I've been having a lot of conversations lately about what it means to be a leader. And by "leader", I mean in all kinds of situations. Whether we are in formal positions of leadership in our work, we are that go-to person at work that everyone relies on, in volunteer positions or we are in a position of leadership in our home life. Leaders, all of us, can only give, what we have.
And yet, that sort of flies in the face of what prompts us to move into leadership, or be drawn into positions of leadership. We love to give and help and support. We love to give because that fills us up.
But even the most giving person, needs to fill their own internal well or just like a real well, we will run dry.
There are clear signals that we are running out of internal giving fluid. Things that made us smile, gave us joy and felt easy, begin to irritate and feel heavy. We begin to feel we are falling behind on "our" priorities and resent being interrupted by others. We can't remember when we did anything for ourselves. It feels like every time we begin to do something for ourselves, that time gets used up doing something for someone else. We feel rushed, tired, disenchanted. We become crabby and/or withdrawn.
So what can we do about it? The good news, filling our own well doesn't have to take a lot of time. It just needs to become a regular habit.
The most powerful and simplest way to start to fill yourself up is to practise gratitude. Take a few minutes every day to think about 3 things you're grateful for. Focus on the little things. Notice the small joys that every day, even the worst days, contain.
You can do this on your own, with friends or family. Friends and clients have started a gratitude journal with their families, with children as young as 2 and 3. What an awesome family heirloom and a powerful way to raise healthy, resilient people!
Which brings me to journalling. Keep a gratitude journal. Take the few minutes it takes every day to write down the 3 things you're grateful for. On days that feel harder, open it up and read it. It will remind you of how much you have during those times you feel you have nothing.
Sit quietly outside and breathe. Find a park or some grass and take your shoes off. Roll up your pant legs and stand in a fountain. Eat ice cream. Have a yummy glass of wine. Cook or get a favourite food. Call a friend. Hug someone.
There are so many small, simple ways to practise gratitude.
If you run a business, think about incorporating gratitude into your core values, like Stybek Roofing did. Gratitude sits at the heart of Transparency, Accountability and Customers First. You will be amazed at the positive impact being grateful has on your results. Read Michele Bailey's most recent book, The Currency of Gratitude: Winning Business with Gratitude. It is filled with ways to do just that.
There are many, many ways to fill our well. What ways work for you? Drop us a line and let us know. And if you're looking for inspiration, check out Share Your Stories. I am always uplifted by the amazing things people are making positive impact in the world.
Keep shining!! The world needs all the light it can get right now!