(This post shares a snippet of my presentation on THE ART OF SELF LEADERSHIP I will be presenting on Friday as the opening speaker to Wayne Dyer in support of the I Am Genie Foundation.)
At the start of most first aid classes, the instructor will ask a question, i.e. ‘whom do you care for first in any first aid situation?’ Most people new to first aid training usually answer ‘the patient’, seeing that is the reason they are in the situation. Soon they come to realize that the person you care for first is YOU, the person with the training to help the patient. Quickly, it becomes clear that if you get injured or have an ailment preventing you from applying the first aid needed, you may be unable to help the patient.
Leadership works the same way. If you don’t take care of your basic needs to perform at a high level, you may be a detriment to your team at home and at work.
Taking care of my health has and always will be my first priority. For some of you, that may sound self-centered. What about my family; aren’t they my first priority? Well, without my health, I am useless to the people who rely on me. How valuable would I be to my family and all the other people who count on me if I was in hospital or bedridden with a health issue? I am fully aware that there are some health issues which you have no control over but most health issues arise when you don’t lead yourself first and start neglecting your health.
Are you a role model when it comes to taking care of your health? As a leader, you know people are watching your every move, which includes your kids, your employees, and your team. I recently ran my fourth marathon in Vancouver and it was a joy to have my family there to watch me run by on a few spots along the course. Needless to say, I was always excited to see them on the route, giving me an extra spring in my step when there wasn’t much spring left.
The night before the race, my wife took the time to make a sign for my kids to hold up when they saw me. The sign said ‘DADDY U MAKE US SO PROUD’. Unfortunately, in my daze of exhaustion and wanting to make eye contact with the kids, I didn’t see the sign on the course but I did see it at the finish and was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw them and the sign.
A few days later, while at home during dinner, my three-year old says to her mother “Mom I’m so proud of you, you ate all your supper”. They are watching and listening. Take care of your health and lead yourself so you can lead them.