Why is Self-Care must for a Woman Leader ?
Have you ever thought that as Leaders, we are more focussed on what happens in the outside world than our inner self? Our company’s or team’s performance, processes, people or revenues run supreme in our minds. We’re constantly trying to shape and influence these external factors to bring us closer to our goals and objectives, thinking these are the sole contributors to our success. What about you? Have you ever thought about focusing on self? Or thought about yourself as the starting point of this journey? Well, that’s where Self-Care comes in. And as a Woman Leader in any field, this Self-Help is a must not only to survive but to excel.
While I was researching this topic, I came across a very interesting concept of Self-Leadership. “Self-leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objective/s” (Bryant and Kazan 2012, Self Leadership – How to Become a More Effective, and Efficient Leader from the Inside Out). It is also the answer to how do we develop ourselves to survive and thrive in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world. In simple words, we as leaders need to start looking inwards first rather than focus on external factors. This article gives further insights into Self-Leadership- the need and the key pillars- https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelleyzalis/2019/11/15/self-leadership-is-the-new-self-care/#5fbe51e684b7
Self-Care – First step towards Self-Leadership
Not surprisingly, Self-Care comes first on the list for achieving Self-leadership. And this so true especially for a woman leader as she plays multiple roles – mother, wife, daughter, caregiver, homemaker & an executive.
Hence the need to have some simple yet effective Self-help habits at work. These habits will help us take care of ourselves both mental & physical level. During my corporate journey, I decided to climb up the corporate ladder at my pace, doing justice to my family & profession both. I subconsciously practised these 7 Self-Care tips and realised their effectiveness. Now I make sure that these are a conscious part of my Self-Care routine.
Self-Care for a Woman Leader- 7 Must Dos
- Kill that Self-doubt
We, women, have this nagging self-doubt syndrome which comes up always at the time we need it the least. The self-doubt may stem from many things. Some of the typical culprits are guilt feeling of leaving your home/child/family to make a career or taking some time off to manage your other responsibilities. Or simply not being able to spend time on networking with your colleagues after office hours. Believe me, I have gone through all these, and many a time felt that my growth might get impacted or people may not trust me with important projects. These fears are baseless. Your capabilities don’t get overshadowed by whatever personal challenges you are facing. As long as you can deliver the results you are in the game. And you being a Woman Leader has no bearing on this.
Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome. If you really want this for yourself, you will find a way to make it happen. And then you get up & raise your hand.
2. Raise your Hand
Do not hesitate to raise your hand. You may raise your hand asking for something that you deserve like a promotion, raise or that coveted project. Or this hand can be raised seeking help or guidance on something that you have been struggling with. As a woman leader, we owe this to ourselves and our other women colleagues. This can be both at work or personal front. I have had the experience of reaching out to my colleagues and even seniors for help. And I was pleasantly surprised with their acknowledgement & support. Remember “You will not know till you ask”. So reach out. If nothing else it gives you the satisfaction of at least putting your point across to people who matter. The outcome may not always be in your favour, but this is better than living with the unknown.
3. Support your Tribe
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back”. I am sure you have heard this before. We are not in High school any more that we have to jealous of each other’s success. There is a place for everyone, and the more successful you are, the better opportunity you have to help those in need. Let’s empower each other without being biased, though. A lot of budding women managers look up to their woman leaders for inspiration. Being able to influence at least one life positively requires self-awareness & self- management. But is this enough ..read on for more.
4. Have a Confidant@work
While you may have many friendly colleagues at work, you definitely need at least one confidant. This is the person with whom you can share your fears, apprehensions, frustrations and of course, new ideas. This person is your sounding board & someone you can trust to give you non-prejudiced opinion. Since he/she works at the same place, he/she is aware of the ecosystem and thus will be able to guide you better and sometimes even give you tips on how to approach situations or people. Believe me; this is a very effective stress buster. Sometimes you just need someone to hear you out when you already know the outcome or solution. Your close buddy will step in here and not let you take that stress home.
5. Stay away from Office Politics & Camps
This is a very critical Self-care tip, and I could not be blunter in stating it. Just stay away from any groups or conversations that may impact your working relationships with any of your colleagues. This also stems from a strong belief I have in people and their capabilities to deliver. I touched upon this in my blog 5 Essential Life lessons you need to know.
People react to you based on how you interact with them. If you are good, approachable & respectful, most toxic of people will turnaround. I have had difficult colleagues becoming best of friends after multiple, patient interactions. The only thing I focussed on was my respect for them as master of their fields & what they brought to the table.
6. Switch-off after work hours
The internet revolution has made our life more complicated and stretched our work hours beyond the stipulated so-called “office hours”. Under the garb of Flexitime, we have started working “Full-time”. The moment that ping comes on the phone, we want to reach out & reply even if its middle of the night. Slowly office is invading our family time & me time. I was very much against having a television in bedrooms and in the good old days, we had only one television in the Family room. Now with screens becoming ubiquitous, there is no escape except our will power. So decide your work time & shut the screen after that. And most importantly make sure you are communicating that to your work family. You have earned this Self-care time, so don’t let it go.
7. Have a work-out routine
I don’t think I can stress enough on workout regime being pivotal in Self-care. It’s tough to manage workouts with your hectic meetings & travel schedule. But the benefits far outweigh the effort involved & will push you to make out time every day. My biggest motivator has been that it gives me the much needed time for myself, away from my office hassles & household responsibilities. There have been times when I had to push myself to get out of the bed to go to the gym or do Yoga. However, I have never regretted afterwards. There are multiple motivators for you to work out and you can know more about them in 7 Simple Ways To Stay Motivated To WORKOUT
So as you see, these Self-care essentials are not as easy as sipping that glass of wine while getting pampered at the SPA over the weekend. These require constant practice & reinforcement as you climb that corporate ladder. But the results will be long-lasting. Remember, Self-leadership is an essential milestone for achieving your external goals & Self-care is all about how you get your power back. By following the above 7 rules, you will get your power at your own terms.
Self-Care is important for all women, especially so when you are working in a stressful environment at home or at work.
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