Go, Dog. Go! is a Seuss-esque children’s book about dogs on the go. The story includes lots of things that go, all ridden on or driven by dogs… bikes, scooters, skates, skis, cars, roller coasters, carts, boats, ferris wheels, and hot air balloons. You can have someone read the book to you by clicking here.A leader needs to be on-the-go… a Go, Dog. Go! kind of person, pursuing purpose and showing satisfaction. While there are constructive voices calling for balance in the lives of leaders (see Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced Times by Robert Pasick), I’m more comfortable with a modus operandi that is singular and springs from inner commitment and strength. Sometimes we refer to this as a person “being in his/her sweet spot.”
The “balanced” approach to life makes a distinction between work-life and personal-life, often concerned that a high-capacity leader may be working too much. A dichotomy is made between personal time and work time. The book, Off Balance (Matthew Kelly), points out that we do not have two lives, and we should not, therefore, compartmentalize areas of our lives. (This sounds like a holistic view to me!) Kelly says, “People need and want a satisfying experience of life” (chapter 1). In other words, they need to live all of life to the full… Go, Dog. Go!
An area of emphasis that I especially appreciated in Off Balance is the description of four levels of energy. Here they are, ranging from least desirable to most desirable:
Level one: low energy – feeling depressed, exhausted, burned-out, defeated, and overwhelmed.
Level two: high negative energy – feeling angry, fearful, anxious, defensive, and resentful.
Level three: restorative and reflective energy – feeling mellow, serene, and content.
Level four: high level positive energy – feeling confident, joyful, enthusiastic, and invigorated.
Level four is the Go, Dog. Go! level; “It is contagious, attractive, life-giving” (Off Balance, chapter 4). When functioning at level four, even at level three, it is not necessary to talk about “balance,” because the total person has a high degree of fulfillment, satisfaction, and direction.
Level four is what I imagine the Apostle Paul to be in when he wrote in Philippians, “I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings…” (3:10), as well as “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (4:13). I think of Paul as always being “on the go,” even while in prison.
So, what is your level of energy as you read this? If it is not at level three or four, what changes do you need to make? Church Leadership Center develops training plans and puts together mentoring relationships to help leaders grow. How can we serve you, your church staff, or leaders in your congregation?