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renewing Continuously for a Change…

by | Dec 5, 2021 | Continuous Change, Journey, renew

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“If your employees need their weekends to rest and renew, you might have a burnout culture.” I saw that headline … and the only edit I would suggest is to remove the word “might”. There are articles almost every day about it, and many leaders I work with are moving between roles to get away from it, believing that is caused by their situation. Sadly, it travels with them, and the dirty secret is the person who is most responsible for burnout is… you. I know – because it was (and is) me…

… like many of my generation, I would save up vacation for that “someday” renewing long trip to… And, rarely would it come. It was always a season that was too busy with this important project, this task force that could (and did) lead to a bigger role… which then got into even more “critical” initiatives that were easy to convince yourself that many other people’s careers and lives were depending on your success. That excuse overrode any little voices inside saying “… when do you take care of me?” There was a song that we listened to called Cat’s in the Cradle that talked about a man who was coming of age with us, and how he had watched his father with that challenge, and then realized that he had done the same thing with his kids…

The entry of Steve into the band is a textbook example of a well-executed Change. We talked yesterday about him blending vocals and Gregg “handing off” that role to him. Even before that, the first night he met the band he brought with him some lyrics that he had been working on and showed them to Neil. Immediately, Schon had the perfect soundtrack picked out on his twelve-string, and this song was mostly finished within an hour. That demonstrated that Steve could not only sing, but he could also write with the major writer of the band… and THAT Continuously produced hit after hit for the next 6 years/albums. And rewinding back to even Neil and Gregg’s time with Santana, it was renewing to have a partner that was able to collaborate and help them both execute their collective visions.

The lyrics speak to the loneliness that Steve felt on the road – away from those he loved. It is not clear if that is a girlfriend but I think it is probably closer to being about that inner voice that his Mother helped encourage. In fact, he had come “off the road” and back home to mourn the death of his friend when the call came that would light the rocket ship of the next 6 years. It was far more than he and the rest of the band could have ever dreamed for, and again if you stay with me into next week, this topic of burnout that is also so prevalent in music will return…

… and in many ways lack of renewal is at a breaking point. Parents are, in fact, much more involved with their kids than each generation… and that responsibility is something that is yet another critical “project” to be maximized. Through the last 2 years, balancing how to work from home for the first time for many, and also provide for kids and others at the same time was a challenge that “had” to be handled. It now feels like it is just assumed that this will stay this way, and again renewal is not making it into the “have to” list, sacrificed to the “doing” that is so much easier to say yes to.

In my work, I see it most of all with … myself. In my “former” careers, there were parts of the job that were very easy to “not do” as they were not fun, interesting, or ultimately that important. That allowed me to “renew” in meetings that were pointless, where I didn’t have to do much other than show up, and ironically it was a backward approach. Now – I don’t have that excuse – everything I do I have mostly chosen, and love doing. And – filling the day with things you love sounds like a dream … because it is. Putting that time block down that says “renew” seems so anti-everything… until it is clear you cannot do everything. YOU have to put renewing you first … Continuously.

During Covid, I am happy to report 3 major breakthroughs that have helped me… and I have seen more and more doing themselves. First, I calendared renewal every day. Yes – on my calendar every day is a block called “Nap” that I am not embarrassed to talk about. For me, a quick 30-45 out every day allows me to be better. And I am in good company with Edison and many others, but I am even over that need for an excuse. It works for me. Second, a daily walk outside with my wife and walking buddy who is far more faithful than I am, but still, most days I get out for a little time. These are items you will see in many of the writeups talking about avoiding Burnout as simple steps we can all take, and many are bold enough to do them.

Finally, when church was not an option in person, I stepped up and helped facilitate gathering on Zoom. Not hard for me, but something that helped keep us all stay connected, and helped me by connecting Continuously with a practice of renewal that is timeless, and I would argue a practice that we are designed for. Work, before we chose otherwise, was NOT designed for burnout – it was to close the day with work well completed… in the presence of the One who designed all of this in the first place. In fellowship… not exhaustion. These options are there for all of us, and particularly the latter – your faith walk – to renew your spirit and soul – is always there, waiting… Patiently.

Here I stand so patiently
For your lights to shine on me
For your song inside of me
This we bring to you
In the shadow of love
Time goes by leaving me helpless
Just to reach and try
To live my life
These are my reasons
So here we stand so patiently
For your song inside of me
For your lights to shine on me
This we bring to you
One, one, in a million



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