It was 5.56 a.m. one Friday morning. By this time I was completely sweated down. I had been in the spin class (stationary cycling for your non-gymers) in full workout mode for 26 minutes. I had already gotten the heart rate racing a couple of times and now I was approaching the mid-way point in class. If memory serves me well, which is a complete toss-up, my mind had began to slightly wonder as we were simulating a long 9 minute climb. Somewhere during my mind-wander, when I heard the words of the instructor, I immediately snapped back into road warrior mode. “How’s your level of exertion?”

A simple question based on a simple scale. “1” being you could do this in your sleep, “10” being you could do this for 30 seconds before you go into cardiac arrest. As spin instructor, Lori’s job is to push us to achieve our very best. Her job is to push us to achieve an acceptable level of fitness. Her job is to make sure that if we are insane enough to arrive at the gym before 5.30 a.m., we might as well give our very best.

During the middle of the class, while I should be at my best, her one simple question snapped me out of a day (well, morning) dream and made me realize that I had began to settle into an easy routine of climbing and not giving my best. My level of exertion was not as high as it could have been and should have been. I was looking the part – I was there, I was spinning, I was sweating . . . but . . . and here’s the big thought . . . I was there but I wasn’t giving my best effort. Again, I as spinning, I was sweating, I even had a front row bike, but I had allowed my effort level to wane and her one simple question made me realize that I wasn’t giving my finest effort. And if I’m going to show up pre-five-thirty in the morning, don’t you think I should give my finest?

The same applies to our levels of leadership – on a scale of 1 to 10, how’s your level of exertion?

You are there, you are a leader, you have a position. You look the part, you’ve got the good seat in the pecking order or organizational chart, you’re even sweating a bit from the work. But are you really giving your finest effort? It’s a simple question – how’s your level of exertion?

We can never allow our mindsets and our work modes to settle into mediocrity. Mediocrity is the top of the bottom and the bottom of the top – it’s average and people aren’t looking for average leaders. Your church, your job, your organization, your children, your spouse, your God doesn’t need an average leader. No one willing pays to see an average show. No one intentionally pays for an average book. And no one gives their life’s energy to follow an average leader. People follow exceptional, people follow exertion—so, how’s your effort level, how’s your level of exertion?

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