If your leadership responsibilities include managing employees or being a parent, chances are you’re especially vulnerable to stress. Your responsibilities, to-do-lists, and what’s at stake are often overwhelming. Ask most about their priorities, and they will likely say, “I always put my family first”. After all, it’s a virtue to put family, the company, and just about everyone else ahead of ourselves, right?
But, is a recipe for long-term success and purpose-filled leadership putting others first and sacrificing your own well-being in the process? Nope. And, it often results in failure.
While it may come as a shock to consider the idea of putting ourselves first to elevate our leadership results, hear me out…
Think of a time when you were faced with an impending deadline or a critical meeting? How did that affect you?
For most of us, the answer is pretty predictable. We scramble to find more time, our thoughts racing quickly, perhaps we unknowingly clench our jaw or our fists, have tightness in our chest, and our sleep is likely impacted as our adrenaline kicks in.
Reflecting back, what impact did it have on your leadership?
Having trouble focusing and feeling more stressed is a typical outcome. Others become more reactive and get angry, isolate more, are triggered much more easily, and have less access to creative problem solving. Any of this sounds familiar?
The fact is, taking care of ourselves first is not an idea born of conceit – it’s a leadership imperative. Just like we are instructed prior to a takeoff, we need to put our oxygen mask on first before helping others in an emergency. Apparently, we’re much more valuable to others when we’re breathing.
Seems like a basic concept; however, how many of us forget to put on our oxygen masks first?
Think of consciously created self-care as necessary leadership maintenance. Without it, we burn out, get run down, experience heightened stress levels, and become much more prone to myopic thinking and reactive behavior. Clearly, our company and co-workers don’t get the “best” version of ourselves.
Deep down, we instinctively know that when we take time for ourselves to pursue our passions, do the things we enjoy, and create a clear distinction between our work and home lives – we end up feeling happier and healthier. “Me” time is not a “me being selfish” time – it allows us to de-stress, renew, and create reserves of energy and calmness.
When my clients share all the reasons why they don’t put themselves first and plan more “me” time in their schedules, there are three arguments that commonly come up: “I will feel guilty”, “I will be too selfish”, or, the most popular, “I don’t have enough time”. And, the more giving and caring you are, the more these judgments become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
With healthy priorities and emphasis on self-care, you’ll not only have greater capacity to handle all of the daily challenges with more focus and gusto, you will have more patience, perspective, and the ability to live in a space of gratitude.
So, I invite you to identify what areas of your self-maintenance you may be neglecting, and what the consequences are for you and the people in your life.
Tune in with us next week for some concrete ideas to elevate your leadership by setting healthy priorities and practicing “self-centered” time!
To see what’s possible by partnering with an expert leadership coach, contact Canyon Bridge Consulting right here: firstname.lastname@example.org