In his book The War of Art Steven Pressfield stated that “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.”
These words walk with me daily as I coach and mentor church, governmental, and business leaders both in my nation and around the globe.
Because sadly, so many would-be leaders are trapped in the cycle of living a life that is not fully awakened to their truest being.
The mundane treadmill of daily existence has consumed their “should-be” life. They live life on cruise control careening toward a nonentic existence that they neither desire nor does the world really require. The rat race is a mad dash toward the steel trap of a meaningless tomorrow. And it’s time to wake up and stop the race.
We need our leaders to be awake. To fully realize and then visualize their actual potential. To maximize their opportunities and to take the strategic risks that are necessary to shake the doldrums of their ordinary and to break into their reachable realms of the extraordinary.
It seem life tends to put us to sleep – but if we stay asleep to our own purpose we will wake up later to the nightmare of a wasted gift, a wasted moment, and a wasted life.
I spend most of my time shaking leaders awake. Sounding the alarm of their destiny and challenging their comfort levels.
To live that “unlived” life you have to wake up and get out of the bed.
In order to wake from this slumber we have to break the power of the bed. Anyone who has ever overslept and missed or almost missed a critical appointment, class or meeting knows that the bed has power. But I want to breakdown this metaphor further to bring to home this principle.
We have to break the power of The Pillow. Some Leaders are simply too comfortable being ordinary to discover that they are extraordinary. They have cuddled up to the pillow of status quo, made an agreement with average and married mediocre.
This would be fine–but people don’t follow ordinary–so then the leader becomes frustrated unable to galvanize people because they are too comfortable to call people to action.
You cannot call people to action from your pillow. Few people want to be lead from your bedroom.
We begin to break the power of the pillow by asking ourselves pointed questions – like what would my life and leadership look like if I gave 100% effort? If I denied my flesh and pushed through my own threshold of comfort.
The Bed Mate – or breaking the power of other sleeping people.
When I was 24 years and three days old I married my wife, Joy. Before that day I had never slept in a bed with another person. My family is small and I am stingy so sharing a bed was never something we were required to do.
I am an early riser, always enjoying sunrises, so before I married I was known to set my alarm clock to ring loud. And then to rise to its ring just before daybreak to take in the colors of the sunrise and to pray aloud.
But by the second week of my new marriage I began to understand how rude it was to break my new bride’s slumbers with my own loud predawn rituals.
Soon I learned how to wake myself before the clock even struck and to stealthily uncoil from her arms and limbs and to slide ninja-like out of the bed, without even stirring her. I would tiptoe into the living room to watch silently the sun displace the darkness.
Because when you are sleeping with people who want to stay asleep – it’s harder to wake up.
Many young leaders have attached themselves to too comfortable people, people who are too easily satisfied with the norm to disquiet the quiet and discover an “unlived” life.
Your bedmate cannot be one who causes you to miss your moment. Or whose siren-like call draws you to the wretched rocks of the lethargy.
You need people in your life who push you to excel. Who understand your potential and call you to awaken and to live each day walking in that calling.
We all need to have seasons of rest and we are designed by our Creator to dwell in Community but you have to check your collective community to make sure that it is encouraging you to face each dawn with passion and purpose.
The Snooze Button
Breaking the power of The Snooze Button is to me the greatest challenge because it is not that we don’t know that we have to awaken to our purpose, it is that we have deliberately decided to delay ourselves from getting out of the bed.
The snooze button is not a decision to not get up at all rather it is a deal with delay. It is the cycle of procrastination that limits leaders to a restless sleep.
A waiting for nothing that is send imposed. It is one thing to face external opposition but to become your own internal can be disastrous. And in many ways is harder to overcome – until you just decide to overcome it.
And when you press the snooze button on your own destiny you become the very enemy that you need to overcome.
The pressing the snooze button says I am awake enough to make the decision but not aware of how short life is to not waste another minute.
The snooze button is denial. Because in most cases we are already late and have been asleep far too long. Ten minutes of more sleep is just making you ten minutes later and your destiny is far too important to be delayed.
We begin to break the power of the snooze button when we realize that now is all we have been given. And that tomorrow, as the Scripture says, is really not promised.
Breaking the power of the bed allows us to awaken to the life of leadership we have always wanted to live.