Taking care of yourself MUST be a top priority for every servant leader. If you don’t take care of your personal body, mind, and spirit, you will have an extremely hard time effectively serving those within your sphere of influence.
Last week, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend 5 days with Sylvia, my 5-month-old granddaughter. After thoroughly enjoying this time together, I reflected and observed that leaders could learn a lot in the area of Extreme Self Care from infant children. After all, I guess Jesus did say, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Here are the 8 lessons I learned from Sylvia about Extreme Self Care:
- Smile – It is amazing what a smile will do to the people around you! It makes you feel better too. Nothing better than seeing a 5-month-old smile and laugh. It totally changes the environment and feel in the room. I think that’s true in the workplace and family environment as well.
- Maintain a Schedule – It is very important as a leader to have a “System of Leadership”. Predictability within your schedule will allow you to be a more efficient leader. Sylvia is on a very set schedule. She eats, naps, plays, and sleeps at the same time each day. It helps her, and her parents.
- Eliminate Tolerations – Tolerations are what you put up with that rob you of energy, presence, focus, and peace. It is important to recognize them in your life, and be intentional about dealing with them. When Sylvia is not happy with something in her life, she makes sure she takes care of it by letting the people around her know something needs to be done. She does not tolerate being hungry, having a dirty diaper, being too cold or too warm, etc. We should place that level of emphasis on getting rid of our tolerations.
- Delegate Tasks – It is important to maintain a balance in your life. As leaders you can’t do it all. Sylvia delegates a lot of tasks that she is not yet efficient at. Yet she focuses on things only she can do, and she does them well. Figure out the things that others could be doing as well or better than you, and delegate them!
- Stay Curious – As a leader, one of the greatest qualities you can have is curiosity. It’s good for your mind. Asking great questions will enhance your learning, and will also help others into a state of discovery for themselves as well. Sylvia is curious about everything! Most everything is new, and she is willing to try anything for the first time. She is learning everyday!
- Get your Rest – It is absolutely critical for a leader to get the proper amount of rest to enable them to be on top of their game. There have been plenty of studies that have illustrated the mental and physical benefits of rest. When Sylvia gets the proper amount of rest in her scheduled naps and sleep, she is an absolute blast to be around!
- Exercise – It is very important for a leader to maintain their physical well-being. I have found the better physical shape I am in, the more energy I have to do all the things I need to do to properly serve people. Sylvia is in constant motion. She exercises her body her every waking hour.
- Solitude – This is where you nurture your spirit. Jesus made it very clear on the importance of solitude and connecting with the Lord’s will on your life. Making a habit to do this on a consistent basis will feed your spirit and keep you healthy in that area. I noticed Sylvia sometimes just enjoys her time on her own. I wish I knew what she was thinking about!
In the busyness of our lives, these components of Extreme Self Care can often be put on the back burner. Soon they are so far back you can’t see them. I would challenge you to find an accountability partner or coach, to help you in this area. I will guarantee, focus in this area will enhance your life, and increase your level of influence and effectiveness as a leader.
Where are you going to start in making improvements in your “Extreme Self Care”?
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3