Self-care is the first and the most important step to living one’s life to the fullest. When you care for self, you care for others. To put it simply, self-care is all about how you manage your health, mind, emotional intelligence and relationships. It becomes all the more necessary at specific points of time in your life, especially when you find yourself in undesirable situations.
Self-care is the best investment you’ve ever made or will ever make, with assured returns for life. It only takes a turning point when you not only start enjoying it, but will yearn for it. Good self-care is also common knowledge: we have been hearing right from childhood the importance of good food, good habits, hygiene, exercise, meditation, laughter, and so on.
Not only are you at your best, you start understanding others better. Being available for and taking care of others becomes your priority. So, who gains? Both you and your relationships. You feel stronger and the others start seeing the strength in you. With self-love, you start getting your priorities right and in the process, sharpen your focus. You start seeing a different you, someone about whom you feel proud of and begin experiencing qualitative living.
Importance of self-care for leaders
Let’s now see the role and significance of self-care, especially if you are a corporate leader or in any other leadership role. This role is all about inspiring others by keeping oneself adequately motivated. In today’s highly competitive world, being ‘very good’ is just not good enough. You have to be a unique, unmatchable leader. How is a leader different from a manager? Leaders have followers who look up to and draw inspiration from the leader, whereas a manager is just concerned with his/her team’s work and output.
Leadership traits are conceived and developed only by best self-care. The two most critical ingredients of a great leader are robust health/peak fitness, coupled with learning and personal growth. These are very critical as one cannot expect positive contributions from someone who is unable to ensure sufficient self-care in the first place. Moreover, a corporate leader is under severe pressure, what with the prevailing atmosphere of severe competition, extremely long working hours and highly stressful life.
To counter these challenges, one needs to be highly disciplined when it comes to personal well-being. This demands a transformed lifestyle, strict dietary control, regular physical exercises, etc. In other words, one needs to be in the pink of health. Only this will ensure one can stand up to the rigours of work and bring freshness into one’s respective responsibilities.
But that alone doesn’t suffice, because now comes the second part of the challenge: learning and personal growth. This is a very key part of self-care. People look up to leaders who are knowledgeable, well experienced, inspiring, and who carry their teams along. Without these traits, a leader can never be effective within his/her team or outside the organisation, and will give away the advantage to competitors on a platter. A leader who fails to assist and guide the team or by identifying their learning and developmental needs will become the biggest failure.
There is an old saying: ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. The going for a leader is always tough and being tough is the need of the hour. Only peak fitness and hunger for learning and personal growth of self and others can ensure the team delivers well and in time, and always remains hungry for more.
It is essential that leaders rank highly on both the above parameters. Both personal well-being and the urge to learn have an effect on each other. And neither is constant. This is where the challenge is—you need to be on your toes and keep working on them tirelessly. This pattern is very similar to the handicap system in golf: the better your golf is, the lower your handicap and an increase in your handicap means your golfing standard has dropped. Take care of yourself if you are serious about taking care of others in your life. Otherwise, you may not only let them down, but yourself too!