Can you relate? I woke up this morning and realized that the drip of milk that was left in the container would hardly wet my child’s cereal that I threw into a bowl approximately five minutes before we needed to jump in the car and out the door. I went from call to call, returned some emails, and was just about to dive into some work I’ve been putting off for lack of time, when my phone rang.
I don’t get sick. Sick is something I hear about from other people who feel like crap and can hardly crawl to their beds. Imagine my shock (and denial) when I woke up this morning with the start of a sore throat that’s quite frankly now a throat on fire. I don’t have time for sick! I have things to do, places to be! Bet you’ve never had the same thought, huh?
When people on my teams would come to the office sick, I’d encourage them to go home. Why?
1) They need to get better to be and do their best
2) I didn’t want the entire team to catch their bug
3) There are other smart, resourceful and talented people who can step up, lead and get the work done
Following My Own Advice
Have you ever noticed that so many leaders will do the right thing and send their team members home to get better yet they still show up at the office with a sore throat, terrible cold or worse? Granted, most people inside of organizations have limited sick days or days that are in a PTO bucket they have mentally earmarked for an awesome vacation – not lying around in bed.
As a small business owner, I know that I have more flexibility than I ever did while working in corporate leadership but it also means limited people around to “cover me” while I take it easy.
It’s so hard to step out, even when we need to do it the most. All kinds of excuses come up like:
- I’m not that sick.
- People are counting on me.
- If I don’t do it, who will?
- My deadlines don’t disappear just because I’m sick!
Time for Sick
There is that in-between place of starting to feel the illness coming on and being totally down for the count and it’s hard to know when and if we’ll shift from one to the other. Despite the desire to push on, our bodies sometimes tell us what our minds refuse to hear:
- Slow down!
- Take it easy!
- I need to rest!
Listen when your body is telling you to rest even if you want to push through. Are you choosing short-term priorities over long-term wellness? Stop listening to the excuses instead of your own body.
Rest when you’re sick and come back stronger tomorrow. (Click to Tweet)
The Gift of a Sore Throat
I have no idea if my sore throat will become a full-on feeling yucky and laid-up illness. I still have energy, creativity and a lot to give to my family, clients and work. I’m caught in a moment of choice and opportunity:
Choice: Take it easy or push through
Question: How can I take it easy on my health AND push through?
Solution: Talk less, listen more, write more, sink into the silence more.
Instead of talking through all the experience I have to share, it’s an opportunity to embrace listening on an even deeper level. I’m not only talking about listening to my clients either…
It’s so easy to get caught up in doing, that we don’t make the time for being. Part of getting in touch with our way of being is letting go of the doing long enough to hear what’s going on inside of our own hearts and minds.
Today, I’m resting, writing, listening, and embracing my personal leadership under the weather. Truly, when you get quiet and still, is when you can see and hear the most that would otherwise pass you by in a blur.
Besides, if any of us are really that indispensable, there’s a problem. It’s time to be a leader that empowers others to step up and lead too. Maybe that under the weather feeling is just the catalyst you and I need to do just that.
The next time you feel sick, will you make an adjustment or keep on going full steam ahead?
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I caved, I admit it. I downloaded Candy Crush to my iPad. No, I have not connected it to Facebook but I have fallen victim to the worldwide obsession that is Candy Crush. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a simple game that’s maddeningly and oddly challenging and brainless all at once. In a nutshell, you connect pieces of candy to make them explode and disappear. After playing it almost daily for a few weeks, I finally had an epiphany – Candy Crush has lessons for personal leadership too. Maybe that’s why I like it… that must be the reason, right?