“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? ...Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

How do you define success?  

Increasingly, the leaders I spend time around are talking about the currency of margin…of having "white space" in their calendars.  They are celebrating the opportunity to have the bandwidth to think strategically about their business and actually “work on them” versus just “working in them”.  Several have even noted the guilt they are feeling at not being overwhelmed and working so many hours.

Good problem to have, right?  

And they aren’t being negligent, by the way.  Their teams are organized, clear on their responsibilities, and getting things done.  They are tackling the greatest obstacles facing their businesses and breathing the clean air of momentum and change.  A small business leader said that things are going so well that he is a little nervous.  He described one of his measures of success as…

Inbox zero.

Other leaders assumed he was an aggressive deleter and was just ignoring most of the challenges that the rest of us face with our inboxes.  But that was not the case whatsoever.  He is:

  • caught up
  • on top of everything
  • addressing each issue, challenge, or piece of information in his inbox as it comes

Tell me you didn’t sigh when you just read that.

Caught up?

On top of things?

Margin to address everything in real time?

In retrospect, that is a fantastic barometer for success.  

By contrast, we were in a leadership meeting and had teed a leader up with some great data on his team’s success for him to celebrate in the meeting.  When the perfect opportunity presented itself in the meeting, we encouraged him to share the information he had.

He didn’t know what we were talking about.

He hadn’t seen the e-mail.

Our conversation after the meeting revealed that it had been lost in the 17,000 unopened e-mails in his inbox.


The world is moving really fast.  The speed of information exchange is only increasing.  As leaders, we have to figure out how to get caught up, handle our challenges in real time, and actually start to provide vision and direction for our teams.  

If you are really interested in doing something about it, let us know.  We’ve got some concepts and tools to share that will really help.


  • Would you describe yourself as caught up and on top of things?
  • Is your inbox at zero unread messages or is there some other way you define success in this season?
  • What is not getting addressed or handled because you are so behind?
  • What is it costing you to not be at inbox zero?