Some of the world's greatest leaders have learned that taking care of themselves first gives them the advantage needed to support, impact, and inspire others.
Whether you're a CEO, founder of a startup, non-profit visionary, small business owner or the face of your personal brand, prioritizing yourself is the key to sustainable success.
As leaders, people depend on us to make the right decisions for progress, clearly communicate our vision, challenge others to step into their greatest potential, and lead by our core values. It's our responsibility to lead from a place of confidence, compassion, and integrity.
In order to rise to your full potential and make an impact, you have to make decisions that honor yourself first and foremost.
In Bob Rosen's book, Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World, he makes the case that through taking care of yourself, you are able to tap into your full potential as a leader and create better results. After doing extensive research on hundreds of executives around the world, he discovered that self-awareness allows you to show up grounded in life.
One of the biggest mistakes I see passionate leaders make is sacrificing themselves to be of service.
We've been conditioned to be people-pleasers and it's had an influence on leadership styles. For some, the act of selflessness gives a sense of righteousness but can cause overwhelm and exhaustion.
If this is your default way of working, you could be missing out on a major opportunity for growth that not only impacts you but others too. There is a solution that doesn't involve perpetual cycles of burnout, which ultimately sacrifices your sanity and happiness. It's called being selfish!
Being selfish is a form of self-respect and is essential to your ability to support, impact, and inspire others.
Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about the "what's in it for me" type of attitude where you're only looking out for yourself with no regard for others. The type of selfish I'm referring to is the prioritizing of your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health above all else.
If you're having trouble with the idea of prioritizing yourself, then consider your higher purpose to serve others. You owe it to the people who count on you to work in a way that supports your best interests. As a result, you'll be able to fully show up, add value, and make an impact.
Here are 6 selfish acts that will make you an extraordinary leader:
1. Make You Your #1 Priority
Putting yourself on your calendar might feel a little silly, but it's a surefire way of scheduling time for personal growth and development. Self-care practices can come in many forms, but some of my favorites are exercise, eating well, getting massages, reading inspirational books, meditating and napping. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the time needed to recharge and rejuvenate so you can sustain your energy.
2. Work Your Personal Agenda
First, you have to clearly define what's important to you. Your personal agenda doesn't only focus on work but also other parts of your life that inspire you. Beneath the surface, you have your own objectives, goals, and aspirations to fulfill. Throughout your daily interactions, keep your agenda in the forefront of your mind so you can make decisions that align with your goals. Focusing on what excites you will help you sustain your motivation, drive, and ambition.
3. Make No Your Default Answer
Every day you're surrounded with what can seem like endless opportunities, choices, and decisions. Unfortunately, you can't commit to everything and trying to do so will invite overwhelm into your life. Saying no will disappoint some people, but you'll also find that others will appreciate your honesty. The next time someone requests your time and energy, say no if it doesn't align with your leadership mission, core values, and personal agenda.
4. Walk Away With Dignity
Walking away from a deal or letting go of something that's no longer serving you can be liberating. Of course, before making any commitments you want to be sure you're able to give the time, energy and resources necessary to get the job done. However, things don't always turn out as planned. Honoring a commitment is admirable, but if you're not honoring yourself in the process, have the courage to walk away with dignity.
5. Play To Your Strengths
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help to optimize your workflow. Tasks that drain your energy should be delegated to someone more equipped for the job so you can spend your time doing things you enjoy. Leveraging your strengths and talents will help you create a greater sense of fulfillment in your work.
6. Create Clear Boundaries
As much as I love to blur the lines between work and play, boundaries are necessary. Establishing limitations for how far you're willing to go sets the standard for how others treat you and prevents people from taking advantage of you. Boundaries also give you the time and mental space to show up for the people who are important in your life. After all, you're not just a leader, you're also a friend, lover and all of the other wonderful roles you play!
Incorporating these selfish acts in your life will help create sustainable success not only for yourself but for the people you're meant to impact.
Being the visionary behind the movement can be challenging and exhausting, yet the most rewarding position you'll ever have. Having a method for making decisions that honor yourself first will help you rise above those challenges to become an extraordinary leader.
Noelle Bloom is a Lifestyle Strategist who can help you have fun, live free and feel fabulous while building your business. Have a fabulous business lifestyle today, instead of waiting until X, Y and Z to finally start living.
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