Leaders Need Time To Rest & Recover

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It was probably nine years ago when I realized I was clueless on how to give myself rest and recover from the grind of leadership. I was in my WI CEO group from the MMAC (Metropolitan Milwaukee Area Chamber), listening to owners and leaders share how they look forward to time away from the office with their family. One guy talked about how he went away, ALONE, to Colorado to recharge his mind. He would use part of the day to strategize and the other part skiing which energized him. My mind was twisted in knots on how leaders could look forward to being away from the office. WOW! I was really immature and clueless as a leader.


Rest as a verb is defined as "ease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength."


As a noun, rest is defined as "an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity." 


Of course I used this knowledge immediately....YEAH RIGHT! 


I sat on this knowledge for four or five years till I finally heard WHY these leaders were taking time to REST & RECOVER from their leadership jobs.


First, REST is needed by everyone. Even God gave a day of rest because he knew the importance of leaders needing it. I used to think rest was an easy way to be lazy. Guess what? It can be exactly that. You give yourself permission to be lazy by napping, staying in your pajamas, binge watching your current show, reading a book that has nothing to do with leadership, etc. Everyone needs time to rest and take a break from the grind. Rest allows life to slow down. Or you might want to go for a hike, ride a bike, walk by the water, do a fun activity, etc. Rest is breaking away from the grind to give your mind a different speed. Talking time to rest is a wise and mature action. 


Second, RECOVER is what you gain after you rest. You are reading this blog because you don't want to be an average leader but one that makes an impact. You can't give what you don't have. It's vital you give yourself rest so you can gain strength in mind, body and soul. As a leader, your ideas and actions will determine the direction of your team and company. Would you want a tired pilot flying your plane? Heck no! Why is it okay for you to lead your business tired? It's not. I had no idea this was a problem till people I trust told me "you need to take time away from work to recharge your batteries!" People could see what I couldn't. As a leader, I know you are so focused on helping your company conquer the big goal in front of you but don't miss the importance of you protecting yourself so you can be the leader they need.


As a child I heard often from adults, "life goes by like a blink of an eye." As a child, I had no idea what that meant and I didn't believe it. I was a little kid and all I wanted to do was be old enough to go to any movie, drive a car, get out of school, make money and go to Taco Bell anytime I wanted. Okay, you can judge me but remember I was a child. This weekend I went back to the University of Tennessee with my family for the first time since I graduated in 2000. I thought I would have gone back each year to watch the VOLS play against whatever SEC team was showing up at Neyland Stadium. How could twenty-two years go by and I never come back to the campus to watch a game? Another confirmation was when tailgating before the game, I told a college student that I graduated here in 2000. Her response, "that is when I was born!" with a smile. I smiled back and thought "OMG!!!" Once again, "life goes by like a blink of an eye" was 100% correct.


This year was the first time when I took TWO vacations to gain rest and recover from my job. I didn't think it was a big deal till my kids said it in the car on our last night of vacation. My daughter said "I can't believe we have taken two vacations this year. We have never done that!" What kind of legacy am I leaving for my kids and team? Am I teaching them the importance of working hard, building a team that can cover while I am out, that you can work hard and play hard, that spending time with your family is so important to life? YOU BET! 


Conclusion, you can't give what you don't have. Also, your team and family is watching how you lead. Show these people that REST produces strength when you RECOVER as a leader. 



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