After a recent interview on The Leadership Beat podcast, I was left replaying in my mind something this CEO said. He said that his doctor told him that he was killing himself with his mind. His lack of self-care over the years was catching up with him and he’d be dead within a year if he didn’t quickly change his ways. Before this moment, he’d had no idea he was a ticking time bomb.

We’ve met a lot of type A, driven, high achievers just like this CEO who are probably headed for a similar fate or, at the very least, burn out before their time. The lesson for this CEO, and the one we hope you’ll take away from this article, was that he needed to incorporate daily self-care to ensure he’d be there for his loved ones and everyone else who depends upon him.  

As a senior leader, you’re an endurance athlete. Your role requires you to be a marathon runner, not a sprinter. Many people depend upon you: your employees, your organization, your family and other loved ones. And now, the added stress of a global pandemic, along with the many extra business and financial pressures are piling up on senior leaders’ shoulders.

In our advisory of executives, we know that quality of life is a key component of leadership longevity. Most leaders have no idea how much risk they take on, and the negative impact to their quality of life, by not practicing self-care. So, what is a busy executive to do? What are some strategies you can implement to practice effective self-care in a limited amount of time?

What does self-care mean for executives?  

We regularly see that the biggest payoffs for busy senior leaders can be found in these three areas. Click on each of the three links to download and get more insight on why these areas matter most and a list of tips that you can use to take action.

  1. Increase Compassion for Yourself and OthersBeing more compassionate and kind toward yourself makes you less biased and judgmental toward others and better able to create deep, meaningful connection with other people.
  2. Create a Strong, Healthy Body -- Changing your habits and daily routines to create long-term health and stamina allows you to fuel your body as an endurance athlete.
  3. Optimize Your MindsetGiving others the best version of yourself is the best thing you can do for other people.

What self-care means to each of us is as individual as we are as people. The only one who can take care of yourself is you. We encourage you to add a couple of new tools from this post to start.

  • Begin with micro-goals.
  • Don’t try to rebuild the house in one week. Instead, pick two things you think could have a positive impact on your life and do them each day for a week.
  • Then re-evaluate. Ask yourself, Did this help? Do I notice anything different? Does this feel good?
  • If you can answer yes to any of these questions, keep using that tool the next week and add one more tool to your daily routine.

Before you know it, you’ll have your own collection of self-care tools, tailor made for you, that you’ve turned into productive and beneficial habits. You’ll feel better, you’ll be healthier, you’ll be your best you, and you’ll be the leader whom people know they can depend upon for the long haul.

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