Is Your Tank on Empty?

A familiar reply to the question, “How are you?” is “Busy, so busy!” I hear this from many leaders, clients, and colleagues. I get it because it has been my reality, too. We are conditioned to focus on productivity and getting things done. It is easy to keep our minds and bodies moving with activity and stress. We don’t think we deserve a break. At the same time, I emphasize to the leaders I work with the importance of being present and available to people. Your presence is not just physical; it’s about being fully engaged and attentive, which can make a significant difference in your relationships and decision-making.

Our team members and clients yearn for our undivided attention. This may sound simple, but it’s not always easy, especially when exhausted and depleted. However, when we invest in self-care by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and nurturing meaningful relationships, we not only replenish our energy but also enhance our ability to engage generously in our interactions. This self-compassion also allows us to be more empathetic and attentive listeners, leading to more effective decision-making and stronger relationships. The benefits of self-care are not just personal; they extend to our professional lives, making us more effective leaders.

Take a few moments to recharge. Find a place that brings you peace, whether it’s a park or a body of water, either in reality or in your mind’s eye. Allow yourself to unwind and rejuvenate. Take a series of deep breaths. Observe how, even after a brief respite, you feel more energized and ready to connect with yourself and others. Notice how tasks seem more manageable. Taking breaks and incorporating play is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for your wellbeing and productivity. Make a conscious effort to be fully present in your next interaction. Set aside your devices and any pending concerns. Observe the impact on both you and the other person when you give your full attention and are truly present.

Reflect on how you support yourself in filling your empty tank. What strategies do you employ to ensure you’re at your best? How do you prioritize self-care in your leadership journey?

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