Leaders Must Take the Lead On Self-Care

Well Being. Self-Care. Meditation. If you want your team to embrace mindfulness at work, lead by example. One of my favorite rituals at the start of every new year is to take a moment to pause, take stock, and simultaneously reflect on the past year and set my intentions for the year ahead. An important […]

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Well Being. Self-Care. Meditation. If you want your team to embrace mindfulness at work, lead by example.

One of my favorite rituals at the start of every new year is to take a moment to pause, take stock, and simultaneously reflect on the past year and set my intentions for the year ahead. An important part of that ritual is to write out my goals for both my business and my personal life. Not only do I think this is a valuable exercise for individuals to undertake, but I think this type of reflection and goal-setting can be incredibly beneficial for business teams as well.

Needless to say, as I went about this ritual earlier this year, it was abundantly clear that the transition into 2021 was different than anything many of us had ever experienced. While I am thankfully one of the fortunate ones who was able to continue working from home during the pandemic, like millions of Americans, I spent the better part of 2020 trying to maintain a boundary between my personal and professional life. I made mac and cheese while finishing a pricing call and I put clients and colleagues on hold to handle an IT issue for my daughter’s school video class. Even though my family didn’t suffer the hardships faced by millions of Americans, maintaining balance was hard. 

By the same token, I tried to be appreciative of the benefits of being able to work from home. Not only was I able to spend more time with my family, but I also found that I didn’t have to cultivate two separate personas…me at work and me at home; I just needed one. I was one person and that one person had roles to perform in my business life and my personal life. 

I’m a big believer in creating a vision board to help inspire me to achieve my dreams. For the uninitiated, a vision board is a collage of images that represents your goals and can serve as a visual reminder and source of inspiration. This year, for the first time in almost 20 years of vision boarding, I had one board that encompassed both my personal and professional lives. 

While these types of visual motivational cues and reminders have always been tremendously beneficial to me personally, talent leaders are also realizing they can be helpful for businesses as well. The Deloitte Human Capital 2021 Trends found  it has become imperative for leaders to integrate workers’ physical, mental, financial and social health into the design of work itself rather than addressing well-being with adjacent programs. 

I was considering this trend when preparing for one of my first meetings of 2021. I had the opportunity to lead an onboarding session for one of our new client teams on well-being, self-care and meditation. I’m always delighted to have an opportunity to bring these topics into a business conversation – I mean, if it works for great leaders like Arianna Huffington and Bill Gates, it will probably work for you too! – but I sometimes struggle with how to introduce the topic. I was putting together my presentation and I thought…maybe I could kick-off the meeting by using my own vision board?

I took inspiration from Dr. Brene Brown’s TedTalk on “The Power of Vulnerability,” where she discussed how when you create a state for vulnerability, you’re creating a space that shows others they can be vulnerable too. I firmly believe that when you can encourage a colleague to be vulnerable, and show them that their  well-being is important, you create a culture that produces happier, and more productive people and employees.

My vision board only took up a moment of the onboarding session, but my goal was to show new team members that it’s not only ok to take care of themselves, but that I strongly believe that self-care, mindfulness, and well-being are critical to both my own success and a key component to the success of my teams. I encourage any leader who wants to incorporate mindfulness into their business workflow to have the courage to be vulnerable and share more of themselves with their teams. I’m confident it will not only help everyone on your team personally, but will lead to business success as well. 

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