3 Sustainability Hacks for Peak Performance
June 1, 2017 by Alton Webb
When my dad and I started our real estate firm in the basement of our family home 20 years ago, one particular statistic lingered over my head: Fifty percent of small businesses fail in the first year. Fortunately, that number has improved in the past two decades. According to 2016 statistics released by the Small Business Association, 78% of small business start-ups survive the first year. But as time goes on, half of the businesses close within five years and only 1/3 make it ten years or longer.
And these kinds of challenges don’t stop with the business community. Our churches, non-profits, and marriages are faced with similar trials. We cycle in and out of difficult seasons that threaten the longevity of our personal and professional well-being.
I recently wrote an article about avoiding burnout. Today I want to take a look at the opposite of burnout – sustainability.
Based on my experience as a business owner and church planter, here are three ways to keep your engine going through the ups and downs of going outside:
- Find your rhythm. Each day is 1,440 minutes long. Assuming you sleep eight hours at night (#goals), you are left with 960 minutes. If you take a 40,000 feet snapshot of your life, you will see a variety of ways you spend your time, such as family moments, work, vacation, service, investing in friendships, rest, exercise, eating, etc. While some days or weeks may feel like a jumble, there is usually a pattern or rhythm that starts to emerge. One of the most effective things you can do to sustain your well-being is to find the rhythm that lines up with your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, then protect it at all costs.
- Know your priorities. In order to find your rhythm, you have to know your priorities. As soon as you step outside, you will be faced with decisions and contrasting paths. This is often the moment that kills us up front because we have a tendency to do one of two things – 1) forge down a path before we take the time to process where we really want and need to go or 2) we freeze because we don’t want to make a decision. We must prioritize our actions. And those priorities can only be set when we know what we value most.
- Know your values. You may be starting to catch on that this list builds on itself. Your priorities and the rhythm of your life are 100% contingent on the people and things you value most. On a recent Reddit thread, one user asked the community “What do you value most in life?” Some of the answers were expected, such as “family, friends, and pets.” Others were just plain honest – “my phone, sleep and Netflix.” At the end of the day, the things we value in our core will spill out into our priorities and our rhythm. If we want to sustain our organizations and passions, we have to be sure our values are worthy. If not, at some point they will lead us down the wrong paths or we will sputter out altogether.
When I first started my career, I was convinced that I needed to position myself for success to make it past that one-year mark and beyond. The longer I have been in business, the more I realize that I need to focus less on my position and focus more on establishing my values.
As we launched our church seven years ago, a handful of the people at our sending church were skeptical. It was hard for them to understand why we would leave a thriving church that we loved to plant a different church a few miles down the road. But one of the deacons had some wise words for his peers. He said “If it’s not of God, it will fail. If it is God’s will, nothing will stop it.”
In Psalm 54:4, King David’s reputation and life is under attack when he declares his desperation for God, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”
Ultimately, I do not sustain myself with a healthy rhythm or robust time management skills or by properly prioritizing my tasks or even by valuing my family. I am able to come out of the undulations in business, ministry, and relationships solely based off of the ways that God graciously keeps me going, whether or not I succeed by the world’s standards.
Because God does not promise to sustain everything we do, He promises to sustain us.
Our church is thriving to the point that our leadership planted another church last year, and God has given me favor in my commercial real estate career, but even if all of that ended tomorrow, I can say without exception that God has sustained my life.
Maybe you are at a point where you don’t feel sustained. At all. I have to share this song with y’all. It’s been playing on my phone pretty much non-stop. I hope it gives you some encouragement this week.