Christian Business Wisdom Seekers

header photo

Never Coast

Never Coast

“Moses has a long career. He begins as a shepherd in the wilderness of Midian. He comes before Pharaoh and leads the Israelites across the Red Sea. Then he stands at their helm for 40 years as they wandered through the desert.

If anyone could have gotten away with resting on their laurels and position, it was Moses. His authority came directly from God. When he was challenged, God punished the perpetrators.

Yet, Moses remains focused and forward-looking throughout his life. He does not stop doing or caring. Indeed, the Bible tells us that near the end of his life, “his eyes were undimmed and vigor unabated,” writes Rabbi Moffic

Do you have any leaders who have coasted? What message did that send you?

Let’s review some of Moses’ characteristics again. As found in Spark’s notes, “God propels Moses further into the roles of prophet, priest, ruler, and savior of Israel.” Moses didn’t assume the mantle of leadership, but it was thrust upon him. Yet he assumed the mantle and with disciplined determination and enthusiastic energy led the Israelites for over 40 years and brought them to the promised land. As we already mentioned, at the end of his life, “his eyes were undimmed and vigor unabated.”

One key attribute was Moses’ humbleness. He knew it wasn’t his power but God’s power. He knew it wasn’t his fight but God’s fight. He was a loyal, trustworthy, and tireless leader of the people.

What does “coasting” mean?

When I think of this, I always am reminded of the life cycle of a flower. In short, the moment it stops growing it starts dying. I like what Christian coach David Cooke wrote, “Nothing lasts, and nothing gets better without a whole lot of intentionality and work. We all are braking, coasting, or accelerating.”

The definition of a coaster is found in Investopedia – “A coaster is an employee with low ambition and low productivity who does just enough to get by.” I am not fond of the use of the term employee; this type of attitude can be found at any level of a company or organization. But more importantly, it is a matter of degree. Any business that is operating with any pressure on the brakes is only hurting itself. A leader cannot allow this to happen.

There is a case for the other side as well. There are countless stories out there about how continuous stress becomes overwhelming and can lead to burnout. Sometimes, stopping, resting, and taking a break is just the thing to do to gain a new perspective. As Jessica Stillman writes in INC.COM, “No you are not a slacker.”

I like what Jill Bachman; MSN has to say about coasting:


Coasting has two types.

  • The first type of coasting happens when something isn’t working. This coasting can feel like inertia or trying to run through molasses. There is conflict to avoid, or perhaps you are feeling underutilized. Maybe you have overstayed your time in a role, or in a relationship. Are you uninspired? Coasting often shows up at work because people are trying to deal with personal problems or issues at home that take up lots of energy. This type of coasting needs intervention to help you get on a more fulfilling path.
  • The second type of coasting is when you make a conscious decision to lighten things up a bit. This coasting requires our awareness, perhaps a plan, to make sure that the lightening up does not become a habit that spirals into the first type.


The keys here are that positive coasting is a deliberate action, a healing action, or a chance to sit back and re-evaluate. There is nothing wrong with trying to find a balance between work and home, or your comfort level with how much you can accomplish without falling into burnout or stress-induced illness.

Strategic coasting could look like this:

  • Still putting in your required hours and completing the work you are assigned.
  • Doing your part as a team member.
  • Taking your lunch break.
  • Not taking on more new initiatives.
  • You have planned this action to last for a specific period of time – not necessarily forever.
  • You are recharging your batteries after a hard period or tough assignment.
  • You find that periods of coasting lead to greater creativity.

But negative coasting looks like the following!

  • Lack of effort
  • Checking out
  • Arriving late – leaving early
  • Spending more time on social media
  • You may not be there for someone who needs you to get something done.

CNBC reported that data suggests the pandemic has made coasting widespread. A recent survey of 11,000 U.S. workers found 39% were doing it and a January 2022 study by Gallup revealed that half of the employees reported they’re neither engaged nor disengaged at work.

Why does it happen?

Yes, the pandemic has a hand in it today, but this is not the full reason.

Deeper underlying issues at work

        Not being appreciated

        Not being rewarded, or rewarded adequately

        Missed promotions

        No, or inconsistent reviews

        Linked with no, or inconsistent goals

        Being undervalued or under-utilized

        Don’t see long-term growth for themselves

        Generally being unhappy at work

What can we do to get back on track?

  • Have clear job descriptions
  • Show gratitude for good work and going beyond expectations
  • Place the right people in the jobs they are good at and like doing
  • Put in place a job mentorship program. It helps the mentor and the person being mentored.
  • Have regular performance reviews

You as the boss or owner, what can you do?

