By Andrew Hughes
Let’s be honest, leadership is not easy. In fact, effective leadership often requires us to make personal sacrifices, deliver unpopular decisions, and perform consistently under a high level of stress.
How do we, as leaders, take care of our own well-being while enduring constant change and giving our best selves to our people and our organizations?
Last fall, I had the fortune of participating in Google’s Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI). This two-day interactive leadership development workshop uses mindfulness practices, neuroscience research, and emotional intelligence concepts to “…help individuals and organizations sustain peak professional performance with ease, grace, and compassion, and ultimately, create a more peaceful world in which all people feel connected and act with compassion.”
As a doctoral student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Administration and Leadership Studies (ALS) program, I found out about the opportunity through Professor Beth Mabry who teaches leadership theory and practice at IUP. Dr. Mabry collaborated with Dr. Joseph Croskey, Assistant Professor, Advising Services at Clarion University to organize the workshop. Joseph is a certified facilitator for SIYLI (and also a graduate of IUP’s ALS Ph.D. program!) and offered to deliver the workshop to current and former students.
Joseph was an incredible facilitator. His style was authentic, collaborative, and warm. Joseph studies and practices mindfulness and seeks to enable human flourishing in and outside the classroom. If you’d like to connect with him, you can reach him at 814-673-3686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few lessons I learned that I hope can help all of us take care of ourselves in our 2020 leadership practice:
- Show compassion to yourself. We can be our own worst critics, which is not always helpful. Remind yourself that you are doing your best, even on the tough days.
- Become aware of your negativity bias. We tend to jump to worst-case scenarios when things don’t go how we expected. Remember that failure is always temporary and strive to see the positives in the most challenging of times.
- Journal for a few moments each week. Get those repetitive, unhelpful thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Your writing may even lead to a breakthrough insight!
- Go for a walk. This may be harder to do in the winter, but a brisk 10-minute walk can change your thinking pattern for the better and exercise the body.
- Try meditating. Even a few minutes practice can quiet your mind when experiencing stress. Here is a free guided meditation from the SIYLI website.
The start of a new year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our leadership practice and decide the steps we will take to develop ourselves further.
What will you focus on?
As you approach your 2020 goals, I encourage you to find ways to prioritize self-care using the recommendations I mentioned above. Engaging in self-care will give you the energy and ability to better serve your team or your cause!
Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2020 from https://siyli.org/