The angel tells Elijah to go take a nap

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to tell yourself, “Go take a nap!”

This is a continuing series. Today’s post is “Go take a nap.” In this series, we are examining leadership burnout and the steps you need to implement as a leader to avoid (and recover from) burnout.

Contain within the Hebrew Scriptures is one of my favorite stories of all time. Written like a great movie blockbuster, this story has it all.

Murder.

Betrayal.

The beginning of a revolution.

Drama.

Rebellion.

Intrigue.

The Backstory

Elijah, a prophet to the nation of Israel is confronting the King. The wicked ruler Ahab has ravaged the lady with wife, the cruel and anti-God Jezebel. Elijah, the one urging the people to remain faithful to God, can only do so by confronting the King. The angel tells Elijah to go take a nap

In 1 Kings 18, he does just that. After years of prophecy, it is time for action. Elijah emerges from a foreign town called Zarephath (which means ‘melting pot’, probably a sign that it had economic ties to military arms production).1 Elijah, a prophet of Israel, emerges from his hiding place, located inside of Israel’s enemy, from a town producing tools to destroy Israel, to tell the king it’s time to face the music. The nerve of Elijah. 

Yet as we shall see, this will also set the stage for his coming burnout.

Elijah confronts the king, his evil wife Jezebel, and her wayward prophets of Baal in a showdown to determine the true ruler of Israel. A comedic set of circumstances follow.

Elijah seemingly gives the prophets of Baal every advantage. They get to build their altar first, perhaps ending the confrontation early if Baal shows up. They get to pick the best bull for the sacrifice, and they can have as long as they want to win the showdown.

After hours of worship and devotion to Baal, the prophets begin to tire. Elijah starts taunting them. Here, many translations limit the effectiveness of this passage by saying that perhaps Baal is busy traveling, deep in thought.

A better and more literal translation has Elijah taunting the prophets of Baal that perhaps they caught him while he was going to the bathroom. Baal would surely come to their rescue just as soon as he could finish relieving himself. How embarrassing!

Elijah’s Response

After taunting the prophets, Elijah changes his tone. Now, he gathers the watching Israelites and begins to instruct them in the proper way to live. The drought the nation is experiencing is because of their inability and lack of desire to follow God. The drought will end when they realize this.

He rebuilds their broken altar, has the bull sacrificed, orders water poured on it, and prays to God to accept the sacrifice. Immediately, fire from heaven consumes the offering, the altar, and the water. The people are astonished.

Elijah orders the false prophets killed and murders over 400 people. Because of their faithfulness, the people will be rewarded with rain.

Elijah warns the king to prepare. After three years of no rain, it is about to become a torrential downpour!

The Burnout

At the conclusion of this story, Elijah is exhausted.

The teaching.

The sacrifice.

The murder.

Additionally, the text tells us that Elijah then flees the scene and runs to another town that was twenty miles away.

It is here that Elijah falls victim to burnout. He has started to believe his own hype and self-importance. One author comments

“Elijah, in fact, is a vivid biblical example of Freudenberger’s observation that burnout “is the letdown that comes between crises or directly after ‘mission accomplished.’”… He expended a great deal of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy in his conflict with the prophets of Baal…His success caused the Israelites and their king to come back to the worship of the only true God. Shortly after that incident, he expended more energy by climbing to the top of Mount Carmel, spending an intense period of time in prayer… and, when that prayer was answered…outran King Ahab’s chariot.”2

The story then tells us that Elijah is overwhelmed and wishes he were dead. He complains to God. To him, death is better than continuing down this path.

(On a side note, we see this in burnout all the time. It’s one leading reason why the highest spike in suicide happens on Sunday night as people start preparing to go back to a job they hate).

God’s Response

In words that I have come to use often on myself and others when they are feeling overwhelmed, I love God’s response.

After listening to Elijah he gives his two commands: eat something and take a nap.

