This week I set out on a six-month leadership development programme as part of The American Express Leadership Academy after being selected as one of a new group of 59 high-potential non-profit leaders from across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
I say this with pride, yet possibly not for the reasons you’re expecting! Today, I am proud because I have listened to my body and mind and have pursued this leadership opportunity all in the name of self-care.
In our fast-paced and demanding world, self-care has become a crucial aspect of maintaining overall well-being. And whilst most people associate self-care with activities such as spa treatments, exercise, or meditation, there is one area I have learnt if often overlooked that can have a significant impact on personal growth and fulfilment: leadership development.
Leadership development may not seem like a traditional self-care practice. However, for me, it aligns perfectly with the principles of self-care. Here’s why:
1. Personal Growth and Fulfillment
Leadership development is all about honing your skills, learning new techniques, and becoming a better version of yourself as a leader. By investing in your personal growth and development, you are prioritising your needs and aspirations, which are at the core of self-care. When we are fulfilled and growing, we experience a sense of purpose and satisfaction in our lives, contributing to our overall well-being.
2. Increased Self-Awareness
Leadership development encourages introspection and self-reflection, allowing us to gain a deep understanding of our strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals. This increased self-awareness is a significant aspect of self-care because it helps us make conscious choices that align with our authentic selves. By knowing ourselves better, we can set boundaries, make decisions that serve our well-being, and navigate challenges with grace.
3. Stress Management and Resilience
Effective leadership requires the ability to manage stress and bounce back from setbacks. Leadership development programs often focus on stress management techniques, emotional intelligence, and building resilience. These skills not only benefit us as leaders but also enhance our ability to handle stress and adversity in our personal lives. By developing resilience, we can better cope with the challenges that life throws at us, reducing stress and promoting self-care.
4. Enhanced Communication and Relationships
Leadership development often emphasises improving communication skills and building strong relationships with team members. Effective communication is not only crucial in the workplace but also essential for healthy personal relationships. By developing such skills, we improve our ability to express ourselves, listen actively, and build meaningful connections. These enhanced communication skills contribute to a more fulfilling personal life and a nurturing support network, which are vital aspects of self-care.
Taking the First Steps
If you’re considering integrating leadership development into your self-care routine, start by assessing your needs and goals. Reflect on the areas you wish to improve upon, whether it’s self-confidence, effective communication, or stress management. From there, you can explore various resources such as workshops, seminars, books, or even coaching programs. Be open to unlearning, learning and relearning the things that will enable you to be the leader you wish to be.
This Amex Leadership Academy is a way to nurture me; it gives me the permission, time, and space to grow. By doing this course I am also taking time to reflect and celebrate the progress made along the way, an aspect which I believe is central to self-care.
Yet, as someone who set up a wellness studio, I also appreciate that self-care takes on a holistic approach. I’ve found that by combining leadership development with other self-care practices that nourish your mind, body, and spirit, you can create a powerful foundation for personal growth, fulfilment, and well-being.
In short, as you develop your leadership skills, you will not only become a more effective leader, but you will also cultivate a healthier and happier life for yourself. So, why wait? Start your leadership development journey today and discover the transformative power of self-care in every aspect of your life.
You can find out more about my journey and BelEve here
If you are interested in taking on leadership development as part of your self-care routine this summer visit our events page where you can sign up for one of our leadership activities.