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  • Jane Wheeler

Work Yourself Out of Your Job

I find I still get caught up in the stress of “doing”. I think satan loves it when we are too busy because then we have no time to fit God into our schedules.

One of the statements in the Aglow Bible study Game Changers I have been doing says: “Rest is a weapon.” Now think about that – 'rest is a weapon'.

Oswald Chambers (my favorite devotional) – says, “The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than pour out our lives completely for Him.” My Utmost for His Highest, January 18

“It is easier to serve” -basically it is me calling the shots, I will serve where and when I want to rather than giving my life wholly to God and saying “use me wherever you wish….” Letting God call the shots. That can be too scary because what if He asks me to do……………you fill in the blank…..that horrible thing I do not ever want to do?

God has been asking me - personally to be “all in”.

To me, in my old nature, I think this means ramping up to do more “stuff”, but I realize that is NOT what God means at all with the term: all in. God wants me to pour out my life to Him, not do more stuff. What is the difference?

I find that when I do more stuff I tend to forget Him in the busyness that follows.

In my previous Manager roles, God had to get me to face some misconceptions about Managers/Leaders and these myths can be applied to families as well.

Myth 1: As a leader it is my job to help all the people all the time.

Moses thought the same thing:

“The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.” Exodus 18:13-19

Answer: You cannot handle it alone – you need help, get some.

Myth 2: I cannot get my fellow helpers, workers, staff, kids to do part of my job.

Why not? Chances are some of them will do a better job than you anyways and if they do not, practice makes perfect! Train them and then Empower them to try it out! Give your employees purpose not rules.

Notice that you have to "Train them" - I learned this after years of not doing it - you have to schedule into your calendar "Training". It seems like one more thing to do BUT in the end it is worth it. We think employees come knowing what they should do - they do not and neither do children. If you want another person to know something, then teach and model it.

When I first started working I worked for the Government and at one of the Training seminars I attended they gave us this story. (Disclaimer: I might not have all the details correct but this is how I remember it).

Disney has one of the best training programs in the history of companies. They listen to their employees, they hire for attitude not skill, they teach and empower their employees to make decisions and do not chastise them for doing so.

Story: A young newlywed couple booked their wedding night at the Disneyland Hotel. They checked in and got their key and starry eyed, went up to the Honeymoon suite oblivious to all others around them.

He put the key into the door, pushed it open and turned to lift up his bride and carry her across the threshold only to hear the screams coming out of the room from another couple happily enjoying the Honeymoon suite already.

Stunned he put his bride down, frantically grabbed for the door to close it and horrified they rushed back to the elevator.

Downstairs at the front desk a young girl answered the ‘in house’ phone and got a verbal chewing out from the couple currently occupying the room, with the statement that they would be down shortly to check out because their wedding night had been wrecked forever by the hotel.

The front desk girl quickly got hold of the night manager and he quickly on the spot made the decision to get the girl to take care of the newlyweds in the elevator as they would be coming off the elevator any second and he himself would take the couple upstairs since they also would be storming down shortly.

This night manager – had been taught and empowered to handle the situation and he trusted his staff member in turn, to make some on the spot decisions to remedy this situation with the newlyweds.

The elevator opened and out came the fuming couple towards the front desk. The girl took the couple aside and profusely began apologizing for the mix up in rooms and told them she understood their anger. She would find them another hotel if they wished but she was willing to put them up in another room in their hotel, guaranteed to be unused and offered that the hotel would be willing to pay for their entire stay including meals for their honeymoon if they wished. They stayed.

The night manager went up to the room to the couple who had been walked in on and offered them his most sincere apologies. He told them he understood their anger and embarrassment and that nothing could erase that but if they would allow him, the Hotel would like to try to make it up to them by covering the cost of their entire stay and meals Plus the hotel would honored if they came back every year on their anniversary as guests of the hotel.

This couple ended up staying for their honeymoon and this couple kept coming back to the hotel every year for 50+ years on their anniversary.

If these staff members had not been given the skills and the empowerment by the management to make decisions and knew that the ramifications of their decisions would not be questioned by the management, this story could have had a less than happy ending. The staff would be fired for the initial room mix-up and for “giving away” rooms and meals, or the hotel guests would have found other hotels, and the bad press of the incident would have run rampant.

Instead, this story has been shared in, too many to count, leadership seminars as the perfect example of how to empower your employees to make decisions on their own. Disney came out the true winner of these stories and all ended up Happily Ever After.

Myth 3: As a leader I cannot take time off.

Why not? God rested on the 7th day – why should you not be able to?

Rest is a weapon – a person who is rested and refreshed will actually do more work than a person who is hanging in there 24/7 and is frantically trying to get it all done. Without rest you do not work productively (oh boy do I know this one!)

Myth 4: As a leader I have to have all the answers.

Who are you – God?

Do not assume like I often did, that you are the smartest person in the building! It is a proven fact that workers, or family members when asked and brought into the decision making stages of a job or project – take on ownership and will work more effectively – so let them!

Myth 5: As a leader I have to be available 24/7 to my staff or family.


Turn off your phone, do not check your emails continuously – be present where you are at. If there is a problem, empower your staff/family to solve it without you. Lead by example, and take care of yourself – your staff will follow suit and will rise to the challenge you give them.

Illustration: when the little masks in the plane drop down in front of you – what does the stewardess say to do: Please put your own mask on before you go to help others.

You will not be able to help others without air: or strength, or wisdom because you too tired to function.

I was encouraged as a leader to find out what I was not good at and eliminate it from my job description, giving it away to someone else. This is brutal if you are a controller. Consider this: it is probably safe to assume that anyone who works with you already knows you are not good at anyways (just saying).

Summary: Understand Rest is a Weapon; Realize you do not have all the answers; Take a break from work and be present at home or wherever you are; Recognize that you are not the smartest person in the organization; Work yourself out of a job.

You are off to a great start!

The role of a true manager, leader, parent, is to train others up to take your place, or in the instance of kids – train them up to survive without you – work yourself out of a job!

Jesus trained His disciples to carry on the work without Him, and so must you.

As you take off certain responsibilities from your plate and give them to others, you get more time to do some of those things you had “hoped” to do. You empower those around you to feel more “needed” and they work happier and so do you.

All in all it is a win/win situation.

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