Self-care: a leadership duty

Marathon runners talk about “hitting the wall”; that point at which the body’s energy reserves are exhausted and further progress becomes an agonizing “survival shuffle”.  What is less well known is the effect that exhaustion has on our ability to think.  As we tire, our mental capability degrades far more quickly than our physical capacity.  Someone who has gone without sleep for twenty-four hours can still shovel snow.  Just don’t ask them to do a crossword puzzle, or give an impromptu presentation, or lead a team in solving a new problem.  I know, I’ve been there.

Leadership is an enormously demanding mental activity.  When a leader “hits the wall”, their ability to think, to empathize, to deal with complexity and change disappears.  No force of will can change this fact.  When you “hit the wall” you are no longer able to lead effectively.  You will pay the price.  So will your organization.  So will those that you are leading.

What are you doing to deal with the demands leadership is making on your body, your mind and your spirit?  Let’s talk about it.