What does 21st-century leadership look like?

I’ve been thinking lately about self-love.

A lot of leadership advice and coaching focuses on interpersonal skills, communication, and mental management. All of that is important! But I don’t see equal attention given to this leadership skill: self-love.

The theory behind self-love or self leadership is that when you take care of yourself, you have more energy to focus on serving others. It also creates a discipline and accountability that transfers to leadership of others.

I’ve made two big changes in my life recently as a form of self-love. And no, I’m not talking about bubble baths or vacation or a nice meal (though I enjoy those as well). The self-love I felt called to invest in took a different form:

1. I did a HUGE decluttering of my house.

After experiencing a year and a half with so much time indoors, I wanted to love my house again. But I didn’t want to redecorate. So I decluttered everything.

There are tons of DIY resources for decluttering, but I knew I needed accountability. So I hired someone from Taskrabbit! They helped me pull everything out and declutter, organize, and put it away. We made some funny discoveries: I did not realize we had eighteen pillows in our house 😂! Bonus? I finally found where my golf clubs were hiding.

It felt like a whole-home reboot, making my house work better and resulted in me feeling more focused and relaxed.

2. I prioritized my health.

After the retreat in August, I knew I wanted to get serious about my health. It was suddenly crystal-clear: I can’t be the best in my work or relationships if I’m not in optimal health.

It dawned on me that I'd been tolerating okay health, instead of striving for optimal health. So I made some changes, and I have to be honest: getting myself healthy is hard. (I guess if it were easy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation!)

It’s been a challenge to stick with my lifestyle changes, but I’m so happy with the results I see, and I’m feeling good. (I share exactly how I’m improving my health in the referrals section below.)

Far from indulgent, self-love is nonnegotiable for changemakers. I don’t know of a single disruptive leader who doesn’t have a loving relationship with themselves.

How are you showing yourself love? What changes, big or small, could you make to give yourself more self-love? Hit reply and let me know. I love hearing from you!

My Latest:

  • I was shocked when I read that only a third of C-level executives say their organization's frontline leadership is excellent. Yikes! What is going wrong? In Leading Disruption, I kick off my series on 21st-century leadership by revealing a counterintuitive leadership skill that today’s leaders must embrace.

  • Speaking of the series, How do you know you’re a leader? In this week’s Livestream I shared the three misunderstood qualities of true disruptive leadership. These are the qualities that make leaders — no matter what your business card says. If you need to scale leadership development at your company, this is a must-watch!

  • How (the heck) are you supposed to be strong AND vulnerable as a disruptive leader? How do you follow this kind of contradictory advice?? That's what we're discussing in my Livestream next Tuesday. You’ll learn how to systematically develop these contradictions AND "coach up" to your boss if they think "soft skills" are total hogwash!

  • Join me for a series of talks on Fishbowl (a social audio and community app) about leading change over the next five weeks. The next session on “Recognizing Your Leadership Blindspots” is tonight, Wed. Oct. 6th at 5 pm PST. Future sessions will be on Wed. Oct 13th at 5 pm PST and Mon. Oct 18th at 5 pm PST. (You’ll need to download Fishbowl — it’s only available for iOS at this time). Bring your ideas and questions!

Good Things:

  • Good Reads: Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. I listened to the audiobook and it kept getting better and better, so I bought the book to really study it! The premise is that your happiness is not conditional on anything. You’ve probably heard this idea before (I had), but the book really explains how to untether your happiness from your circumstances.

  • Referrals: With a family history of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, I was determined to get my health and weight to optimal levels. I’m currently working with the weight loss medical clinic JumpstartMD in the Bay Area and seeing great results. I’ve also worked with (and invested in) Virta, a company dedicated to reversing Type II diabetes through nutrition.

  • Resource: I love my scanning software. I have the scanning app Adobe Scan (iOS, Android) on my phone, and it’s much faster to snap a picture of what I need to scan and avoid the giant, bulky scanner behind my desk! It sounds almost stupidly simple, but the app is one of the small tools that makes my day easier.