Diligence has more to do with reaction than subtraction. How you react to roadblocks, distraction and confusion is more important than you trying to remove them. They are coming; how will you respond? - DHG
Last week, we started our new blog series talking about the importance of being diligent. We focused on its importance in leadership, and how without it would be hard to accomplish all that you were called to do without it. We pointed out that a lack of diligence births a unfilled following and a flawed community. We also showed examples in scripture where diligence was shown as a paramount necessity to growth and results. To get a full recap of last week's blog, just click here.
Proverbs 12:27 mentions that diligence is man's most precious possession. It is when we understand the importance of diligence that we can see awesome results in whatever field we lead. We took a look at three things to avoid when maintaining a high level of diligence. Those three things are:
- Avoiding things that don't deserve our time.
- Avoiding doing too much.
- Avoiding life consuming people.
If we avoid those three key things we will begin to see growth and sustained acceleration in our businesses, ministries and personal lives.
Jess C. Scott, writer of the anthologies Self, an opposition to the Seven Deadly Sins, said this of diligence:
A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work; decisive work ethic, steadfastness in belief and fortitude, and the capability of not giving up. Budgeting one's time, monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness. Upholding one's convictions at all times especially when no one else is watching.
There are three key things Scott mentioned in this statement, that I believe deserve mentioning in our attempts to be more diligent. Let's look at these things.
- Budgeting one's time - No one likes to budget. Anyone who says they do, is probably not budgeting. Budgeting is putting together a systematic plan for the expenditure of a usually fixed resource. Yes, your time is a resource. If you don't think so, allow someone to talk to you about absolutely nothing for two hours straight and see how irritated you become. You become irritated because your time is valuable and it is a resource. There are not enough hours in the day for you to do all that needs to be done, so don't waste it. Over half of America is not living off of a budget, and is therefore wasting money. It is when people budget their money that they see the power of exactly what they posses. When you have time, you have power. Manage it. Set up time parameters in which you can work, and in which you can play. Work off of a schedule. Yes, leaders have schedules. In order to get done what they need to get done, leaders must be able to manage their time and their responsibilities accordingly. As a leader, you probably wear a number of different hats. Your job, whether you choose to accept it or not (this ain't Mission Impossible) is to manage those hats, not juggle them. You can only wear one hat at a time. Your job is to select which hat is worn at what time. Ephesians 5:15 says "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time..." and Colossians 4:5 says "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time." Make sure you are making the best use of your time. Just like you budget money, manage your time.
- Monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness - Laziness is a direct contradiction to success. Remember that. If you are lazy and you don't monitor your activity you will not be successful. Yes, that is me talking, but lets go to scripture as well. Proverbs 13:4 says "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." also Proverbs 10:4 says "A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich." When you are diligent, you will see results. It is important to understand that what we do has a direct effect on the outcome of a project. If we do not monitor, closely, that which we do, we can find ourselves being pulled towards laziness. So, what activities do we need to guard ourselves against? Easy. Look at the atmosphere you keep when you are working? What things (or sites) keep you from getting the job done? What activities misdirect your attention from the job at hand? Think about the things that will hinder you from finishing the task effectively and on time. I'll name a few that we don't usually think of. What about our diet? What we eat has a direct impact on our effectiveness. If we eat large meals or sugar packed meals before or during our work, we tend to get sluggish, and that could be something that hinders us. How about temperature? Personally, while I work i prefer cold air .It keeps me up and makes me work hard to finish the job. I try not to make myself too comfortable. These are small things that we can monitor. Let's take a look at our lives and what things we can monitor (besides time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to guard against laziness.
- Upholding one's convictions at all times - Proverbs 10:9 says "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out." To remain diligent you must uphold the convictions you have. The diligent person is the one who understands their deadlines, sees the pressure, feels the eyes beaming on them, but still takes all the right steps to get the job done. The one who is diligent will not sacrifice their convictions for anything. The one who is diligent understands Colossians 3:23 which says "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men..." They understand that no matter who is watching, my convictions and what I stand for has a paramount role in the end result. Our convictions must be apart of our everyday life. This means that whenever I am faced with a problem, my convictions then shape my response of how I handle it. My convictions are like an invisible fence to a dog. The dog knows that the fence is there, and if someone throws the ball outside of the fence, the dog's response will be shaped around that fence being there. As leaders, we must have a fence of conviction surrounding us that shapes our decisions and helps us to respond correctly to every situation. No matter who is looking, our convictions should stand firm through it all.
Hold on to diligence and don't lose it! it is so important to know what to do, just as much as we know what to avoid when it comes to diligence. On the next and final blog about diligence, we'll talk about some practical task management solutions that you can use to become more diligent in your leadership. I'll give some links and different tools I, and others around me use to do great work and see awesome results in our fields.
Until next time, advance!