- I need time alone every day. Some people draw energy from other people. I don't.
- I need to give. A lifestyle of generosity keeps me focused on others more than myself.
- I need a week alone with my wife every year. Secluded--just her and I. No schedule to keep, no email to answer, no other people to please.
- I need to know I'm succeeding. When I don't know if I'm doing the right things or doing them well enough, I begin to feel off-balanced.
- I need to conquer something. Whether it's finding the best deal on a flight or managing a $6 million budget, I need to tackle a big problem and craft a solution.
- I need to design and build. If there is an alternate universe, I'm pretty sure I'm an architect over there. I love to dabble in engineering or designing--and then building or managing the project to completion. Sometimes this might be a deck, other times it might be an organizational change.
- I need quiet time. I already mentioned my need for time alone. One benefit of this is whisper time with God. I'm not a person who prays on my knees for a specific set of time each day...I try to whisper prayers to God and listen to His voice all day long. Quiet time in the car or in my office or at home helps me do this.
- I need 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night, and every now and then a good 12-hour night. I envy people who can live on less sleep--but that ain't me.
- I need to be home. A lot. I'm not a party-er. Home is my haven, and when I can be home in the evening and on weekends, it gives me what I need to lead with strength.
- I need quality time with my kids. When they were younger, I spent time with them because they needed it. As they get older, I gain as much by my time with them as they do. They challenge me, they inspire me, they make me laugh.
- I need a few friends--people who let me be me, who understand my quirks, who laugh with me-not at me, who know I'm not mad when I'm quiet.
- I need to be on a team with people who are A-players. I'm a better person when I have the right people around me.
- I need to write. Writing is a passion. When I can't find the time to write, I feel mentally constipated. When I have time to write, everything in my brain flows more freely. (Probably not the best analogy, but I'm guessing you know what I mean).
Two questions you might be asking (if you even made it this far)...
Do I always get what I need? No. There are many seasons when I have to ask God for grace to get through a season of too little rest or too much work. But when I'm feeling stressed or tense, it's often because I'm not paying attention to the above list.
Isn't this a bit self-focused? Maybe, but I believe God has wired each of us uniquely, and we have to know what we need if we are going to lead others with strength. To be the person I need to be for my kids, my wife, my church and my friends--these are the things I need.
So here's the question for you--do you know what you need to be whole, loving and full of grace?