Elijah, you just did something important. You accomplished a big goal. Then you ran twenty miles. You’re tired. Exhausted. Spent. Have some meat. Eat some bread. Drink some water. Then go take a nap. We’ll talk after that.

Elijah follows these commands, and wouldn’t you know it, he wakes up refreshed and ready for the next challenge.

We too need to hear these words. After significant challenges, we can fall victim to overwhelm.

Don’t listen to those voices!

In future posts, we’re going to look at specific ways to prevent and fight against burnout. For now, it is enough to know this: if you’re exhausted, eat something and then go take a nap. We can talk after that.


The Wrap Up

If you or someone you know is facing burnout, please get help. Email me to set up your first appointment.

Looking for more ways to fight against burnout? Here are 50 self-care tips.

 Want the entire series as a Kindle book? Go here.


Sources:

1.) Brueggemann, Walter. 1 Kings. Knox Preaching Guides. John H. Hayes. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.

2.) Minirth, Frank B. “Unfulfilled Expectations: The Burnout Burden.” In Beating Burnout: Balanced Living for Busy People, 41-42. New York: Inspirational Press, 1997.

Podcast Cover art, Justin speaking into a microphone

Habits, Goals, and the Success Mindset

This week on the podcast, our mastermind is sitting down to talk about the essential habits, goals, and success mindset that all entrepreneurs and business owners need to have.

Welcome to this week’s Mastermind training! As a new entrepreneur or business owner, maybe you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Life can seem overcomplicated. There are staffing needs, finances, marketing, taxes, sales, family, COVID protocols, and a whole host of other things that need to be looked after. Podcast Cover art, Justin speaking into a microphone

How can you make it through and not just survive, but thrive?

You need to make sure you have the right habits, goals, and a success mindset in place.

Developing the Skillset

In this episode, Scott Thor, Juanita Webb, and Justin Hiebert sit down and talk about the essentials skills of a business owner.

You’ll discover what you need to know about:

  • Successful Morning Routines
  • Getting good work done, even when you don’t feel like it.
  • How to overcome obstacles and hurdles
  • Ways to increase your productivity while staying sane.
  • Our best tips to a growing and thriving business

These are skills that we’ve used, utilized, and developed over our years in business. If you feel like shortening your learning curve by decades, be sure to give this podcast a listen.

About Justin

If you’re new to the podcast, welcome!

My name is Justin, and I’m an Elite-Mindset and success coach. Throughout my career, I’ve been a pastor, educator, and serial entrepreneur. I help entrepreneurs, business owners, and world-changers attain elite mental performance through burnout prevention, habits, and compounding daily wins.

About the Mastermind

The Bakersfield Mastermind is a collaboration between Dr.’s Scott Thor and Juanita Web.

To hear Scott’s interview, go here.

Listen hear Juanita’s interview, go here.

To watch video replays, go here.

 

Want to connect with Justin and reach your own full potential and elite mental performance? Email him.

Key on desk with overlay text: confidence is key

I was reminded recently, how in any attempted area of growth, confidence is key.

First, a confession. I’m a huge Gordon Ramsey fan. His ability to instruct, teach, inspire, lead is inspiring. I’ve also laughed at more than a few of his insults. He also knows when to relax, laugh, and have a good time.

Recently, I was watching an episode of his popular show Hell’s Kitchen and set one chef home after a critical failure.

Her crime? She lost confidence in her own ability.

As the episode ends, you hear Gordon’s voice as the picture shows her leaving the competition.

“If she’s lost confidence in herself, I can’t have confidence in her as my next executive chef.”

It is a dear reminder that in any area of life and growth, confidence is key.

Displaying Confidence

Let me be clear: confidence is not brashness, arrogance, smugness, or cockiness.

Confidence is not abusive or manipulative.

No, confidence is assurance.

It’s an assurance in the mission and service you’re providing to the world.

Confident people are able to say, “I’ve made it through every previous trial, I can make it through this one as well.”

