Seek Rhythm, Not Balance

The longer I live and the more places I visit, the more I appreciate changes in season. This week the weather in Orlando, Florida, where I live, shifted from dark-soggy-winter-chill to warm-bright-spring. The change naturally invites me to be outdoors more, leave work a bit early, and enjoy some long bike rides.

My motivation wasn’t forced. It felt like a natural rhythm of grace.

As a leader, the longer you lead, the more you have to pay attention to the natural seasons of leadership. Introducing another new change initiative when your team has been pushing hard to meet deadlines or deliver a fantastic event can feel like you’re pushing a huge boulder up a mountain. That boulder may be a combination of physical fatigue, emotional resistance, or simply too much at too fast a pace for too long.

For years I fell under the false assumption that I could live a balanced life. Time management books promised me it was possible. Balance assumes I can keep all the plates spinning. I’m learning that seasonal rhythms – allowing some plates to fall and just remain on the ground – is actually the way God designed people and nature to work. When managed well, it feels more natural.

For the past two months I lacked motivation to post on my blog. I would begin a new post and stare at the screen but nothing would come. I’d pray and feel guilty, but the well was dry. I reflected on my lack of motivation and realized that I had just come off a heavy season of writing, editing, and publishing my book CLOSE, an intense season of travel and meetings, and 10 days of fun holiday vacation with my family. Like an athlete, I simply needed some off-season time to allow my writing muscles to fully recover. Now I’m back.

The wise teacher of Ecclesiastes 3 instructs us that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… a time to plant and a time to pluck…a time to break down, and time to build up… a time to weep and a time to laugh….”

A wise leader knows what time it is. What season are you in?

By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded Indigitous.org, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at www.onleadingwell.com.

8 comments

  1. Very timely input here, with great wisdom. I have struggled for years with this concept of “balance”. What does this even mean? Why do we put it on par with Godliness when it is clearly missing from the lives of our Biblical predecessors?

    Rhythm seems much more understandable, congruent with Biblical teaching, and in step of the pace of leadership.

    Thanks for pushing through and writting this one, Ken!

  2. Still trying to figure out what plates to let fall and definitely learning that balance does not work for me either.

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