“Stress is a condition of most of modern life,” Robert Greenleaf writes in The Servant as Leader.  

This reality is especially true for us as servant leaders going out ahead, showing the way, and carrying the burdens of other people.

Those of us who aspire to be leaders fall into one of two camps, Robert tells us.

There are those of us who enjoy pressure. We may even seek it out because we know we perform best when the situation is intense.

And then there those of us who do not like pressure and don’t thrive under it, but who want to lead and are willing to endure the pressure in order to have the opportunity to lead.

The art of withdrawal serves both. 

“The former welcome a happy exhaustion and the latter are constantly in defense against that state,” writes Robert.  “For both the art of withdrawal is useful. To the former it is a change of pace; to the latter it is a defense against an unpleasant state.” 

As servant leaders, we must constantly ask ourselves, how can I use myself to serve best?

Pacing oneself by appropriate withdrawal is one of the best approaches to making optimal use of the resources we have been given.  


Reflection: Do I give myself enough time to withdraw to optimize my energy and focus?

Action:  Block out time this week to practice withdrawal.

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