Discover the secret to restoring your resilience and finding balance in the midst of chaos with a personalized Renewal Cycle.
June 26, 2023
Have you ever felt drained, overwhelmed, or stuck in a never-ending cycle of busyness? I know I have! As Leaders we are supposed to be resilient, right?! Able to bounce back quickly after a difficult situation, an unwavering beacon of hope and inspiration, and an indomitable spirit, motivating others to persevere and reach their fullest potential. But, often we find ourselves juggling numerous responsibilities and striving (more like drowning) to meet the expectations of others. In the midst of this chaotic journey, we are stretched thin and left with a short fuse, feeling uninspired, and just flat. out. empty. Not the resilient leaders we used to be and want to be. Not a beacon of hope, inspiration, motivation and, watch out because I might explode on you for chewing too loud (or is that just me?). This has a great impact us and those that we lead. So what do we do? It is crucial to remember that a well planned strategy for personal renewal is not an exclusive privilege of the elite, but rather an essential requirement. It is in our own best interest, as well as those we lead and love, to prioritize our own well-being by establishing a personal “Renewal Cycle.
In his book, “Leisure: The Basis of Culture,” Josef Pieper says: "Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work."
So what is a Renewal Cycle? A Renewal Cycle is a deliberate practice of engaging in activities that bring replenishment and renewal across the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual domains (PIES). These are strategic activities that you and those around you plan, schedule, and commit to fulfilling for the purpose of personal renewal. Here are the 3 steps you need to take to map out your own Renewal Cycle.
Step 1: Define Your Activities
The first step to creating a Renewal Cycle is to select activities that resonate with your unique needs and preferences. Is it; time in nature, being with friends, learning a new hobby, going to the gym, eating at a new restaurant? These are activities that bring you great joy, release stress, draw you closer to Jesus, and make you feel “anew” after. Remember, each activity should support at least one of the four domains—Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual. Let's explore a few examples:
Physical Domain: Regular exercise not only enhances your physical well-being but also boosts your mental clarity and energy levels. It could be as simple as going for a jog, joining a fitness class, or practicing yoga. Just like regular exercise, proper nutrition is important for our overall health. Maybe it’s shedding the “freshman 15” from when you were in college a decade ago, or it’s gaining some muscle. Whatever it is, pick a nutrition plan that works best for you.
Intellectual Domain: Engage your mind through activities that stimulate learning and growth. Consider reading books, attending workshops, or learning a new skill that expands your knowledge and keeps your mind sharp. Try to pick an area that isn’t directly connected to your job.
Emotional Domain: Nurture your emotional well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy and peace. This could include spending quality time with loved ones, pursuing a hobby, journaling, or practicing meditation and reflection.
Spiritual Domain: Cultivate your spiritual connection through practices that deepen your faith and bring you closer to God. This could involve prayer, meditation, community, attending worship services, or exploring spiritual literature.
Step 2: Establish Your Rhythm
Once you've chosen your activities, it is important to determine how often you will engage in each one. Reflect on how these renewing changes are going to affect the rhythm of your daily life. Some activities may benefit from daily practice, while others may be more suitable on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Find a rhythm that contributes to the well-being and structure of your life and does not take away from your responsibilities or relationships. Remember, consistency is key, so choose a frequency that you can realistically commit to.
Step 3: Make the Commitment
Now comes the crucial step of commitment. It is not enough to simply acknowledge the importance of personal renewal; action is required. Take a tangible step forward by investing in the necessary resources or memberships to support your chosen activities. Purchase that gym membership, spa package, or online course. By committing to these actions, you are affirming your dedication to your own well-being and personal growth.
Here are a few examples -
RUNNING (Physical, Emotional, Spiritual domains) - Spending most of my life in Southern California, I am a big fan of the outdoors. I have also learned that without a deadline, I tend to not workout. Knowing this, I choose a few marathons each year which gives me the deadlines I need to stay motivated and allows me to spend time outdoors atleast five times a week.
SPA (Emotional, Physical domains) - For my wife, a good spa treatment is life-giving. We all know that moms care for everyone else's needs all day and as a homeschool mom, they are never alone. So a spa treatment is a time for her to be alone in a quite, refreshing environment, where her needs are being cared for. Once a quarter she schedules a treatment.
GOLF (Physical, Emotional domains) - My friend finds it very refreshing to spend a few hours out on the course with some friends, but found it hard to be consistent. This gives him time to reconnect with friends, get outdoors, and release some stress. To make sure he was consistent, he joined a country club with his friends.
LEARNING (Intellectual, Spiritual domains) - We have all heard that “leaders are readers.” I am at my best when I am learning, so to make this a priority I have scheduled 6 hours a month for learning. This can be reading a book, taking an online course, or attending a workshop.
Maybe for you it’s; journaling for 10-mins a day, walking the dogs, surfing, hunting, camping, a trip to a botanical garden, coffee with friends, or watching a movie. If attending church, sabbath, reading your Bible, attending a small group, and prayer are not already a consistent part of your life, I’d encourage you to start with one of those as part of your Renewal Cycle.
Take a few moments and take note of where you are in your own personal life. If you find yourself feeling stretched thin, having a short fuse, feeling uninspired, and empty, then consider setting aside time this week to define those activities that make you feel renewed, establish your rhythm, and make the commitment. Go out and buy the GYM shorts and shoes, join the book club, or plan the next trip to the gardens. Remember that personal renewal is not a luxury but an essential requirement for sustained success and resilience. I pray that as you embark on this journey, may you find rest and renewal in the presence of God, just as a shepherd leads his flock to green pastures and quiet waters (Psalm 23:2).
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