Article Written by Kerri Lewis
As we move out of February, “the month of love” and into March, I’m struck by the amount of leaders and coaches out in the world today preaching the importance of self care and love but fail to implement the practice themselves.
As a newer business owner and a single mother I can truly appreciate how easily one can lose sight of taking care of themselves however, if you truly want to have an impact, it is imperative that you practice what you preach. It is one thing to know the importance of self care and self love, it’s entirely different when you put this knowledge into practice.
Now, before I get into my observations of coaches and leaders failing to practice what they preach, let’s break self love and self care down a bit.
First, what exactly is self love?
According to The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, self love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self love means having a high regard for your own well being and happiness. Yes, this is what I’m talking about! For me, self love means putting my own needs first so that I can be the best expression of myself in the world. Now that we have a good grasp on what self love means, let’s get into self care.
We hear a lot of talk these days about self care yet many are confused by what this actually means. There are endless strategies and tools out in the world today that people can lean into to practice self care including meditation, play, fitness, and breath work. What’s important to remember is that whatever you choose to incorporate for daily self care is something you want to do, not something you have to.
Oftentimes, I find that while many have a self care routine, the tools they use don’t serve them or have become just another thing to get done off their already super long list of to do’s. When it becomes work, it is not self care!
The Lack of Self Care and Discipline:
Now that we have established what self love and self care is, let’s get into what I have been witnessing out in the world of coaches and leaders. As a coach, for both leaders and other coaches, I get an inside look into how many people operate their businesses. The number one issue I run into, lack of self care and discipline. How could this be? Especially when the very people I work with are the people preaching the importance of self love and self care.
The fact is the leaders and coaches I work with are passionate and driven people. All are invested in creating brands and products that come from the heart and help people live better, more fulfilling lives. The problem occurs when they become so consumed by building their business and helping clients that they stop putting their needs first.
It usually starts small like skipping lunch to take a client call, missing a scheduled gym session or failing to sit and get quiet throughout the day. What starts as one missed self care practice spirals pretty quickly into long hours focused on work and less and less time spent on themselves. Not the ideal situation for producing quality work and achieving quantum results.
Look, I get it. We’ve been conditioned to believe the dogma that says to be successful in business, you must sell your soul. Give up time with friends and family and work until you are bone tired in order to achieve success. The reality is that this is the very conditioning and pressure we leaders and coaches must refrain from falling victim to if we want to make a massive impact and help change our clients and employees’ lives. And while I have no doubt my clients know this, the execution is easier said than done.
So what to do to ensure your own needs don’t fall by the wayside while expanding your reach and holding space for people? Create non-negotiable disciplines around self care and work and hold yourself accountable. Surround yourself with visual reminders that remind you of your vision, how you want to show up in the world and what actions you can take to implement immediate self care.
If you’re not working with a client, set timers for work and rest. When asked to take part in a project or new endeavor, ask yourself, is this really going to help me reach my true north? If the answer isn’t an emphatic yes, say no and keep it moving.
The truth is it’s easy to fall back into the narrative that in order to be successful you have to hustle and grind all the time. Building an empire requires work, but it doesn’t have to require sacrificing your own needs.
In fact when we operate from a place of vitality and joy we get exponentially more done in less time. By implementing structure around work and self care, not only do we ensure that we don’t fall victim to burnout, we also show our clients and employees just how much we love ourselves and how important caring for ourselves is.
Now the question is, what are you going to do to love yourself today?