It’s Valentine’s day – almost – which is a day devoted to the celebration and acknowledgement of love, particularly of the romantic variety. It’s a nice thing. And, in my opinion, it skews the concept of love away from a very important person.
I know. This is supposed to be a space devoted primarily to leadership and its related issues. So why on earth would I talk about LOVE of any sort?
Well, because what I know for sure – and what I continue to be reminded of – is that love is important. And for those of us who are leaders, our ability to love OURSELVES is essential. It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity.
The term “loving yourself” is nothing more and nothing less than caring for yourself, grounding yourself, meeting your own needs on a regular basis. It’s a commitment you make to honour yourself as much as you would honour any one else.
As leaders it’s imperative that we understand that this business of loving ourselves is as important as loving others. It sets a great example for those around you, modeling the importance of self-care, self-love and self-nurture and in turn ensuring that you can, in fact, be available to others to the best of your ability.
This last piece is the crux of the matter. When you take care of yourself (which may be easier to get your head around than the idea of “loving yourself” – but trust me, they’re the same thing!) you are better able to take care of others. Given that leadership at its finest is all about caring for others, it makes sense, then, that you would ensure that you care for yourself.
So, take your lunch breaks. And your walking breaks.
Leave work on time.
Schedule those doctor’s appointments.
Surround yourself with folks who make you laugh.
Make nutrition and hydration a priority.
These are all very practical examples of how you can love yourself. And they matter, because when you love yourself, the folks around you learn that they can take care of themselves too. And they get the benefit of having a well-cared-for leader as their guide.
Bottom-line: self-care, self-love, self-nurture – these all matter, especially in the realm of leadership. You simply cannot lead well if you aren’t living and loving yourself well. Take care of you, and you’ll be able to take care of others. This is a part of excellent leadership.