5 Untold Secrets of a Stressless Leader
Often times people are driven with the wrong kind of passion to live what they assume is a “balanced life”. A number of persons I have conversed with consider living a balanced life more like being a great juggler. With the more tasks, responsibilities, duties, events and relationships they are able to manage by giving equal attention to each, they tend to think that they have achieved balance in life.
However, this is so far from what life is truly about, because nature itself with its cycles of night and day, teaches us to take things a day at a time. Some persons are unaware that trying so hard to keep this “balanced” pace up only creates stress. Stress on the other hand leads to a host of other concerns, including sickness, emotional and mental disconnection, unproductive, depression, etc. What is worse is that this struggle rids you of the joy of pursuing your passions and living the life you can enjoy. It also short- circuits personal and professional development. Does this sound like you in any way?
Living a balanced life is a joke and will completely derail your personal and professional growth resulting in stress if you try it.
I recall the time when my husband and I ventured into a new business - we opened a music school. It started off quite exciting for our family as it always is with new adventures. We were like two new puppies full of energy and stamina, with so much enthusiasm as we began to build and serve people through leadership.
I also took on the leadership of the back office operations, administration and communications. In addition to this, I volunteered to direct a department in church for the children’s ministry where I ran a small group. Alongside maintaining our home, I was also working on my personal growth training and coaching business.
Oh! And did I forget to mention spending time with my husband, family and friends too? Trust me, I tried to juggle everything all at one time.
Now would you like to know where this story ends?
I found myself at a point where the joy in serving others and enjoying my life, my personal development and professional development were all replaced by a series of unending stress as a leader! I got to realize what the problem was: I was trying so hard to balance it all! And this is something I would call “unbalanceable”. I wish someone would have told me that (lol!)
Truthfully, trying to get things right was not wrong in the real sense, rather the only thing that was wrong was my mindset about balance and it needed to change in order to get the stress I was experiencing out of the equation and start enjoying life again.
Joyce Myers says, “You must take action to make changes and stop doing whatever is causing the stress.”
Once I understood that it was not about getting worked up over “balance” but more about “harmony”, then my joy was restored and I was relieved of stress.
How was this ever made possible?
It was pretty simple, I considered these points and changed my thinking. You too can apply these principles to your life in order to be that leader who knows how to stress less! These include:
1. Understand your life is more like an orchestra
Orchestras have various moving parts that work together to create harmony. The goal of the orchestra is to have each instrument play its part according to the sound that needs to be achieved. The flute may play soft, while the bass is playing loudly, at the end they are not trying to play there parts at equal levels. The ultimate goal is harmony!
Just like an orchestra, in life you have to prioritize how much energy you channel into your relationship, responsibility, task, and project etc. at a given time. Always bear in mind that, just as no two orchestras are the same, no two lives are the same. Never compare yourself to other leaders so you will not end up sabotaging your personal growth, personal development and success.
2. Learn to be okay with saying NO
When asked about his leadership and company success, Steve Jobs said: “It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much”
“No” is a complete sentence. Let’s practice saying it - ready, one! Two!! Three!!! NO! It feels good to let your mind go there, right? Saying No doesn’t make you an incompetent leader, rather it makes you that one leader who knows exactly what he can churn up perfectly, one at a time.
Follow the example of little children, they have mastered this word. If you ask them if they want to take a nap they say, no. If you ask them if they can share a favorite snack, they say no. If you ask them to come to you while playing at the park, they just repeat the word no. Funny right?
There are just some ventures, relationships, responsibilities that you just need to say no to. This is because they will only hold you back from achieving your goals and significantly delay personal and professional growth.
Not to miss: Don’t allow people to make you feel guilty as a leader for saying no, either. Remember you can’t juggle it all at one time.
3. Check in with your values
Much of the disharmony in trying to balance comes from doing things that are not in line with your values. Leadership entails a lot of values and as a leader here are some questions to ask, to determine if something is conflicting with your values.
Spend some quiet time thinking and writing about it.
･ Does it connect with what is most important to you?
･ Does it fuel you?
･ Does it speak your why to you?
･ Does it cause unexplained internal conflict?
Honoring your values will provide the compass you need to stay in harmony and also develop you from inside out.
“When values, thoughts, feelings, and actions are in alignment, a person becomes focused and character is strengthened.” John Maxwell
4. Create quiet space
For good personal and leadership development, dedicate a few minutes each day to calm yourself, meditate and become centered. Shut out everything and everyone. Close your eyes, take deep long breaths and relax, don’t just relax your body but relax your mind. If your thoughts are running wild; TAME them!
Feel free to speak out loud to yourself and tell your mind to calm down. Always remember - a clear mind always make the best of decisions!
Here are some ways to help quiet yourself:
･ Doing Yoga or Pilates movements; breathing is key.
･ Drinking hot water with fresh lemon/calming tea- sit and sip.
･ Taking a warm bath.
･ Reciting positive affirmations.
･ Journaling your thoughts.
5. Develop a “cut off” time
Establish a time frame when you cease from high levels of mental energy and work. Protect that time and discipline YOURSELF to do it each day. Relax! you only have 24 hours in a day and some of that time needs to be utilized unwinding and sleeping.
Ways to “cut off”
･ Turn off all electronic devices - leave them in a different room or in your home office
･ Add your cut off time to your schedule
･ Post reminders in your office and at home
･ Be accountable to your family, a close friends, and coach with your “cut off times”
･ Close the door to your home office and put a closed sign on it
· Small changes are sure to produce huge pay offs.
· Always remember that harmony starts with YOU.
· You are worth the time and effort to be the best version of yourself.
· Pour in so you can effectively pour out!
· Don’t guilt yourself for stumbling along the way. Guilt is a companion to quitting; RESIST IT!
· Just commit to changing your mind about what balance is all about.
· Most importantly, apply these points and before you know it, all that is left of you is one stress less leader!