Shining Brightly: Taking Care of Yourself is Good Business
New England’s coast is notorious for tricky currents and rocky shoals. Lighthouses were essential guides to ships that brought cargo into the harbours. As you might imagine, maintenance was important to keep these lifesavers operating. Lighthouse keepers had to polish each mirror and make sure the light burned brightly and consistently. They did this job every day of the year, regardless of weather or other considerations. All because they knew that lives depended on them
Standing tall in spite of the elements
Many of the lighthouses were built on hard-to-reach rocky promontories. They were subject to all weather conditions and the constant battering by the ocean waves. It was not at all unusual for a lighthouse to be inaccessible in the winter months due to the famously ferocious New England storms. It was a place of harsh elements and it was crucial that the lighthouse was always working.
The ongoing negative economic news can seem like the incessant crashing of ocean waves.
The ocean leaves its mark on the rocks and buildings as the waves crash against them. It’s okay to acknowledge that you feel battered and bruised. You work hard to light the way and give your staff a vision that engages them. You encourage your sales team to build good and profitable relationships with customers. You watch emerging trends the market so you can capitalise on them. It makes sense to feel weary, stressed or discouraged.
Maintenance of YOU is as essential as polishing the mirrors and monitoring the brightness of the light in a lighthouse.
People depend on you. You depend on you. How are you taking care of yourself? The effects of stress on the body are well documented. And while lower levels can serve a positive purpose, experiencing insomnia and chronic irritability isn’t the best choice. How does your exhaustion and negative mood serve your business?
Suggestions to get you back shining as brightly as a beacon.
- Take some time off. Maybe you can’t take a two-week holiday. You can take an hour, a late morning, an early afternoon or a whole day. Just relax and be yourself. Go home and take a nap, play like a child or just sit on a beach.
- Laugh your *&# off. Laughter is like a mini-vacation. It releases the natural painkillers in your body leaving you feeling high and relaxed. Talk with that funny friend, watch a silly movie or see a comedian perform.
- Unplug yourself. Even if it’s just for lunch 2-3 times a week. It might feel quiet and weird to shut your phone off and leave your laptop in the office. However, it is calming when you become mindful of your environment, other people or the food you’re eating.
- Talk to someone about your worries, dreams and plans. Talking with a mentor, coach, trusted peer. friend or family member can help you hear what’s going on in your head. There’s crazy stuff playing in our heads and letting go of that negativity re-focuses us. Make an effort to pay attention to your dreams and plans so you re-fuel your motivation and hope.
Good leadership depends on self-maintenance.
Business leaders are often work-oriented and other-oriented. Couple this with the rough seas in the marketplace and it’s easy to forget that you’re human. However, like the ships looking for a lighthouse to help them navigate tricky waters, your employees are looking for you to consistently guide them through these turbulent times. Make it easy and habitual for yourself. Simply put, take care of you, the leader, with the same conscientious attention that was given to the lighthouse.
“Keep your flame lit, and you will never feel darkness.” -J. Parker