Successful leadership takes more than your gifts, knowledge and talents as a leader. It is also about how you show up as leader. If you are tired, stressed and distracted, you will not be able to lead effectively. Too many leaders focus on gaining more knowledge and ideas on leadership, and neglect their self-care. Let me suggest a few simple steps for taking care of yourself that, along with your gifts, knowledge and talents, will help you be a more effective and successful leader.
Get enough rest. This is key to having a good day. If you are tired, nothing you do will make you have a nice day. Tiredness makes you grumpy, short-tempered, low on energy and unable to focus. It is important that you get to bed at decent time so you can get 7–8 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep gives you a fresh start to the day.
Focus your mind. Start your day with some time set aside to focus your mind on what is important to you. You may call it quiet time, devotions, time with God, or me time. Whatever you may call it, most important is that you set time aside at the start of your day.
Get some physical exercise. I can hear the sighs from those who are thinking they don’t have time, or just don’t want to exercise. In reality, you feel better, more energetic, more focused and emotionally positive after 20-30 minutes of physical exercise. According to US News & World Report just a 20-minute workout can boost your mood for hours. In Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, coauthors Tom Rath and Jim Harter tell us, “It is so easy to put things off, but when people exercise in the morning, in many cases they did so because over time they realized that working out in the morning puts you in a better mood and you’re more productive and you have more energy throughout the workday.”
Let’s face it, exercising in the morning may not be practical for you, and I get that. What I am challenging you to do is get it in sometime during your day.
Eat a healthy breakfast. This will be a challenge if you don’t plan for it. Over the years I have made it a habit to have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. This is not instant but old fashioned oatmeal, which is more nutritious though more time-consuming to prepare. Each morning I give myself enough time to have a healthy breakfast to start my day.
Avoid high-calorie, high-sugar breakfasts that give you a quick energy boost. Those boosts are usually short-lived and tend to lead to obesity. This is because high-calorie, high-sugar foods burn off more quickly, leading to energy loss and feelings of hunger. This then leads to eating more high-calorie, high-sugar foods or snacks in order to get another energy boost . . . and the cycle continues.
A healthy, high protein breakfast provides sustained energy and you are less likely to feel hungry soon after the meal.
Know your body; know which foods give you extended energy and which drain your energy. Energy-draining foods and drinks lead to lethargy, lack of concentration and sleepiness. Energy-giving foods and drinks do just the opposite.
Leading others successfully is really the result of leading oneself successfully. You can only lead effectively and successfully if you become intentional about taking care of yourself.
On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate yourself when it comes to being intentional about self-care? Are you satisfied with where you are on the scale or do you see the need for improvement? What one thing are you willing to commit to and start doing today in order to make the improvement you need?
If you would like help in achieving your goals in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.