What To Remember When We Want To Retreat

Not long ago I experienced several days of being ill.

Sick. Fever. Chills. Headache. Cough. Snot. Lots of snot. Sorry, I am just being real with you.

I felt awful. I didn’t want to get out bed.

But, I slowly recovered. Then I was posed with a new challenge: I found myself so far behind that I didn’t know where to begin. It was actually paralyzing.

Can I make a confession to you? There was a big part of me that just wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. I was tempted to retreat from all that I hadn’t done, that I needed to do, and the feeling of overwhelm about them both!

While this internal battle raged, the thought occurred to me that this internal battle actually takes place every day in our leadership…especially when you’re leading through a crisis.

The pace you were keeping before this was already relentless. Unending tasks had you working overtime before words like “social distancing” became popular.

Then this.

One final blow can knocks us down. Set us back. We slowly recover, but in the wake of it all, we reflect on how much work it’s going to be to get back to where we need to be. Our tendency at this point? Retreat. Go back to bed, pull the cover up over our heads, maybe binge on something, and hope somehow things get better tomorrow.  

You’ll be glad to know that in the case of my recent illness, I defeated the temptation to retreat. I crawled out from under the covers, put my feet on the floor, and got busy! How did I do it? How did I overcome my temptation to retreat? I was reminded of three truths I will pass on to you as you are leading through the moment we find ourselves in:

No one ever won by retreating.

Whoever won by quitting?

Your best shot is to fight. Better to go down in a blaze of glory than in retreat. I’ll die trying, thank you.

If you think about it, our backside is actually more vulnerable in retreat!  

Everyone gets knocked down.

The winners just get up faster.

My struggle was real but it is not all that unique. Everyone experiences setbacks. Everyone faces pressure.

My success will not hinge on my setbacks but how I respond to them!

Traction equals satisfaction.

Here’s how you create momentum in a season like this: Simply do the next right thing…then put that on repeat.

There is a gratification that comes when progress is made.

Just focus on getting the next thing done. When one thing is done, you have some momentum to build upon.

Lead well during this moment starts with answering the question:

What will be your first step back today?