(This is the third of three posts on Leading Yourself. If you haven’t already, you may want to read Part 1 and Part 2.)

Let me share another lesson about Leading Yourself that I learned in the the last decade. I had been living at point C for about three months, knowing that it would come to an end in another four to six weeks. The intensity of the last few months, and the build-up to a large event that I had put together was coming, and there were still many questions to be answered from people, many new people to be onboarded, and materials and content to be refined. The signs were there that I was tired, sometimes a little short with people, but I was doing my utmost to lead myself and those around me.

At this time, my boss suggested a team event for everyone to blow off some steam, considering how hard and how long we had all been working. I heard groans about the timing being crazy, and quite honestly, I thought the same thing. A couple of my peers backed out, and that gave me license to do the same. But I didn’t, being a little older and wiser. Instead, I jumped on board to be part of the event so I could be with the team and the people I cared about. Our boss knew that the timing of this event was not the best, but he also could see how tired we were—how stressed and weary. I remember the day of the event clearly. We worked until around 11:00 am, had a quick bite to eat, and then travelled thirty minutes or so to spend the rest of the day kayaking and canoeing on a river. We ended the day with drinks and dinner. We shared in many stories, had many laughs and a great time. Most importantly, I decided to not bring my phone. Nothing needed to be answered that day. I disconnected and enjoyed the sun, the water, and the people.

I’m telling you this story not because of what we did, but what I noticed the very next day and for the rest of those stressful weeks leading up to the event. To this very day I’m still surprised at how much sharper and more alert I was, how much quicker my responses were, and the quality of ideas and thinking that came in that last month. It was only a little over a half day of rejuvenation, but the impact of how I was different was worlds apart from the previous twenty-four hours. I’d learned a new, deeper, better lesson: The work will always be there, so there is no guilt in getting out and just being (as long as I was disconnected), in renewing myself mentally and emotionally. The half day away was important even though I knew I was going to pull back soon to a healthier pace. The “now” was still being sacrificed in some way. So, if you are in the somewhere in the middle of Point A and Point C (or Point C and a Red-X), and if you’ve been there for a while, get out and refresh in the best way possible that aligns with your values, your interests, and your passions! I believe those six hours or so in the sun, water, with friends and laughs, gave back to me more than I can measure.

Whatever you need to do, do it and surprise yourself. Investing in yourself will always reap rewards for you and all those around you. 

Lead on,

Image by sydandsaskia.  Used under CC by 2.0 license.