Confidence is not about putting others down, it’s a clear picture of who you are.

Confident people have an accurate self-perception. They know who they are, why they were created, and the mission they are to be about while on this earth.

Confidence is key. Key on desk with overlay text: confidence is key

I often tell people at the start of a coaching relationship, “I can do anything for you except make you want to change. You have to want to change and be willing to put in the work required to do so. Once you acknowledge and commit to that, I’ll give you every tool I have to help you succeed.”

Why do some people make that commitment (and experience the reward) and others don’t?

Confidence.

Confidence is key.

The Confidence Quickstart

Life can be hard. As a result, there may be moments where you find yourself doubting. Wondering. Fearful.

Those moments are not a reason to withdraw or shrink back. Instead, they are moments to rise to the occasion, challenge yourself, accomplish something great, and demonstrate your ability.

If you ever find yourself in need of a confidence boost, here are three proven methods to help you get back on track.

Gratitude Journal.

First, start by keeping a gratitude journal. Write down as many things as you can to be thankful for.

A number of years ago, I challenged myself to write down 1,000 things I was grateful for. Once I got past the big and obvious ones (spouse, kids, parents, a house, a job) I really had to begin to focus my attention on every moment of every day.

Could I find moments of joy or positive experiences, even in the midst of difficult circumstances?

Of course, I just had to give it intentional thought.

Eventually, I had an impressive list (even if I never did make my 1,000 goal) and it completely reframed the way I go throughout my day. 

Want to feel more confident? Start by acknowledging and welcoming all the good you already have in your life.

A list of previous accomplishments.

Next, keep a list of all of the previous things you accomplished.

Again, you’ll start with the big obvious ones (that’s great!).

The raise you earned.

That karate trophy from the third grade.

Voted most photogenic in high school.

Eventually, you’ll move on to the harder, but not less significant experiences.

The first successful sales call.

That time you worked up the nerve to ask that special someone.

Conquering the fear of public speaking.

Pretty soon, you’ll have an impressive list not only of everything you have to be thankful for, but all the previous times you’ve thought something was impossible, and yet you did it anyway.

Positive Affirmations

Finally, look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself some encouragement.

Far too often, we do just the opposite.

We mess up or make a mistake and say something like, “Of course I did that. I’m a klutz.”

Or, “What an idiot.”

Instead of that how about we say, “Boy, had I given it two more seconds of thought maybe I wouldn’t have made that same choice, but I’m glad I had this learning experience.”

Then, encourage yourself:

  • Look at this list of everything you have to be thankful for and all you’ve accomplished. Confident man looking in mirror
  • You’re very talented!
  • I can’t believe all that you’ve overcome.
  • You are very resilient.
  • You’ve got this!

As you stare at yourself, providing those affirmations, you’ll notice a shift in your thinking, your emotions, and your behavior.

You’ll notice that confidence returning. Building. Sustaining you throughout the day.

Once you’ve acknowledged all you have to be grateful for, written down your accomplishments, and affirmed your intellect and skills, only one thing is left.

Go out and do great things.

You’re more than capable.

I’m sure of it.

I’m confident of it.

And confidence is key.

 

 

Want to exponentially grow your leadership skills? Here are two great options:

Attend the 2021 Building With Purpose Conference on April 1.

Work directly with Justin.

Street arrow with work on purpose text overlay

One of the most frequent phrases I tell myself is to, “Work With Purpose.”

Every day, I am given the chance to do something meaningful and make a difference for others. Through coaching and consulting, I help my clients break through their mental barriers and experience a real and lasting transformation.

But there’s more to it than that.

I remind myself that working with purpose affects every area of life.

The way I parent.

How I interact with my spouse.

The type of community member I am.

Where I spend my free time and volunteer hours. Street arrow with work on purpose text overlay

Each and every component of who I am gets run through the grid of what it means to work with purpose. To help me stay focused, I ask myself three primary questions.

