Are You Leading Out of the Overflow?

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There’s an old saying that goes something like this:

He who burns the candle at both ends… isn’t as bright as he thinks.”

photo credit: Patrick Feller via photopin cc

photo credit: Patrick Feller via photopin cc

In our country, we have come to celebrate busyness. Over the years, Americans have always taken pride in our work ethic. But the proverbial “workaholic” was born as the Baby Boomers grew up. They watched their parents work hard to provide a comfortable lifestyle. And while those Boomers rejected the establishment as young people, they later joined it and took it to a new level as adults. We now boast about how busy we are, and hold it up as if it were some sort of trophy.

Questions To Ask Yourself…

Having said this, one of the most relevant questions we can ask ourselves as leaders today is: Am I leading out of the overflow? By this I mean:

  • Do you lead from your own learning?
  • Do you lead authentically?
  • Do you stay current and experience fresh energy?
  • Do you practice what you preach?

The most common enemies of leading out of the overflow are loneliness, crisis, betrayal and complexity. When leaders are confronted by these, they react in one of two ways. They either continue and become “fake,” pretending everything is OK and performing out of memory and routine. (The problem is, everyone can sense it.) The other common reaction is…they simply quit, emotionally or literally.

Remember These Truths About Leading Out of the Overflow:

  • I cannot lead anyone further than where I have traveled myself.
  • I can only fake a healthy life for so long. Burnout arises from too much pretending.
  • I must model the life I want for others—people do what people see.
  • Intensity and passion are different. Passion gives life; intensity exhausts us.
  • Healthy leadership stems from “being” before “doing.”
photo credit: shioshvili via photopin cc

photo credit: shioshvili via photopin cc

As selfish as it sounds, you’ve gotta lead yourself and practice “self-care” before you can care for and lead anyone else well. Do you remember the “Starving Baker”? He’s the baker who spent so much time baking bread for others that he forgot to eat and starved himself. Ouch. Plastic leaders eventually get discovered and discarded. Genuine people make the most genuine leaders.

Looking to develop leadership skills in students? Check out

Habitudes®: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes


Are You Leading Out of the Overflow?