I have watched a couple of engineers within my organization continuously succeed and be promoted on their professional journey. I told one of the mentors of those engineers that he did a very good job of not only mentoring them but, multiplying himself. What he did for them, they did for others. The trend continues as the next group is now mentoring a new slate of young engineers.
I pondered whether or not I was multiplying myself and determined that I was not doing a very good job. Sadly, it revealed a mindset I have:
“I’m the ONLY one who can do my job. It is ALL my responsibility. I cannot trust anyone else to get the job done. If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.”
If you have this mindset also, then you and I both need what Dani Johnson calls the Jethro Slap. In other words, we need a wake up call!
Journey with me to Exodus 18 and you will find that Moses was not setting himself up to successfully fulfill the call on his life; he had too much on his plate. Not only was he leading the people to the Promised Land, but He was also serving as the lawyer, jury, and judge!
I can relate to this overwhelming and exhausting reality; can you? Not only have I been a leader in various situations, but I have taken on many roles that should have been given to others; consequently diminishing the effects of my leadership.
At home, I continue to do a majority of the housework (i.e laundry, cooking, cleaning) even though I have teenage children that are able and very capable of doing the work themselves. I continuously fall into the “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself” mindset instead of patiently teaching them how do it correctly.
At work, I continue to shoulder much of the administrative work (i.e. develop the documents, make the revisions, facilitate the teleconference), in addition to my technical work, because I want to free up everyone to do what they do best. What about what I do best?
In organizations for which I am a member, I lead the organization, head up the special committee, develop the needed document, plan the event, shop for the event, and may even speak at the event.
In my small group, I lead the Bible Study, study and prepare for the Bible Study, make the copies, secure the meeting location, and send out the invite.
No wonder I get burned out and just completely stop doing everything. I got tired just writing that little bit; unfortunately, there is so much more!
Doing all these good things keep me from doing the great thing that I have been uniquely gifted to do!
What is one to do? Well we must learn the lesson Jethro gave Moses, his son-in-law. I love a good, juicy story so let’s observe a conversation that Jethro has with Moses found in Exodus 18:13-18, ESV.
“The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.”
Moses thought he was doing a good thing because it was in service of God, but it was too much to handle. Moses was leading over one million men, and this does not include the women and children! Can you imagine having a line of people to help all day, every day, with no relief and no help because of the new laws and the new nation that was being established? Jethro wisely told Moses that what he was doing was not good; instead he needed to train up other people to help lead and share the workload.
“Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.” Exodus 18:19-26, ESV
Moses needed to multiply himself so that he would not burn out and the work could continue when he leaves. What about you?
What work needs to continue after you are gone? If you peruse the Gospels, you will find that Jesus did exactly what Jethro suggested Moses do– he multiplied himself also. He chose 12 disciples that would carry on the work when He left this world. He even gave a mandate to them in Matt 28:19-20 to go and make disciples. In other words, make sure you multiply yourself!
We have that same mandate-we must multiply ourselves. There is a lot of work to be done and we cannot do it by ourselves.
Quit worrying that you will not get the credit.
Quit worrying that it takes too much time to teach someone.
Quit thinking that you will lose your significance.
Quit worrying about the fact that you must show your weakness.
A candle does not lose its flame by lighting another candle.
Soooooo…light another candle.
With the dawn of the spring season upon us, join me in taking on the challenge to multiply. As John Maxwell says, if it is lonely at the top, then you are not doing something right. When we leave our job or this world, our skills go or die with us; but if we take the time to multiply ourselves, the work and legacy can go on.
This is your slap in the face to wake you up.
M U L T I P L Y
When you plant a harvest, you always reap more than you sow!