn To Lead Yourself Well
The best way to battle discouragement is by leading yourself.
You cannot properly lead others until you have learned how to lead yourself.
I think oftentimes the reason that leaders are so discouraged is because they are trying to lead others to a place they have not even gone themselves.
That can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging.
Lead yourself spiritually. Be disciplined. Have a daily time in God’s Word. Spend time in prayer every day. Find ways to be generous. Serve your neighbor.
Lead yourself emotionally. Control your feelings. Have a mentor you can talk to. Seek counsel.
Lead yourself relationally. Be your family before your job. Know your priorities. Go on dates with your wife even when you are slammed at work. Get down on the floor and play with your kids even if you have a massive project at work to do.
Lead yourself physically. Exercise. Eat healthy. Go to the doctor. Take care of yourself. Wear a fit bit to hold you accountable each day.
Lead yourself well. It is the best way to combat the feelings of discouragement in your life.
2. Find An Experienced, But Neutral Mentor
A mentor is more than a friend. A mentor is someone who is placed in your life to help you get better. A friend is placed in your life to be your friend.
A mentor is someone who you ask to sharpen you.
A mentor has your best interest in mind and is seeking to get you to the next level. Mentors are there to help you achieve the goals you have set in your life.
You need a mentor. Everyone needs a mentor.
You never outgrow the need to be mentored.
Sometimes when you are discouraged, a mentor (someone not tied to your organization in any way) can lift you up. They can give you perspective. They may tell you that you are wrong. They may tell you that you are 100% right, and give you advice on how to handle your frustration.
Bottom line, you need someone who you can go to when you are discouraged. Someone who can give you the right perspective.
3. Get Some Rest
I think one of the best things that leaders can do is to take a nap every now and then.
Leaders need rest.
I have read so many blogs and books that make me feel guilty for not getting up at 4:00 am in the morning to work on my latest project.
Listen, I do not get up that early, and I don’t feel bad about it.
I am not suggesting that you become lazy, but leaders need rest. I feel great after a 30 minute power nap. I feel great after a solid night’s sleep.
Okay, since you are concerned with my bedtime habits. I usually go to bed around 11:00 pm and get up at 5:15 am.
But, I take a nap some days because I need rest. I need it to lead better. I need it to clear my head.
I need it when i am discouraged.
4. Schedule Time Away From Work
I am unsure where the “leaders work harder and longer than anyone else” ideology came from. I am unsure who started it, but I wish I did so that I could correct them.
Listen, I am all for hard work. I am all for long work. Trust me, I hit deadlines. Sometimes, my work requires late nights or long days.
But, if I am going to battle discouragement that comes with being in leadership, I must schedule some time away from work. Time with friends. Time on a hobby. Time with myself. Time to reflect, and time to get my mind off of things.
5. Regularly Spend Time De-Cluttering Your Life
I love this one. I spend a lot of time on this one. Not because I have mastered it, but because I was born O.C.D. I love order. I love organizing. I love cleaning and de-cluttering things.
If you want to battle discouragement, get rid of things every now and then. Clear the piles.
Clean out your house. Your closet. Your office. Clear your desk. Spend an afternoon cleaning out your inbox.
It feels so stinking good.
I do want to add one more thought. If you are feeling discouraged and possibly even depressed, get help! Call someone. Don’t let it boil inside of you. Don’t keep it to yourself. Get the help that you need so that you can be the best person that you can be.