Why leaders need to take care of themselves if they are going to support others

There is plenty of discussion about lockdown fatigue and its impact on mental health. The message is clear about the need to support each other, and those who are distressed, within our families, workplaces, communities, and churches throughout this period. I am aware of leaders making heroic efforts to check in with their teams adopting a variation of Fi Slaven’s mantra, “I’m here if you need me.” But where do leaders turn for support? You can only be effective in supporting your team, colleagues, or family members if you are taking care of yourself.

It underscores how important it is to have your own practices to maintain your mojo. When I received Gareth Andrews’ recent blog post about finding joy exercising in the park and watching his dog roll in the autumn leaves, it reminded me we do not need to complicate it. Sometimes simpler is better. Getting out for a daily walk is an important ritual for me. Austin Kleon, in his book Keep Going, celebrates the rejuvenating effect of getting outdoors and taking a walk. Kleon quotes film director Ingmar Bergman, who told his daughter, “The demons hate fresh air”.

Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh Marz have a similar theme in a recent HBR article, The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time. They suggest that generating good ideas and quality work requires something all too rare in modern life: quiet. They say, “This kind of silence is about resting the mental reflexes that habitually protect a reputation or promote a point of view. It’s about taking a temporary break from one of life’s most basic responsibilities: Having to think of what to say.”

Meditation is one of their suggestions. There is solid evidence to support the value of the silence people in all walks of life find in meditation. Billionaire Ray Dalio, considered the most successful hedge fund manager of all time and founder of $160 billion Bridgewater Associates, expounds the value of Transcendental Meditation, saying it has been “the single biggest influence” on his life.

🙋‍♀️ What are your practices for maintaining your mojo?🙋‍♂️

Best Regards, Brian