Take Care of Yourself First (So that you are 100% for them)

Nov 07, 2022

It’s common for people to think that great leaders are all about other people.  They sacrifice for other people, and they have others’ well-being in mind ahead of their own. 

What I'm about to say may be a bit controversial or counterintuitive, but I think at the core of all great leaders is an understanding and awareness that if they don't take care of themselves first, then they're not available to take care of others.

It’s like when you're flying in an airplane, and the attendant always stresses that the oxygen masks will drop in the case of an emergency. And if you're traveling with a child, you must make sure that you put on your mask first, then help the child. The same is true with leadership. If you don't have oxygen as a leader, you’re not at your best, and you may suffocate. 

Early in our careers, we may think we must help everyone – a kind of martyr syndrome. We're giving everything to our team, and we don't have any time for ourselves or our families, or our interests. We're workaholics. And we may say to ourselves, we're only here in service of others, and that's why I'm so darn tired and overworked -- and quite frankly, pissed off with life to some degree.  Or at least mildly annoyed and dissatisfied. Well,  if that's where you find yourself now, or if you can see yourself in this scenario,  I'd like you to consider that there's a new level of self-care.

I'm not here to prescribe what's best for you, but we all know what taking care of oneself means. It's some balance of your health, your diet, your fitness, your sleep, and your mental health.  It's a balance of enough time for you to enjoy what you love to do, your hobbies, and your sports.

Perhaps we prioritize the communities you serve, where you volunteer, or family time. We rarely think that we're sacrificing something for something else. It is possible to have all these components work. However,  it starts with your mindset: you must take care of yourself first. For me, what's important is that I recognize if I get tired or overworked, I'm not physically feeling well, and I need to step back from my business. I need to step back from the day-to-day. I need to go for a walk, even if it's just15 minutes, I need to take a weekend off. I need to travel. I need to take three days by myself to recharge mentally and physically and sleep and replenish.

I've learned over time that if I start to get irritated with people if I lose my sense of humor if I'm forcing results, if I'm blaming somebody or something,  those are all indicators that I'm not in high-performance mode. What I need to do is step back, rejuvenate and replenish.

I need to get my life force back so that I’m present and available for others and not just going through the motions.

The high-performance habit here is about inspecting your life. Do you have the appropriate room in your schedule to look after yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, or whatever's important to you?

Are you honoring yourself, and are you dealing with it if you're not fully here and available for others? When you’re unavailable like that, you're doing others a disservice. Yes, we want to serve others, but to do that, you must be clear. If you're not a hundred percent and not committed to being well, then you're not available to give your best self to others.

A high-performance habit is to look at your life and add a self-care activity that would make a difference in you being more available -- by looking after yourself first.

Find more resources on leading your team to success here.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.