10 Things That Wake Leaders Up At 2:00 AM

There are perks to leadership and there is a price to leadership.  Nowhere is this better demonstrated than what wakes you up in the middle of the night.

We’ve all been there.  The anxiousness, the stress dreams, the pit in your stomach that sometimes come with the leadership responsibilities we carry.  It’s so hard NOT to carry these issues to bed each night but nonetheless they are periodically our unwelcome companion.  The following list is the things that often wake leaders up. 

  1. New Ideas – This is a welcome interruption.  Sometimes creative energy generates thoughts when least expected.  I don’t mind having this occur.  Always keep a notepad and pen in your nightstand and capture these nocturnal bits of genius.
  2. Defining Moments – For leaders, this is the child the night before Christmas.  Whenever I have a big speech, meeting, or significant activity about to take place, sometimes I have so much anticipation that I simply re-visit an event that has yet to happen.  While ideas are part of my creative process, this activity is part of the preparatory process.  I don’t mind waking up to this one either.
  3. Difficult Conversations – Difficult conversations either the previous or following day many times will wake me up. 
  4. Missed Expectations – If either myself or my team are not hitting goals, it can and often does interrupt my evenings.
  5. Fear – I know it’s a sin but am I the only one worries about the future?  What about the job, or that client, or the pending contract, or a health issue, or something with my family, or the A/C breaking, or…..you get the picture.
  6. Intuition – Do you ever get the sense that something is wrong or that you forgot something?  I’ve learned to trust that still small voice.   
  7. Cash Flow – There are very few things that weigh you down like financial responsibilities.  Whether it’s a company you may lead or your personal bank account, I have probably spent more sleepless nights over this issue than any other.
  8. Market Changes – This is something you really can’t help as a leader but it will wake you up.  I know many loan officers, construction workers, bankers, and pastors who have struggled over the impact of an economic crisis they simply have no control of.
  9. Family – Nothing attacks the fiber of your being and burdens a person like family issues.  Enough said.
  10. Mistakes – I’ve never understood people who say “I wouldn’t change any of the mistakes I’ve made because they’ve made me the person I am today.”  Really???  I would love to have a series of do-overs in my life.  Matter of fact, I know of something I would like to change that happened an hour ago.   

Well that is my list.  Tell me what keeps you up at night and we’ll talk about it…just not at 2:00 AM! 

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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