Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does anyone else. – Unknown
My past few weeks have been filled with incredible highs and depressing lows. The problem is that I am perseverating on the lows. These lows have been very tough and I have caused me to fall prey to a very defeatist attitude. I write this not to elicit sympathy or emails that encourage me to “hang in there” but to remind all of us that this is part of being not only a leader, but human.
When I feel this way I start to create a movie in my head. A cinematic masterpiece in which I am the downtrodden hero combating evil on all fronts. This means at work, I start to interpret all slights as criticism. This “movie” when watched by others will often result in your team wanting to create some distance from you. Thus you are less likely to give them what they need to succeed.
The challenge is to stay focused on not only taking care of yourself, but also the immense responsibility of leading your team towards success. Smashing the projector that is currently screening that horrible movie in your head is the first step. The people you work with are not villains, so stop thinking that they are out to foil your plans. The second step is to start taking care of yourself by practicing mindfulness. In a recent article from Harvard Business Review, the benefits of taking time to relax and breathe at your desk throughout the day helps both your focus and awareness. Being more in tune with your leadership goals and team will help pull yourself out of the quagmire of misery.
Most importantly, I remind myself that I do not want to be the guy people forgot. I do not want to be the guy that gave up on his team. I especially do not want to be the guy stuck crafting sequel upon sequel for the cinema in my head. I focus on taking care of myself, so I am truly present for my team. This intentional action only will help me escape the lows that threaten to keep me down.
How do you keep away the depressing lows that threaten not only your team, but your own mental health? Please share in the comments below.