Leadership and 'Re-fueling Pit Stops'

February 19th, 2010 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

In a Nascar race, an average efficient pit stop that consists of the changing of all four tires and a full tank of fuel can take anywhere between 13 and 15 seconds. The amount of pit stops during a race vary because of numerous factors — race length, caution flags, fuel mileage, tire wear and pit strategy to name a few.

In Leadership, it is necessary to take regular ‘pit stops’ so that you can keep your engine running. In today’s economy, it sometimes can feel so important to continue to run around the track at 200 miles an hour and not have time for a ‘pit stop’. We all know that if we don’t come in and ‘re-fuel’, replace the tires, and adjust the suspension, we will not be able to cross the finish line.

Recently, I completed an overnight ‘pit stop’ where my wife, Chris, and I were able to get away for an evening…just the two of us…to re-fuel and prepare to get back out on the track again. This opportunity was refreshing and got me thinking how important it is to take time away to refuel. You see, re-fueling doesn’t mean to shut it down completely, but rather, a brief moment to ensure all the systems are ‘go’. And, it isn’t enough just to do this for a vacation annually. It has to be planned as daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual down time to recharge. Mark Sanborn tweeted recently a post that touched me completely about the need for weekly ‘down time’. He asked if Sunday was a ‘day of rest, or a day to catch-up’. Too often, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is seen as the norm, and I don’t want to allow myself to fall into that trap.

So, I am committing to the following ‘pit-stop’ schedule for myself.

  1. Daily – 1 hour (reading an inspirational book or listening to a podcast)
  2. Weekly – One day (Tuesdays. In real estate, Sunday is a ‘normal’ work day. Even for church leaders, Sunday is a work day!)
  3. Quarterly – One weekend
  4. Semi-annually – One week

During this time, I will take my foot off the gas and re-fuel the engine. I know it will benefit me. It is important to set boundaries around this time as well. No email…No PDA…Minimize the distractions. My wife needs this time, too. Rarely do stay-at-home moms get the benefit of pit stops and I need to honor her time.

So, are you taking ‘pit stops’ to re-fuel? What do you need to do to ensure that your motor is running at the end of the race and that your down time is rest time and not catch-up time?

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