How are you? Don’t answer “I’m fine”. I’m being serious. How are you? You’ve been leading through some incredibly chaotic times! You’ve been taking care of your staff. You’ve been taking care of your family. You’ve been taking care of your friends. When was the last time you took a moment to check in on you?
The first six months of 2020 have been a lot. We’ve now been in some form of physical distancing, stay-at-home orders, and business restrictions for almost four months. We’ve taken part in countless virtual meetings, seeing others only on our computer monitors. Many have not seen family or friends for an extended time.
About six weeks ago, our country was rocked by the death of George Floyd. The rage of centuries of oppression and racism erupted in cities from coast to coast. Voices have been, and continue to be, raised. Companies have stepped up to meet the challenge to listen and learn. Perhaps your company is one.
Our businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. Leaders are being asked to make sense of it all. We are confronted by issues on all fronts. What’s a leader to do?
Pause. Yes, pause. Take a moment. Think about you. How are you feeling? What is your body telling you?
Please, pause. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you feeling irritable? Anxious? Down?
- Have you lost some of your motivation?
- Are you unable to focus?
- Do you have difficulty sleeping?
- Do you have muscle tension or new aches or pains?
- Are you unable to have fun?
If you answered yes to one or more of these, chances are you are under stress. Depending on your answers, you may be under severe stress.
I know, I hear you. Stress is nothing new. You’re always under stress. Leadership comes with stress. What’s important is you are powering through. You are checking on your team. You are driving your business forward through the challenges. If you consider yourself a servant leader you are justifying the stress by saying your job is to take care of those around you.
I’m urging you to pause. Get in touch with what you are feeling and why. Rest. Reflect.
There are five essential elements to counteract adversity and reduce the impacts of stress on our wellbeing.
Safety – One of our basic needs is to feel safe. If your safety is being challenged are there things you can do to move yourself to a greater feeling of safety?
Calm – If you are feeling tense or anxious can you calm yourself? Are you able to help yourself feel more relaxed?
Connection – Do you feel a connection with others? Can you talk to your spouse or significant other? Can you phone a friend?
Resilience – Do you have a feeling that you can get through these challenges because you have faced challenges before?
Optimism – Do you have a sense of optimism or hope for the future?
So. Let me ask you again. How are you feeling? Do you need one or more of the essential elements? Do you know where to get them? Take time to pause, take time to rest, take time to reflect. Your followers need you in your best possible condition to guide them through the next 90 days and beyond.
Let me know how you are doing. Post a comment or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.