7 Ways Rest Helps You Make Better Decisions


[vimeo id="174527430"] Many people believe everyone in the education business gets an extended summer break. While that may be true for faculty and students, it’s not true for those in education administration. We work year round. In fact, summer is set aside to plan and set budgets, wrestle through big decisions, and how I set my team up for success in the coming year.

When you’re growing as fast as we are at Southeastern, the speed at which you move can make you feel numb. You can begin to feel as if you’re in a time-space continuum that has no beginning and no end.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever been so busy you felt like you had lost your grasp on what day or time it was? It’s easy to do. And that’s why it’s essential for me to find time to break away, clear my head, and make sure I continue to stay focused on the desired outcome.

We live in an overstimulated world.

I’m a fan of technology. I’m never going to be one who recommends that we go back to rotary telephones and Model T cars. Those days had their high points, but they weren’t as “great” as everyone remembers them. Every generation, every culture has its challenges. Ours is to figure out how to live and lead in a connected world without always feeling the need to be connected.

The phones we carry in our pocket are powerful devices. I never leave mine behind. And to top it off, I wear a watch that extends the benefits of my phone to my wrist. Most of the time it’s helpful. But sometimes being that connected can simply be overstimulating, especially when important decisions need to be made.

Are you harming your leadership potential?

The short answer is maybe. Technology itself is not inherently wrong, bad, or harmful. It’s no more harmful that bullets. It’s not until you place a bullet into a gun and fire it that it can become a deadly weapon. The same is true for leadership. It’s not until you convince yourself that you can’t fulfill your role as a leader if you never disconnect that you set yourself up for disappointment and regret. You can’t lead like that for very long.

Two researchers determined in a recent study that solitude drives creativity. And if there is one skill a leader needs, it’s creativity. These two individuals suggest that without solitude, you will never become the breakthrough leader that you want to become.

I couldn’t agree more.

Here are seven ways rest helps you make better decisions:

  1. Rest makes sure you remain focused. You have to stay in the game longer than anyone else if you want to win.
  2. Rest forces you to acknowledge you have limits. Let the “Superman” myth go. Limits are God’s way of reminding you that He is God, and you are not.
  3. Rest gives you room to process all the information you have consumed. The information age requires time to evaluate what you’ve consumed.
  4. Rest provides an appropriate balance to the rush of the day. It’s Ok to push yourself. It’s not OK to push yourself all the time.
  5. Rest protects you from making harmful decisions. A lot of bad decisions are made when you are tired, worn out, or stressed.
  6. Rest provides you with space for clarity. As the leader, your team needs you to act with certainty. You can’t do this if you don’t possess the clarity to make the right decisions consistently.
  7. Rest reveals what has always been there but you may not have noticed before. Space allows you to see the familiar from an entirely different perspective. The results can be stunning.

Rest will help you achieve the breakthrough leadership you desire.

Even in the middle of the rush of summer activity, planning, and strategy, I make sure I break away to protect the time I need to develop my thoughts, center my decision-making, and evaluate whether I’m moving farther away or closer to my goals and vision. It’s a discipline. That means I have to build new habits, get rid of bad ones, and continue to embrace the ones that help me be a better leader.

Building rest into your decision-making discipline will feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but it will change your leadership outcomes forever.

REFLECT: Is rest part of your leadership discipline? When it’s time to make big decisions, do you make room for time to break away from the routine and find time for solitude and reflection?