Don't Forget to Lead Yourself

Spiritual Disciplines and Isolation

Leadership can be a lonely place. When life gets hectic, it can be easy to withdraw from both the pursuit of spiritual maturity and close relationships. Brett Biggs, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart has been there and learned from his experiences. Gleaning from a long career in leadership, he shares some advice on how he stays connected amidst the pressure of work.

Brett Biggs is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Walmart where he is responsible for accounting and control, corporate strategy and development, business planning and analysis, internal auditing, treasury, tax, global shared services and several other key areas of the company.

No matter who you are, life gets hectic and when that happens the spiritual side of life can become easy to neglect. As a Christian, growing in your relationship with God has a direct influence on your leadership and it does not happen unless you are intentional about it.  

What practices do you have in place to pursue spiritual growth? What could you do to be more intentional about this area of your life?
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In what ways do you see your spiritual life affecting your ability to lead well? How does that connection play out practically in your interactions at work?
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Pursuing spiritual growth often begins with small, but intentional steps. Brett shared how he receives emails with Scripture each day and keeps a stack of books by his bed to remind him to pay attention to his spiritual life. It's also important to pursue trusted relationships to guard against isolation, which is easy to experience in leadership.  

Leaders have both the responsibility and obligation to ensure their organizations perform well. Without care, that kind of pressure can create a sense of isolation and loneliness that becomes detrimental in leadership. 

In what ways have you experienced the kind of isolation Brett described? How did it affect your ability to lead? What impact did it have on the culture of your organization?
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How do you respond to the pressures of your position? What have you found helpful for relieving some of that pressure?
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Who are some trusted individuals in your life that you feel comfortable asking for advice? If you're lacking in such relationships, who could you reach out to this week? What steps will you take to do so in the coming days?
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No one naturally pursues spiritual maturity. In the same way, without careful attention, relationships can slip away as well. For leaders, it is especially important to be intentional about self-leadership for the sake of your company and your people. Take some time to consider how you can strengthen your spiritual practices and deepen relationships with those who offer healthy career advice. Don't let the pressures of work draw you away from what matters most.

See more from Brett in his course It Starts at the Top: Faith and Work Integrated.