Monday, March 8, 2010


by Wayne Cordeiro

Anyone knows that a car does not recharge itself by the mileage it accumulates, by the beauty of places it's been to, by its brand of make, or by the reputation of the passengers it carries. Why then do leaders go about as though being immersed in incessant rounds of meeting, recounting previous successes, or garnering reputation and accolades will fill the tank of their soul anymore than car draw fuel from mileage, destinations or its good name?

Wayne Cordiero himself suffered burnout and survived to warn others before it's too late. He wrote: "During this winter season, the only things I had to hold on to were the disciplines I had already built into my life. In the same way, when you go through dark seasons, you will be restricted by, or released to, what has already been established within you soul." It's so true that we need to build good habits when we have the luxury of time, for when life situation changes and we face time crunches that work against us, we won't have any good habits to fall back on.

Naturally, he homes in on tell-tale signs of early burnout or depression that would elicit either tears of laughter or sobs of sobriety. He also recommends a good dose of solitude and R&R in the life of a leader. In the chapter on Solitary Refinement - Miles without Maintenance, he pointed out from Matthew 26:11 "You will always have the poor among you" on the reality that there will always be some issues that may never be resolved, no matter how hard we try. It then becomes important to really settle in our souls what each of us would actually be held accountable for in our lives. Thus, the importance of examining ordinary concerns vs true responsiblities.

Cordiero is a much-needed voice in the startling silence on the need for silence and solitude in a believer's life. "Silence and solitude can renew and replenish a soul in drought." I see that believers are in drought more often than we admit or take time to discover.

I like the REFLECTIONS that come at the end of each chapter which is a short testimony of a pastor or leader who has come out of the woods to share about their own depression or burnout.

Chapter 6 "Finding the Still Waters" is a precious read and reminder to all in leadership to consider factors that would enhance our shelf lives and those that deplete it.

I begin to see a large sphere of Meaningful Things To Do in my life. Within this is a smaller circle of Necessary Things To Do, and within this, a smaller subset of Crucial Things To Do which is the sustenance of myself. Afterall, can a plane fly safely without the pilot able to make good judgments?

In Chapter 10 "The Intentional Life", he wrote: If you happen to be responsible for an aircraft and its passengers, you will do well to pay close attention to those instruments [on the dashboard]. Ignoring them would be insane. In some emergency situations, the pilot will find it necesary to change flight plans and land at a secondary airport. Yes, a central concern is certainly getting from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion, but the lives and safety of those on board are more important. A pilot understands this more than anyone else.

This book is for anyone facing imminent burnout, experiencing burnout or celebrating a commitment towards a balanced life.

Where you can get it: S$20.50 SKS Books ISBN978-0-310-27593-0 [published 2009]
Level of impact: Immediate; finished the book in 5 days
Timing of book: The day I got this book, a friend counselled, "Now that you know the problem, you need to do something about it." This book gave me the courage to do just that! For anyone who feels headed for the wall and living on analgesics, take heed the warnings in this book and get back your life.