With the current world crisis going on, you might be excused for finding a rock to hide under, whilst you deal with your own challenges, rather than showing up and being the inspiring leader that you had planned to be, when everything was “normal”.
You might be excused yes, but do you want to be?
Now, more than ever, is the time to step up and become an inspiring leader!
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor and the true leaders are now going to emerge.
And since I know you plan to be one of them, I invite you to read on.
Why would you want to become an inspiring leader right now?
Because your people need you now more than ever.
It’s scary what’s happening, and terrifying for some.
People are going through stress of incredible proportion.
The world will never be the same again.
Plus there is no greater feeling that living a purposeful life where you are making a difference.
So now is the time you get to dig deep and find your fire.
Now is the time to inspire through solid, heartfelt leadership.
That’s why your strength and courage is needed.
That’s why your resilience, your tenacity, your focus, your caring and your confidence, even in the darkest of times, is needed now MORE THAN EVER.
You may not be able to provide people with the money they need nor the answers they need right now, but one thing is certain: how you lead now is going to impact how they handle what’s happening to them.
Let’s not forget the words of the inspiring leader and holocaust survivor Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search For Meaning. He said “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
This is an opportunity for everyone to change themselves. For everyone to dig deep and discover how they can become a better human. To connect with that quiet unwavering strength that is still there underneath all the noise of the fear.
You have the chance right now, as an inspiring leader, to help them get through a possible personal hell.
You don’t know what the power of one sentence you say might have on them. It might prevent them from falling into despair. That’s why I am writing this right now. We ALL have to pull our sleeves up and do our part.
But remember one important thing before you show those you lead what you are made of. You’ve got to lead yourself through the stress first.
Here’s 7 tips to follow to make sure you deal with stress in a positive and constructive way.
1. Release your stress and worries healthily. Release your stress either with a trained professional or on paper. Don’t push your anxiety down or it will bubble. Ideally, you speak with a trained coach or therapist who is trained in helping you to release. In the absence of that option, call on a friend for support. Rekindle old friendships. You may be able to support them too. I have personally never valued my friendships so much in my life. If none of those options are possible, then get your thoughts down on paper and then journal on how you want to deal with your stressful thoughts in a constructive way.
2. Get enough sleep. Sleep will affect your mood, your focus and your health. If you are not sleeping well, then do what you need to do to change that. A combination of everything suggested here should improve it. Also reduce your time on electronic devices, especially in the evening, plus try an Epsom salts bath, lavender essential oil and be sure to take a magnesium supplement. Get help for the anxiety that may be causing it and if it’s hormonal then reduce/cut out sugar and get dietary advice.
3. Practice some form of stillness daily. Whether it be meditation, sitting in quiet contemplation in nature, prayer with a candle, meditative yoga or walking… do something where you can renew yourself.
4. Have a consistent structure. Structure with your work and home life will help you a lot. For those with families and especially those with young children, it can feel extra hard and tiring right now, but being as organized and structured as possible will best serve you – with a healthy dose of self-compassion thrown in for when it doesn’t quite pan out as planned. But be sure to practice strong boundaries so that you can stick to this structure as much as possible. This is a great opportunity to practice the art of saying no and to communicate your needs well.
5. Be fit and healthy. How you eat affects your mood and your focus. Now is not the time to numb out with substances that prevent you from sleeping well or waking up refreshed. Plan your meals well and reach out for support if you need help with reducing or eliminating drugs (including sugar) or alcohol.
Daily exercise provides incredible benefits for both your physical and your mental health. Personally, I do an online yoga class every morning that I can highly recommend, but there are many different online classes available now. Maybe you prefer dance martial arts. If possible, when you are practicing fitness, get to a forest so you can benefit from the phytoncides I mention below. My daily dog walks are my medicine.
6. Get to a forest often if you can. If the rules in your country permit right now, get to a forest. Not only will it help to ground you, exposure to forests will boost your immune system. While we breathe in the fresh air, we breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants give off to protect themselves from insects. Phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities which help plants fight disease. When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells or NK. These cells kill tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies. You may even be able to do a social-distancing hike with some team members and get some work done too.
7. Foster a dog. My final thought for helping with stress (and I realise that this is not everyone’s cup of tea), is to foster a dog from your local dog shelter whilst you are working from home. They are incredible companions and will help with loneliness if you live alone. They will also help you with daily structure, exercise and getting in nature since you will need to bring them out for walks. Even if you are not alone, they can provide a new focus and children will be thrilled and occupied! Obviously only do that if you are sure you can care for a dog in a loving way.
So make a plan to ensure that you incorporate the above suggestions into your schedule. Those habits will already help with your leadership skills as you will be leading yourself better.
Now go forth and lead inspiringly! Your team or followers need you. Think about what they need most right now and how you can best impact them. Step up and you will be able to look back on this chapter of your life with pride and remember it as the time that you fully embraced your leadership role and made a difference!
If you want my support with this, I am currently offering a 3-month coaching package to support you through this, that will be tailored to your specific needs. Please reach out if you are interested.
Also, be sure to download my free guide: ‘Become A Better Social Entreprise Leader in 33 Days’. I share how you can work on the 33 traits that Bains & Company identified as being the most inspirational traits to become a more inspiring leader.
[Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash]