But what about you? As business leaders you can often be pulled from pillar to post. People want to drain your energy because you are the strong one. You are the resourceful one. You have all the solutions and make all the decisions!
When was the last time you considered investing the most valuable asset you have, your time, into you and you alone? When was the last time you took yourself over to the park, took off your shoes and socks and strolled though the lush green grass like Richard Geer did in the movie Pretty Woman? You may not have seen the movie but the lesson in that scene was powerful.
As leaders it’s ok to take time out and smell the roses. In fact it is necessary. We can only really give to others if we give to ourselves in the first instance. For you to be the best you can be you need to invest time into you and care for you. No one else can really do this on your behalf. Only you can. There is only one of you and you need to look after you.
Like the new BUPA advertising, what would you do if you could meet a better version of you? My question is, how do you create a better version of you in this hectic version of life that confronts us every day?
My answer is, invest time into you, especially at this time of year. Invest into you so you can be the best possible version of you. Here are 7 tips to get you started:
- Say No. Not an easy one to start with but hey. More than likely you will find the person that puts the most pressure on you is you! If you are tired, if you don’t want to spend time with people, if you need time out for you, just say no. You don’t have to explain yourself. You may feel as though you have to, fact is, you don’t.
- Read That Book. Pick up that book that has gathered dust on your bedside table, brush it off, open it and start reading. Even if it is only 10 minutes a day. Start reading. Reading is food for the soul and the mind.
- Block Time Out For You. In your diary where you have all your meetings, deadlines, coaching sessions, networking events and the rest, block out some time for you every week. Use it as reflection time, take yourself out for coffee, but use it just for you. Just an hour a week will do the trick.
- Book Your Next Holiday Now. Now this is something that should get you excited. Research has shown that not taking annual leave, and a good block of leave, contributes to burn out. No one operates at an optimum level when they are burnt out and dragging themselves around. Commit to going on a holiday and then plan around your trip. Accrued annual leave has increased significantly in Australia over the last couple of years. Your holiday doesn’t have to be extravagant, just get away. The world will survive while you are gone!
- Make A Time To Catch Up With Your Friend You Haven’t Seen In A Long Time. Pick up the phone and call the friend that you continue to say “Oh, I must ring X”. Because every week you say it when something triggers a memory. Do it now and lock in a date and enjoy the time you have with them.
- Get A Massage. We carry so much stress and tension particularly in the upper part of our body. Spoil yourself and get a massage. It can be as quick as 30 minutes but the benefits can be significant. It could be a good way to spend the time you have blocked out for yourself in Tip No 3.
- Do Nothing. Did you do a double take? Yes, I said do nothing. Sit and breathe. Notice what is going on around you. Sit in the park, take off your shoes and socks and feel the grass in between your toes. But that is it. Just sit and notice. Notice the simple things in life. They are around us but we miss them every day.
Great leaders will walk in the grass. Great leaders will take time out to smell the roses and take notice of the simple things in life. We simply can’t sustain the hectic lifestyle we are living and have lived over the past couple of years in particular.
A leader of mine had a funny saying “You are not a brain surgeon Julie. Life doesn’t depend on you.” True! So for those of you who are not surgeons and whom others life does not depend on, you can take yourself away, just for a little bit and reap the rewards.
Look forward to meeting a better version of you in 2012 and enjoy walking bare foot in the grass.