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Healthy leadership is all about alignment.

A groundbreaking 2017 report from Barna Institute, studying 14,000 Protestant lead pastors in the United States, revealed some alarming statistics:

  1. 37% of lead pastors are at medium to high risk of burnout
  2. 40% are not energized by ministry work
  3. 66% have no deep friendships

Pastors in the United States suffer a rate of depression four times that of the general population (Expastor.com 2015). And unfortunately, we see amazingly talented and character-filled leaders leaving the ministry way before they should.

Some of them are losing their marriages. And some of them, tragically, are ending their lives. A big reason leaders struggle? They’re misaligned in their personal life, or in their professional life . . . or both.

I go to a chiropractor occasionally to help me address back/neck pain. When a chiropractor aligns your spine, you experience two huge benefits:

1. It keeps your body balanced and upright.

2. Your central nervous system can efficiently facilitate communication between your brain and the rest of your body.

When the spine is misaligned, your body is thrown off balance and is forced to work harder to compensate. The more aligned our spine, the healthier we become.

So it is with personal alignment. I’ve created a short checklist to help you figure out at a high level the degree to which you’re aligned in your personal life. When aligned correctly, we’re able to handle life’s challenges with more energy, effectiveness, and resiliency. When we’re misaligned, success in our relationships, work, and in reaching goals seems harder and requires more effort.

It’s my belief seven components to personal alignment exist:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Medical
  3. Psychological
  4. Physical
  5. Schedule
  6. Relational
  7. Rhythmical

Achievement without personal alignment is possible, but problematic. If you get aligned in your personal life, it sets you up to win in your professional life . . .  without it crushing you.

I’d like to tackle the first 2 components of personal alignment in today’s post.

1. Spiritual

Possessing a for-real, growing relationship with Jesus Christ is foundational to personal alignment. If you’re out of tune spiritually, it’s difficult to be aligned. Health will continue to elude you. Working on our relationship with God helps us understand our identity is not what we do FOR God, our identity is our adoption BY God. Leaders who lead FROM their identity find it easier to stay aligned. Regular times of prayer, Scripture reading, and journaling help us grow spiritually. The second component of personal alignment?

2. Medical

We ask our clients who report suffering from depression, “When was the last time you had a physical exam?” Depression can potentially issue from hormonal imbalances. For example, people with low levels of the thyroid hormone often experience fatigue, weight gain, irritability, memory loss, and low mood. When the hormonal imbalance is treated. it usually reduces the symptoms of depression. Your medical doctor is an important part of your personal alignment team.

So, the two first orders of business to get aligned are very practical. Work on your relationship with God, and schedule a visit with your doctor.

Now, you might be wondering: “John this is so basic, does it really work?”

When leaders come to us for help, they’re often struggling with anxiety and/or depression. Many of them are considering quitting vocational ministry. We take them on this seven-step alignment journey, and almost always, near the end of our engagement, they experience a significant breakthrough.

We hear unsolicited comments like:

“I’m dreaming again.”

“My creativity has returned.”

“My confidence is back.”

This happens over and over again during the alignment journey.

You might be thinking: “Interesting thoughts John, but so what? Why should I care about getting aligned?” Because when we’re misaligned, everything in life just seems harder.

The more aligned you are, the healthier you’ll be.

The healthier you are, the better chance you have of reaching your full potential as a leader.

The healthier you are, the longer you can do what God has called you to do.

If you’d like to start the alignment journey with Converge Coaching, take advantage of the free resource we’re offering today: The Personal Alignment Checklist. It will give you a 50,000-foot view of the current alignment level in your personal life.

In a matter of minutes, you’ll figure out where you need to get better aligned, and jumpstart your journey toward health, Or if you’re ready to go deeper with us on your alignment journey, reach out to us at our website convergecoach.com and click on the Get a Free Consultation button.

Well that’s it for part 1 of our 3-part series on alignment. In our next post, we’ll explore the impact of the psychological, physical, and schedule components on our personal alignment.

I’m rooting and praying for you to win!

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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