I’ve written before about my good friend Mike, a licensed counselor. One thing about counselors: they all have their own counselor as a part of their self-care. People that help others also have people to talk to.
Being a leader is a demanding role, physically and emotionally. Self-care helps a leader be as close to “put together” as possible. Seems easy to understand, but what does a leader’s self-care look like? There are several disciplines, but let’s focus on what I see as the top three, outlined below.
First, go through a 30 min self-reflection exercise weekly. Every leader should reflect on their performance and journey. Look back on your past week and review what went well and what didn’t for lessons learned. Intentionally capturing lessons learned and building them into your future will help you bring your best self to the game. Look forward to next week’s or next month’s events to be as prepared as possible. Review your core values and personal goals to see if you’ve progressed toward them. And if not, why not? If so, how do we repeat those actions that moved us forward?
Second, practice positive self-talk. So many people say awful things to themselves, and it’s just not helpful. Being negative inside your head doesn’t lead to better outcomes. Here’s a quick rule: never say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say out loud to a coworker. You can dive deeper into this discipline by reading one of my previous blogs.
Third, review your boundaries. Reasonable boundaries keep us closer to being healthy and whole. Some questions to ask yourself include: Do you disconnect when the workday is over and on the weekends? Do you stay disconnected? Do you always say yes to others and no to yourself? Are you eating well? It’s okay to cross the cookie boundary now and then, but probably not every day.
Self-care is essential as a leader. Your team wants you to bring your best self to the game each day. When you’re whole, you perform better—self-care is a crucial part of being whole. You can’t give your team something you don’t have.