This past Saturday, I attended the 2019 No Regrets Men’s Conference – an annual event sponsored by Elmbrook Church near Milwaukee and broadcast to 120+ Host Sites in the U.S. and Canada. I was one of 10,000 men coming together with the shared desire of becoming better servant leaders at home, in church, on the job and out in the world.
The theme for this year’s conference was Relentless. I came home pondering this word. What exactly does relentless mean? Am I relentless?
According to Merriam-Webster, relentless means “showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace.” In other words, determined, dogged, unflinching, and unyielding. I wasn’t satisfied with these “steamroller” connotations to relentless, so I kept looking.
According to Vocabulary.com – “When you're relentless about something, you mean business. You're not stopping until you get what you want, and you're not taking "no" for an answer. People might try to steer you from your goal, but you have eyes only for the prize and they're just going to have to get out of your way.”
Because I believe the best leaders are inspiring team builders who bring the people in their lives along with them, I don’t like the “I’m coming no matter what” and “you better get out of the way” aspects of relentless.
But there are parts of this second definition of relentless that I do like, including meaning business, not stopping, not taking “no” for an answer, and “eyes on the prize.”
Here are some more words that might help our understanding of what it means to be relentless. As Paul, the relentless church planter and evangelist wrote in his letter to the Philippian church, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal…” And, at the end of his life, in his last letter to his protégé Timothy, the relentless Paul was able to write: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
At the moment, members of the CPA profession are entering (or have already entered) the busiest and most relentless season of the year. Whether it’s your first busy season or thirty-first, it will take every bit of relentlessness you can muster to meet the challenge and make through to April 15th.
How can you prevent the relentless nature of busy season from being a “steamroller” to you and the important people in your life? How can you fight the good fight and once again finish the race?
If you want to be relentless this busy season (or in any season), here are five ideas:
- Be realistic and don’t try to do too much. Set your priorities and keep a very short list of the important things you will relentlessly keep doing during busy season - no matter what. Things like staying visible and in communication with your family and friends, being encouraging to your colleagues and available to your clients. Also training and developing your staff by delegating and taking them along. Narrow your focus to only the most important things.
- Whatever goes on your calendar you are highly likely to do. Once you identify the most important “non-negotiable” things you are committed to do and keep doing during busy season – schedule them in advance. For example, your business networking activities, exercise, and family dinners. Don’t just “hope and wish” these things will happen– get them scheduled!
- Manage by walking around. Get out of your office and check in with your colleagues to see how they’re doing. Keep the lines of communication open with your clients and your project teams so all is ready to get started again once busy season concludes. Be a “team builder” and encourage others to keep going. You will encourage yourself at the same time.
- Take care of yourself. During busy season there is too much hard work, stress, and just plain sitting around. Not to mention junk food. I know it’s a crazy idea, but be committed to taking one day off each week to rest and recharge your batteries. Keep up your regular exercise routine, or if you don’t have a regular routine get outside for a 30-minute walk three times per week. Remember it’s hard to be relentless in caring for others unless you care for yourself!
- Start over. Busy season is relentless and it will get the best of you from time to time. Don’t listen to your negative little voice – you are not a loser or failure. You do get “credit” for the good things you were doing before going off track. The only true failure is not starting again. Forget what lies behind, strain forward to what lies ahead, and press on toward the goal…”
This is the essence of being a relentless leader: Keep going. Never quit. Always start over again.
Are you relentless? We will continue to help our clients to succeed as leaders by working on their relentless attitude and approach to the busy seasons of life. If you have ideas or experiences to share, please post them so others can benefit.