There are three things I know of that are growth killers for any organization.
Complexity kills – How complicated is it for people to get involved and lead in your organization? The old adage “people do what makes sense to them” is definitely still true.
Control kills – Does everything need to run through you, or a select leadership group? Or do you really let people lead? We all have control issues that threaten to limit the empowerment of others.
Overcoming complexity and control requires a strong dose of self-awareness and intentional skill development.
But the third growth killer may be the most lethal of them all.
Complacency kills – Nothing destroys more than flat out apathy. The question isn’t “who cares?” it’s “what do you care about? what are you prioritizing?” When I think about overcoming complacency, I think two things are needed: passion and purpose. Life is maximized when lived with passion and purpose.
I’d love to hear from you on this subject, because passion and purpose seem to be on the decline. I often hear leaders complain about lack of energy, priority, and drive in their employees or volunteers.
But what about the leaders… what about you?
What drives you out of the monotony or everyday life?
What are you passionate about?
If complacency kills, it begins by taking out the leader.
There are three actions I take to drive complacency out of my life. Hopefully you can benefit from these, as well.
- STOP and process. Some lessons are learned the hard way. I keep learning this one over and over again. Complacency – the lack of passion and purpose – is often connected to pace. When I rush through life at a break-neck speed, I often find myself lacking energy, passion and purpose. It’s as if I don’t spend enough time processing what is actually going on in life. The mistake I make is I too often “take a break”. I do other things, instead of processing what I already have going on. That doesn’t help at all. What I need to do is actually stop and think. Sometimes I journal. Passion comes from reflection and re-commitment to the purpose that drives the rapid pace in the first place.When I STOP and take 30 minutes a day to pray, meditate, and re-calibrate from what is actually going on in my life, I find that I can come back to the purpose of my pace. Without it, apathy reigns.
- FIND your optimal anxiety. Second, I discovered a really healthy form of anxiety. I heard it described by a client in one of our reproducing leadership groups. She spoke of optimal anxiety as the type of God-given apprehension that must be paid attention to. There is something that causes so much unease in us that it almost forces passion. This world is not as it should be. What, in the brokenness of this world, causes you to get angry? What problem are you meant to address?What I’ve learned is if I can find and engage my optimal anxiety, complacency will be the least of my concerns.
- ADD the value of celebration. My last discovery is to party. Well, sort of.One of the most telling consequences of complacency is the negative attitude and somber environment that often reflects a lack of purpose. Sometimes we think that we have reasons not to care. Maybe we see life as full of problems that never seem to get better or of people who are critical of us (and everything else). Or, maybe we don’t see how we are winning as a leader and it drains us every day. Whatever the negative pull might be, if it becomes the dominant way we think, complacency will take over.I’ve learned that when I don’t regularly celebrate God, life, and people, then passion and purpose will die. Celebrating has become such a high value to me. I want to live in a place where storytelling and laughter are the norm. A place where God is highlighted, shared, and experienced on a daily basis and where the aftertaste of the party is hope. With this value comes passion and purpose.
These three steps have been of great value to me in learning how to overcome complacency. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one more crucial action step we can take. As a person of faith, I don’t have to address lack of passion and purpose alone. Over the years, many have asked me the question, “How do I discover my passion?” Maybe you don’t know what you are passionate about. Here is the simple reality. Ask God for specific passion and purpose.
Ask and you will receive.