  1. Write out why you started the business and what you wanted to achieve. Then write your own employee review and be brutally honest.
  2. Create a new goal list. Next to each goal, write what you will gain by achieving it and what you will lose by not achieving it.
  3. Get a good outside coach or mentor to bounce things off and hold you accountable.
  4. Think of 5 ways to show appreciation to your staff.
  5. Come up with 5 ways to show appreciation to your clients.
  6. Get healthy, workout, get proper rest, and eat well.
  7. Spend one day every 2 weeks to see what is out in the marketplace, see how you can improve your customer experience, or figure out something fun to do with your staff.
  8. Promote and encourage work-life balance.
  9. Get employee feedback. Sometimes it will hurt, but how else can you improve and grow?
  10. Try to have someone in place to mentor another employee.


Finally, what can you do to boost your game?

  1. Find inspiration, a mentor, or a coach. Sometimes the cost of these gets paid back in a multitude of dividends by your improved creativity, happiness, and income.
  2. Make the time to audit a community college or university course.
  3. Reward yourself incrementally from small wins to large wins and from achieving your small goals to large goals. If you don’t treat yourself for success, why do it?
  4. Figure out what part of your day you are most productive and slot that time to do your work. The rest of the time would be for meetings, research on what is happening in your industry, or finishing tasks.
  5. Stop multitasking. We all think that we can do several things at the same time, but we can’t. Work on one thing at a time and do it to the best of your ability.


Whatever your definition of success, works towards it. In general, even little successes can greatly enhance our happiness and gives us confidence moving forward. It is vital for our survival and the company’s survival. Most importantly, it gives us a sense of value. We feel that what we are doing is valued by others and is thus, worthwhile. One of the strongest motivating factors in most people’s lives is being appreciated and feeling like we are in control of our lives. Live the life God intended you to.

Chuck Groot is an author, speaker, and teacher. His love of God has spanned over 6 decades and he finds the more he studies the Bible, the less he knows, the more he succeeds the more dependant on God he becomes, and that there is nothing outside of loving God our Father and being loved in return.




Cardone, G. (2011, March 22). Success Is Important! Retrieved from Huff Post:

Christian, A. (2022, March 29). Rather than quit, more and more employees are happy to just get by and collect their salaries. Is it necessarily a problem? Retrieved from BBC:

Cleary, S. (2019, May 16). 10 Tips to Become a Successful Business Owner. Retrieved from Score:

Cooke, D. (2022, August 21). Are you braking, coasting or accelerating. Retrieved from

Coursera. (2022, August 16). How to Motivate Yourself: 11 Tips for Self Improvement. Retrieved from Coursera:

Czerwonka, E. (2022, June 29). How To Keep Employees From Coasting. Retrieved from Buddy Punch:

Eures. (2022, July 15). How to boost your productivity at work. Retrieved from Eures:

Harper, J. (2022, July 17). COASTING AT WORK: IS IT GOOD OR BAD? Retrieved from The HR Digest:

Kelly, J. (2022, April 1). Retrieved from Forbes:

Kenton, W. (2020, June 22). Coaster. Retrieved from Investopedia:,work%20to%20keep%20their%20position.

Lalzary, G. (2022, October 31). 15 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale (Updated for 2023). Retrieved from Connecteam:

Lamia, E. (2019, December 30). Is It Time To Strategically Coast At Work? Retrieved from Forbes:

Maggie. (2013, May 10). 10 Ways to Boost Your Own Morale. Retrieved from creative income:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2022, August 21). Synonyms & Antonyms of reticent. Retrieved from

Mind tools content team. (2022, 11 06). Top 10 Personal Morale Boosters. Retrieved from mindtools:

Moffic, R. E. (2019, Octover 18). 20 Things you can learn about Leadership From Moses. Retrieved from YFC:

MSN, J. B. (2019, October 25). Is it OK to Coast? Retrieved from Thunderbird Leadership Consulting:

Patel, S. (2022, May 17). 23 Pro Tips for Running a Successful Business. Retrieved from Hubspot:

Seabury, C. (2022, July 3). How to Grow a Successful Business. Retrieved from Investopedia:

Shenton, C. (2022, August 8). How to manage your coasting employees. Retrieved from weekly10:

Shonna Waters, P. (2021, May 26). The 7 surefire ways to boost employee morale. Retrieved from BetterUp:

Sparks Notes. (2015, 8 22). Characters. Retrieved from SparkesNotes:

Stahl, A. (2018, June 28). 5 Ways To Increase Your Productivity At Work. Retrieved from Forbes:

Stillman, J. (2015, July 30). Why It's OK to Coast at Work (No, Really). Retrieved from Inc.:

The Institute of Leadership & Management. (2022, October 23). How should leaders manage coasting workers? Retrieved from institurelm:

Zulkey, C. (2022, March 17). 5 proven methods for boosting employee morale. Retrieved from Slack: