Where do your best ideas come from? And how do you move from a good idea that’s worth considering to a great idea that’s worth implementing and accelerating – one that will enable your church or ministry to take major steps forward?
An important part of a leader’s day is spent working with ideas. That may not be how you categorize your time. You may see think of time spent in meetings, assessing information, or making decisions. But in each of category, you’re working with ideas, trying to make sure the best ones rise to the top. The input of other people is essential in this process, but for this blog, I want to focus just on your thinking.
I can’t ever remember a great idea that was fully formed the moment that it entered my mind. Whether I’m working on a chapter for a book, a strategic plan for a church, or an organizational assessment for a ministry, there is always a process of reflection and improvement to get to the final product. That process is only possible if I have “soak time.”
Soak time is when I am not sitting in front of my computer, actively working on the issue. It’s the less structured and less pressured space when my mind can wander and wrestle with various ideas. For me, soak time is when I’m running, or driving to meetings, or in the shower (figurative and literal soak time). That’s why I don’t listen to music or podcasts when I run, and why I sometimes drive in silence.
Obviously, soak time requires time. It’s only possible if I’m far enough ahead to let a project sit for a while. I may write a draft of a report and then put it aside for a day. Or I might need to say, “Let’s wait until next week to make that decision. We don’t have to do it right now.” If I want an idea to soak, I can’t treat my schedule like a jigsaw puzzle, cramming something into every second of my day.
Are the big issues on your leadership agenda getting enough soak time? What difference would it make for you and your church if they did?
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