Self-care is something we hear about a lot. Forms of self-care might include getting a regular massage, splurging on a nice meal out after a hard week, napping on Sundays, or eating a decadent brownie dessert. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these activities – you’ll see me participating in one or two of these regularly! But are these little efforts to care for ourselves really addressing the source of our stress? Let’s talk about it.
True self care is more than a bubble bath and a glass of wine. Those two things may help calm you down, but the true care begins by looking at the underlying cause. Did your boss embarrass you in front of your team? Are you trying to keep up with kids and family life but feel like you keep falling short? Sure, a glass of wine might help you take the edge off, but it’s only a temporary fix. What isn’t often mentioned is the connection between what’s going on inside that caused the need for self-care in the first place. So much of what I talk about with leaders starts from our interior landscape. How do you assess the state of YOU?
I just hung up after talking with Lucy – a leader feeling the strain of leading–and although her clarity was strong, it was a hard truth she was facing. Her tiredness was acute as she realized that she had been focusing on taking care of everyone else at the cost of herself. From her colleagues and boss to her kids and spouse – the focus was completely on them. And she was exhausted. Giving her the permission to explore how she was doing was uncomfortable, but necessary. And these two false beliefs tumbled out: “I will disappoint people if I give myself what I really want” and “I’m not allowed to care for me.”
I hear these all-too-common false beliefs spoken frequently by kind, caring, hard-working people who are stuck. Giving ourselves the permission to care for ourselves is where we can begin getting UNstuck. In my book I talk about the importance of assessing our four tires, not only so we can support others, but so we can lead with a full and vibrant presence. You see, as leaders it’s easy to check on how your team is feeling affirmed and fulfilled or how they are being supported in areas of growth and achievement, but who’s checking on you? This is usually where I have to focus leaders, on the state of their inner lives.
When we feel burned out, discouraged, frustrated, or fatigued – we will lead from that place, and although we may be able to fake it for a time, eventually the truth comes out. The problem is that our tires are flat.
The secret of shifting from a survival mentality to a thrival mentality is learning how to assess our tires. This came out of my research of asking participants what helped them spiral up (instead of down). The four areas of Fulfillment, Affirmation, Growth, and Achievement kept popping up as they talked about moving from surviving day-to-day to actually thriving and taking their lives back.
Finding out how inflated (or deflated) your tires are starts by looking within.
The following are some questions that will help you assess the state of YOU:
- What brings me enjoyment?
- What makes me feel refreshed?
- When do I feel peaceful?
- What is truly good about me?
- What do I like best about myself?
- What do I want to be known for?
- Where do I want more knowledge?
- What do I want to move forward in?
- What are some next steps to move me forward?
- What accomplishments would make me feel proud?
- What do I need to feel successful?
- What skill set do I want to develop?
Notice where you might be feeling stuck or where something might be out of your comfort zone and do something about it. Make a plan.
Taking the time to explore these questions
will allow you to go after the life
that only you are made for.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. I reach out to friends, counselors, coaches, spiritual directors, and my Creator, who is not only for me, but knows who I am and who I am made to be. You’re never alone.
You all know I value self-care as an important part of finding your clarity, confidence, and courage. But what happens when self-care isn’t enough? When you get stuck? Join me and Becca Ribbing as we talk through how she helps her own coaching clients regain momentum by finding their clarity.