Fatigue makes cowards of us all – unchecked, it can also have a devastating impact on our leadership. Next week, we launch my latest book, Chess Not Checkers. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share this work with the world. That’s the good news; the rest of the story… I’m tired.
The last six months have been exhilarating and grueling – publishing a new book, creating a field guide, video series and on-line assessment, my day job at the chicken, working with an amazing team to execute six events for almost 4000 people in three weeks (in six different cities), speaking at numerous other events, including one international trip, traveling to more cities than I can remember, building a house, writing dozens of blog posts and trying to be there for my family. Clearly, an unsustainable pace!
Although my publisher sees next week’s launch as the starting line, frankly, I see it as the finish line – at least time for a water break. I’m going to take a few days off.
As I eagerly anticipate a little rest and relaxation with my family, I began to think about some of the reasons I need a break and perhaps you do too.
Fatigue clouds your judgment – Over the last six months, I can think of a couple of specific decisions I made that made no sense. Well, they did in the moment. But looking back, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I chalk these lapses up to lack of rest. When you’ve been leading for years, your “rookie mistakes” should be few and far between.
Fatigue erodes relationships – I won’t project my issues on you, but I will say I’m not the only leader who can testify: fatigue can damage relationships. I’m challenging to work with when I’m well rested. When I don’t sleep, I'm even more difficult - it’s the people around me who feel the brunt of my poor sleep habits.
Fatigue reduces your productivity – My leadership role models are all high capacity leaders. I’m guessing your list would be similar. We not only admire leaders who get things done, we want to be those leaders! The problem is we are only fractionally effective without adequate rest. Leaders may have a 12 cylinder engine under the hood, but without rest, we operate on just a few of them.
Fatigue compromises your immune system – I’ve been sick for almost eight weeks. That’s not normal. The steroids and antibiotics didn’t work. I wonder why? Maybe it is because my body was telling me to slow down and take a break. That break starts later this week!
Chronic fatigue jeopardizes your long-term viability as a leader – You can only burn the candle at both ends for so long before you get burned. Be careful! You may think you are playing the hero’s role; you aren’t, you’re playing the role of the fool. All of us have limits. If we are wise, we’ll test them, stretch them and even push them, and then ultimately, we must honor them.
If you lead long enough, you’ll encounter a season in which you must push yourself physically, and from time to time, this will infringe on your rest. Do what you have to do, but don’t allow your leadership to be destroyed by making this your typical approach to work.
If any of this feels too close to home for you, maybe the best thing you can do this weekend is take a nap. I plan to take several. Sweet dreams![GLS_Shield]