“It is winter in Narnia, and it has been for ever so long…and we both shall catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow.”
~ Mr. Tumnus
In C.S. Lewis’, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a young girl, Lucy, wanders through a magical wardrobe and into another world. She meets one of its inhabitants, Mr. Tumnus, who informs her that an evil witch has cursed the land with perpetual winter. “It is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter, and never Christmas; think of that!”
Colorless and cold, Narnia’s climate is cheerless, and its residents are weary of the dreary weather. They have endured years of sub-freezing temperatures without ever being able to enjoy the sunny thaw of spring. Day after day, they awake to the same thing: a bleak, grey world covered in a thick coat of icy snow.
Many leaders are stuck living in a Narnia-like world where everything colorful has vanished. Like green grass trapped beneath the snow, their passion and sense of purpose have gotten buried under layers of obligation and the drudgery of daily routine. They labor dutifully to meet oncoming deadlines, but feelings of joy, like rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds, rarely brighten their workdays.
All leaders experience seasons when life gets insanely busy, and during which it seems as if extra last drop of energy is needed just to survive. However, it’s not natural for these seasons to become a permanent way of life. After winter must come spring. Leaders need times of renewal and growth in order to sustain their influence.
How does a leader trigger a climate change from winter to springtime?
1) Schedule time for play, personal growth, and the people you love.
Many leaders have schedules that do not reflect their priorities. Their calendars are populated with pressing tasks that have crowded out less urgent, but far more important, activities. Proactively take control of your calendar by allocating prime time to what matters the most to you.
2) Develop a diagnostic to measure your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
People don’t burn out overnight. Usually, there are warning signs that all is not well long before something disastrous happens. Think through and define what a healthy lifestyle looks like. That way, you can more easily identify when your life has gotten out of balance.
3) Count the cost of potential commitments.
Less is more. Be ruthless about filtering out good opportunities that distract from your primary vision.
4) Redefine success.
We tend to think of success in terms of results when it actually depends far more on relationships. Winning in life means winning with people. True success is attained when the people closest to us love and respect us the most.
Question to Ponder
A bankrupt banker has no money to lend. She must first take care of her own finances before she can adequately assist others. What areas of your personal wellbeing need attention and renewal in order for you to sustain effective leadership?