Question One: Does it bring meaning and purpose?

Behind this question is the idea of joy in the work I do. It reminds me to engage with work that I deem as significant.

It eliminates distraction.

Gone are the days (mostly) where I feel like I did a lot of work without getting a lot done. Instead, now I make sure to plan my days and do fewer tasks, but each with intentionality that gives meaning and purpose to the work I do.

Question Two: Does it bring long-lasting consequences?

Want to live a wasted life? Think only in terms of short-term, instant-gratification results.

Want to work with purpose? Think long term. Now thing longer.

I’m not talking about six months or a year. I’m talking 10, 20, or 50 years from now. Some of the decisions I make today are because I’ve intentionally thought about the effect this may have on my grandkids when they are working.

My actions are filtered through an eternal perspective.

To work with purpose, I think less in terms of what feels good now, and instead how good discipline in the moment, however unwanted, produces long-term fruit that can be harvested for several generations.

Question Three: Does it help someone else?

This last question is about service. I don’t want to engage in work that is only (or even predominately) self-service. I want to help others. One of the clearest calls and commands in my life is that I am here for the benefit of others.

It’s why I coach, teach, consult, podcast, parent, write, speak, and volunteer.

I want my work to be filled with meaning and purpose.

I want it to bless those that come after me

And I want it to have an immediate impact on those around me.

That’s what it means to engage in work with purpose.

 

Attend the 2021 Building With Purpose Conference on April 1.

Lion Hunting in background with "The Lion and The Mouse" text overlay

In a telling story of our priorities, James Carville and Paul Begala share the story about the lion and the mouse.

As the story goes, the lion is more than capable of hunting the mouse. He possesses the required strength, agility, and intelligence. In fact, it requires very little effort on the part of the lion. The problem is that the energy received back from eating the mouse is not worth the lion’s effort.

This is why the lion hunts the zebra, antelope, and gazelle. Though it requires significantly more strength, agility, and cunning intelligence to do so, the energy the lion receives back is well worth the investment. Lion Hunting in background with "The Lion and The Mouse" text overlay

The story of the lion and the mouse reminds us to stay focused on chasing big goals.

The BIG Goals

One of the questions I ask myself every day is, “What can I do today that makes the biggest difference?”

  • When I’m feeling overwhelmed, that focuses my attention on the single biggest task that needs to be done.
  • Whenever I’m tired, this question reminds me that the best thing I can do might just be to take a nap or practice some extraself-care.
  • In those moments where I’m conflicted about how to invest my time, asking about difference-making forces me to look at my calendar. Typically what I find is that I’ve been too work-focused and not enough family focus.
  • When my anxiety creeps up, I can remind myself that doing one thing today to make progress on a goal of significance and meaning helps to lower it.

Then, I invest my energy into the needed area. That frees me up to then say, “What’s next.”

The story of the lion and the mouse reminds me to invest my energy in things that really make a difference. My focus and attention go to things that only I can do for myself and my business.

Business and Life in Balance

What about you? Have you asked those questions in your life?

As a business owner, do you work intently on areas that only you can invest in?

With your spouse and your kids, do you focus on being fully present and turning off your “work brain” or do you only give them the nutritional equivalent of a mouse?

As a leader or community member, do you invest in your projects with the same intensity and vigor you do in your sales and marketing?

One of the first things we do in coaching is to give your calendar a time analysis. We make sure that you spend your time hunting antelopes, not mice.

Far too often, what I see with leaders is that they spend time on the unimportant. The temptation is to become distracted by the urgent instead of the significant.

To counteract this, we work through a priority matrix to make sure you get the most return on your time, your energy, and your passion.

Right now, make sure you’re invested in the right areas. Ask yourself the above questions and spend time on the right priorities. Invest in areas that give you the greatest return on your investment. Ask questions. Quit bad habits. Keep growing. Seek help.

If you need anything, I’m here for you.