Sometimes we need some embarrassingly simple truth to bring us much needed clarity.

My mentor Mark does that for me. He has been in my life for several years and our conversations flip between keeping track of the mile markers in my spiritual life and the leadership challenges and opportunities in my church context.

In the way of leadership, Mark helps me the most with growing in my emotional intelligence, understanding organizational health, and how best to work with others who are way different than me.

I was having breakfast with Mark a few months ago when he dropped some of the best leadership advice I have ever received.

Eating my waffle, I asked him if there were any new leadership books out that I should be reading.

He laughed at me and said, “Buddy, you read enough. You don’t need to read any more books right now. You already know what to do. Now go do it!”

And you know what? He was right.

I had gotten into a pattern of wanting to know what the experts had to say because I was afraid of making a mistake. I wanted to have all the answers to the problems I had in my ministry. I foolishly thought if I had all of the head knowledge, then execution would take care of itself! I could not be more wrong.

It’s an easy trap to fall into as a leader. We want to hear from the best. Think of the worthy list of names we look to for leadership and spiritual advice: Maxwell, Stanley, Groeschel, Giglio, Keller, Hybels, Wooden, Willard, Ortberg, Cordeiro, Acuff, Niewhof, Lencioni—the list goes on and on!

There is a lot to say about learning from the wisdom of those who have gone before you, but the greatest teacher will always be your own experience.

That’s something I was lacking. I needed to put down some books and get my hands dirty. Knowledge only goes so far. After all, knowledge doesn’t solve anything—only wise application of our knowledge does.

Reading is something I had to start doing less of, but for you it could be something entirely different.

  • Is there a leadership practice that you’re doing too much of?
  • Has something you’ve done for a long time become exhausting or ineffective?
  • Is something good standing in the way of something great?
  • Does your heart need a break from anything?

In leadership we’re often called to start doing something or do something better than we currently are—but not always.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is a season for everything. This includes a time to tear down (3:3), a time to turn away (3:5), a time to quit searching (3:6), and a time to throw away (3:6).

Sometimes the best thing we can do is to stop doing something.

 

What do you need to do less of or stop doing altogether in the name of leadership?