Rebecca Mander is an experienced executive coach, specialising in supporting leaders within the legal sector during personal setback. You can contact her on 07930 147799 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how she can support your practice.
Today I was coaching a wonderful group of partners on the ways to look after ourselves during times of stress. One lawyer asked me “How can I look after myself when I have so much on at work, a poorly parent and a young family?” -A great question! My response was how can he look after his family AND manage his workload if he is not looking after himself?
We cannot help fill other people’s tanks if we are running on empty. I am a people pleaser by nature and so often put myself last, but when I do this my resilience runs low and I am far less capable to cope with the pressures of life. We tend to fit in more than we can physically achieve at home and at work then, when we run out of time, the first things to go are the very things that help repair us or keep our resilience levels high. A fitness class, a coffee with a friend or a date night are just the things we need to keep our resilience high. Instead of feeling selfish for looking after ourselves, we should be considering the benefits to others when we do.
Lloyds bank CEO, António Horta-Osorio has been very open about the effects of work stress on his health during the global financial crisis. Lack of sleep lead to burn out and he had to take eight weeks off work to recover. Following his experience, he advises “It is important to combine peak performance with moments of rest.” Remember…those moments of peak performance are not possible if we are not fitting our own oxygen mask first as my neighbour calls it! As a successful businesswoman, running a household and children in school, she recognises that moments to herself are not just enjoyable but essential to her own wellbeing and therefore the happiness of her family!
River of Resilience
One technique I use with my clients is to imagine you are a boat, draw yourself floating on a river, and under the water lurk items that are likely to cause damage if you hit them. The water level is your resilience and when it gets low, you are more likely to lose your flow and more likely to hit the obstacles in your path. When you do this…you get a hole in your boat and…guess what? You are even more likely to hit obstacles and struggle on your journey.
Next, label the items under water. What (or who!) is likely to affect your flow? What plans can you put in place to prevent this happening? These don’t need to be expensive or time consuming as the example shows. If you do meet challenges that damage your boat, what can you do to repair it? Make a list of what helps keep your river high.
So, next time you are cutting something or someone out of your diary, think twice to ensure it’s not something that can help your boat stay afloat!