Know any of these?
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
“I’m so so so busy. I have no time to create what I want.”
“It’s not my fault.“Aghhhh… I’m happy enough."
Of course, they’re all related. If you’re too busy to create what you want, and you’re getting no sleep, and nothing is your fault, then it makes sense that you might be “happy enough”. If you hold that self-care is not important, then of course you’re going to be overwhelmed, and happy enough will be enough (and of course it’s not your fault because you are sooo busy). See? We could do this all day. They all relate.
These phrases are a choice in words and intentions that most often detract from the quality of someone’s “energetic field”, their level of leadership and accountability, and their ability to create impact.
Of course, these statements can all be very real and true for people. I get that. And, I’d also offer that instead of leaving it at that -- using them to fuel your life, your impact, and your next can be incredibly powerful. The minute any of these phrases come out of your mouth they’re an opportunity to redesign and make something new and better happen. Of course, if these phrases give you a tremendous surge of glory and energy and make you a better compelling leader and human being, disregard. But if you’d like it to be different… let’s play. Consciously and intentionally used, each of these phrases can be a powerful, springboard for action and change.
Self-care is essential to leadership.
Replace “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” with something like: “Sleep and self-care is essential for my optimal energy, productivity, brain power and emotional intelligence.”
It doesn’t matter what this looks like for you – some need 9 hours, some need 4, your call – the point is honoring and being intentional about your self-care makes you a better leader. Period. You can’t lead from burnout. If you’re already “killing it” with no self-care, consider what’s possible if you were to actually prioritize your machine. Even high performance cars have got to pull over and get some TLC and nourishment.
Your time is a choice. And so is your language.
Replace “I’m so so so busy. I have no time to create what I want” with something like: “I am richly scheduled/on purpose/well-used, and I make time to create what I choose.”
If you don’t lead your time, everyone else will. How you do this is your choice. Yes, of course, you have client needs, kids’ needs, partner needs, and you’re up for bringing in cupcakes this week. I get it. But… you can do all of those from a space of overwhelm and busy, or you can do them from a space of presence and conscious language. You are also at choice to choose – truly at the end of the day, how you choose to spend your time. Your language and intentions will either support or hinder this.
Accountability is credibility (and it’s kinda sexy too).
Replace “Not my fault” with something like: “That was my mistake” OR (when it’s really not) “How can I help things go better here?” OR “I see how I contributed to making that happen, here’s what I’ve learned, and here’s how I’m going to make it right.”
Claiming “not my fault” for what you’ve created in your life – whether personal or business results – is an abdication, leaving you powerless to shift into ownership and action. Give yourself the space and grace to see where you contributed to making this thing happen, own it, make it right, and now you’re in a place of power. By the way… If something really isn’t your fault and you’re witnessing it – instead of saying “not my fault or my problem” and passing it off – consider what the littlest thing is that you can do to help move it in the right direction. Step in, step up, lead.
Joy and fulfillment is a choice.
Replace “I’m happy enough” with “I’m building things in my life to make it soar and feel even better.”
If “I’m happy enough” comes out of your mouth – and you mean it (meaning it’s not just an unconscious statement) AND you want to be happier -- you get to create it. Those words are a great gift in showing you that you may want more. Great. So hop to. What is it that keeps you at a “happy enough” level? What would you rather? And what would need to be in place to make that happen? You have power there. If it involves changing other people or things you have no control off, don’t exhaust yourself there -- find other ways to amplify your joy.
Of course all of these are optional and only apply as much as they resonate for you. In my experience they’re an excellent start. Play as you wish.
Have a great week. // AXC
This article first appeard on Inc.com on March 24, 2016.