In the world we live in today it is always nice to extend your helping hand to as many people as you can. As a leader, we all try to help and touch the lives of as many people as we can: hoping we can make a difference everyday in someone else’s life. We as leaders carry the burden of ensuring that our followers are taken care of ALL of the time. We typically put others first and put our own feelings and needs in the backseat, hoping to make a positive impact on someone’s life. However what happens when you always put others first? You start taking on problems that are too large for you to take on, you sympathize with everyone, you start falling behind on work, and have a hard time falling asleep at night. The problem eventually hits YOU the individual that tries to help everyone: What about me? 3 simple words that are often thought of as selfishness eventually need to be answered. A leader always puts their feelings aside to comfort others when you know well that the leader is suffering on the inside. When does putting people first all the time not work? Am I selfish for caring about myself? Is it wrong that i need some Self Care? The answer is NO; Leadership is saying NO.
We as leaders are constantly stigmatized as beings who are able to take on the weight of the world and take on everyones’ problems, but this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. As a leader, your feelings are often sidelined and overlooked because it is so important for YOU to make a difference to someone else that you do not even care how you are feeling. Days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months, and you still haven’t focussed on yourself. Your tank is running on empty and your body and mind demands some much needed attention. As a leader, this is totally okay. Every leader wants to help as many people as possible, but everyone needs a time for self reflection and evaluation. As a leader, we need to realize that these periods of time are critical to our success. We need a time to rejuvenate our bodies and minds so that we can continue to help others. Truthfully, the hardest thing in leadership is saying NO, and every leader needs to practice saying NO everyday. If I have a full day and know I have hours of homework when I return to my dorm, it is probably not wise to go help someone on a project that will not benefit you at all; however, as a leader, it is an innate response. You will say yes to that person, you will assist them and make their project the best it can be, but you will return home stressed out to the max wanted to pull your hair out. Leadership is indeed stressful, but it is important to not add unnecessary stressors to your life. I want to echo one more time… Saying NO doesn’t take your leadership “status” away from you. Saying NO makes you a human being that has individual feelings and emotions. As a leader, I continue to encourage you to help people, but think about your own self care as well.
Leadership is many wonderful things…. One is saying NO.