I used to tell people that if a meeting was not on my PDA (personal digital assistant) it did not exist. Even if I scheduled a meeting with you personally, I was not likely to show up if it did not make it onto my calendar. I know that sounds terrible, but it shows the extent to which some leaders are driven by our calendar. We don’t know where we are supposed to be next unless we check our schedule.
However, the flipside is also (mostly) true. If a meeting makes it onto my calendar, then I’m going to be there. This suggests that calendaring can help us overcome one of the biggest hurdles to our self-development: lack of time.
Putting self-development on our calendar—or more accurately, finding time on our calendar for self-development—increases the chances that we’ll take the time for it.
But getting self-development on our calendar is just half the battle. We still need to protect it against other demands for our time.
And that means overcoming another hurdle: not giving self-development a high priority. One way to make self-development a high priority is to make ourselves a higher priority.
Sometimes as leaders we value what we do more than we value who we are. And if we are brutally honest with ourselves, sometimes we rely on the special outcomes we produce to demonstrate to others how special we are as leaders. As a result, we neglect ourselves in order to focus on our work.
During those times it might help us to remember that our identity should shape what we do; what we do should not shape our identity. Ephesians 2:10 says we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works. It does not say the good works we perform make us God's workmanship.
Other times we give work priority over our self-development because we’re just swept up in the pace of work. During those times it might help us to realize that even though God is all and in all, He does not neglect us. Consider verses 17 and 18 of the 139th Psalm (TLB): “How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!”
We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God—shouldn't we give developing what God has made a high priority?