by Dave Ferguson
The hardest and often the last leadership lesson that most of us learn is self-leadership. I wish someone had taught me about self-leadership sooner. My good friend Bob Bouwer was having lunch with the campus pastor of COMMUNITY recently when he said, “Everyday at the top of my journal I write these three letters: E (emotional), P (physical) and S (spiritual) and then give myself a 1-10 rating.” He went on to explain how this daily routine of rigorous self-evaluation helps keep him in a healthy place.
As I heard Bob talk I was inspired to do the same, using a tool that is a regular part of our coaching of leaders at COMMUNITY and explained on page 120 of Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement. We refer to this tool as “checking your RPM’S.” This tool is based on Luke 2:52 that says, “Jesus grew in wisdom (mental) and stature (physical), and in favor with God (spiritual) and men (relational).” So for the last month on a daily basis I have put at the top of my journal these four letters: R (relational), P (physical), M (mental) and S (spiritual) and given myself a 1-10 rating. I am already convinced that using this tool on a daily basis, rather than just during coaching sessions may be one of the most powerful self-leadership tools around. I would strongly encourage you to try it for yourself. Let me briefly explain each of these and give you a few questions to ask in your own daily self-evaluation.
RELATIONAL: Our relational world typically includes the people with whom we interact on a regular basis: our immediate family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and small group members. Here are some questions you can ask yourself.
- How are my relationships at home?
- What about my marriage, dating, or family life is going well? What’s not going so well? What would I like to change?
- Who do I consider my closest friend? How is God using that relationship to grow me?
- What are my relationships at work like?
- Which of my relationships give my energy and life? Which are the most challenging or draining?
PHYSICAL: Our physical well-being is often the most overlooked aspect of a leaders life. Yet diet, exercise, sleep, and rest are all vital to our ability to lead effectively. If we are serious about developing as a whole person, we have to take seriously our physical well-being. Here are some good questions to ask:
- Am I getting enough rest?
- How is my current energy level?
- What am I doing to maintain good health when it comes to exercise and eating habits?
- Is there anything about my physical health that I’d like to change?
MENTAL: Another often-overlooked aspect is the development of our minds. In order for us to stay sharp and be a lifelong learners, we need to be challenged. Here are some questions we can ask to see if we are developing mentally:
- What have I been learning lately?
- How am I applying what I are learning?
- What magazines, books, or websites do I read or access?
- What thoughts have been dominating my mind? Are they drawing me closer to God? Are they pulling me away from him?
SPIRITUAL: It is also imperative that we discover and act on whatever it is that helps us grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus. Here are some questions we can ask to see how we are developing spiritually:
- How would I describe my relationship with Christ right now?
- What does it look like when I am feeling closely connected to God?
- Which spiritual disciplines seem to help me draw closer to Jesus? Prayer? Journaling? Worship? Solitude?
- Who is holding me accountable to practicing these disciplines?
- What has God been saying to me lately through his Word? The Holy Spirit? Other Christ followers? Prayer?
The longer I am in leadership the more I am convinced that the most important leadership we can offer is self-leadership. Use this tool everyday and lead yourself!