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soul-safeI have noticed a trend with several of my clients lately where they feel guilty for making time for themselves. This is showing up in more than one of my clients so I know many of you are wrestling with this too.

You want to be an effective leader but you have so many obligations fighting for your time that something has to give and usually it’s you. But I believe that without good self-care, you cannot be a good leader.

It is detrimental to your soul’s well being to allow your responsibilities as a leader to trump everything else in your life. So to help you stay whole, here are four ways you can protect your soul from your leadership

Permission Granted

The first thing you have to do is give yourself permission to take care of yourself. You can’t run a car on an empty tank and you can’t be an effective leader/friend/wife/mother if your tank is empty.

Understand that those you serve, at home and at work, ultimately lose when you are burning both ends of the stick. You are not being narcissistic or selfish by giving yourself this permission; you are being a good leader.

When you take care of yourself well, you are better able to take care of those around you. If you can’t give yourself permission for your own sake, give it to yourself for their sake.

Be Intentional to Break Bad Habits

Scheduling back-to-back meetings, running from one appointment to another, eating lunch at your desk every day, and over scheduled weekends. I bet that if you take a quick glance over your life, you can find one or more bad habit that you’ve picked up over the years.

There was a time in my life when I wore my busyness as a badge of honor. It made me feel important to have so many things scheduled on my calendar. But the fact is I was doing my team and myself a huge disservice.

Where are you guilty of wearing your busyness as a badge of honor? Be honest enough with yourself to see where you need to break some of these bad habits then start making some changes. Start small, maybe commit to eating lunch away from your desk 3 days a week and work up from there.

Say No More Often

To get out of those bad habits you are going to have to get better at saying no.

I know you feel obligated to be at every meeting and help every person who asks you. But just because you can do it and have the time to do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.

Ask yourself this one question to decide what you should do “what will I have to say no to in order to say yes to this request?”

If it means saying no to yourself or your family in any meaningful way, then you have to say no to that request. Saying no there means you can say yes to what matters most.

Schedule Your Self-Care

In today’s society, if it doesn’t get scheduled it doesn’t get done. You have to make it a point to schedule your self-care. And I don’t just mean schedule a spa day.

I mean something as simple as putting an alarm on your calendar that reminds you to get up from your desk every couple of hours; another to remind you to go to bed on time (I admit to needing this alarm or else I will not get enough sleep. And trust me, nobody wins when I don’t get enough sleep).

It means blocking out one weekend a month that your family is not going to do any scheduled events and just have family time together.

If you are an introvert, energized by time alone, it means intentionally scheduling alone time so you can recharge.

If you are an extrovert and you need the energy of other people, it means making sure you have a girls night out scheduled with some friends on a regular basis.

Whatever you need to do, get it on your calendar and then do it!

I know there is a part of you that might feel like taking time to do these things will detract from your leadership. But the rat race style of leadership doesn’t work for women (and I would venture not for men either but that’s a post for another time).

You have to take time to nurture your soul because in doing so you actually nurture your leadership.

Take time today to care for the soul of your leadership

From my heart to yours,

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I am leading a 3-part training session on how to Lead Without Losing What Matters Most? If you want to delve more into the idea of soul care as a leader, I would love for you to join me. Click here to learn more.

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