Leadership is changing.
Our relationship with work is changing. We want more meaning in our daily lives and that also means more meaning at work. Let’s face it, work is where we spend most of our time and at the end of our lives, work has consumed most of it. We don’t look back and say, “I wish I had worked harder,” but we might look back and say, “I wish I had made a bigger impact.”
Now I am not trying to encourage regret here. My dad, when he was dying, did not realize how many people he had made a difference for. He received letters and emails thanking him for the impact he had made in someone’s life, simply by listing to them, having conversations with them about their hopes and dreams, and encouraging them to see the best in themselves and dare to show it. You know that thing, we think we have to hide. Our vulnerable self, which then turns out to be our golden nugget and what makes us not just a great human being, but also a great leader. Not a weakness, but a strength. Especially as leaders, we tend to think we have to hide our humanity at work.
Let me add here – we knew he was dying for about 6 months, so we spent the time talking about what mattered to him in his life. He reflected and learned about himself even till the end. And I learned so much about making conscious choices by listening to him. I learned to dare live my true convictions and passions and to stand for what is important to me. Even if I would stand alone for awhile. He did, and then people joined him. He was a leader in the 70′, 80′ and 90′ and he passed away in 2001, so you can imagine he was ahead of his time, bringing his humanity with him to work.
Will you stand for something?
Now this is not a tribute to my dad, it is a tribute to leadership with guts. And it is going to take a slightly different turn that you expect I think. I am not going to talk about daring and believing and standing alone and going for it in spite of fear. I am going to talk about, how we take care of ourselves as leaders every day AT work so that we can pay attention, be present and emotionally and mentally available to the people around us.
The other side of that could be slow down. But it is not. At least not quite. I do encourage pausing, because that is how we can observe, reflect and then act according to our higher purpose and intentions. Or focus on what matters rather than what is just urgent.
The first step in becoming a conscious leader, a caring leader, a mindful leader, a leader with impact and a culture around her or him that is engaged, committed and healthy… is a healthy leader. We have to come out of survival-mode and work on performance-mode instead.
Most cultures are not practicing healthy habits at work and most are working on survival-mode, waiting for relief around the corner. It is not sustainable to work in that way.
What is important?
What is important for me, is that we can take charge of our health AT work. I had to leave my career to take care of myself. It is simply not fair to ourselves, that we have to choose between our health and our work and that we leave self-care behind, instead of bringing it with us to work.
Will you be the leader who practices good work-habits and leadership self-care AT work? Do you have the guts to take better care of yourself AT work, so that your people can do so too? Do you have the guts to pay attention and listen, so that your people feel that they matter? Do you have the guts to pause and ask, “how are you or what do you think?”
It takes guts to stand for something, to change a culture that is used to pushing forward without taking care of ourselves and include our humanity at work.
To stop the burn-out epidemic we need self-care AT work. Please also read the article “Leaders who lunch are better leaders” too.
Let me give you a few steps to start practicing:
- Drink water – and drink even more water. Quit the sugary drinks, the coffee with milk and all the stuff you use to keep you “pumped up”. It is not working long-term, it depletes your energy and your health, -and it takes your attention away from what is important because of how the caffein and sugar affects your brain.
- Get your sleep – 7-8 hours. No discussion. Otherwise you end up looking for sugar and caffein to keep you going. Research now compares lack of sleep with being drunk.
- Get your 3 meals a day. Make it a time away from the work-mindset. Not only does your body need the fuel (nutrients and calories) to keep going all day, your mind needs the pause to stay focused and engaged all day.
Stay tuned for the next article about how to have a healthy gut and why it matters, not just for leaders, but for anyone who wants to achieve peak performance at work, at home and on the go.
To learn more about leadership self-care and how it can change the way you work and thrive as well as your company work-culture visit jeanettebronee.com, where you can also learn more about executive health coaching, speaking engagements and company workshops.