Leading From A Cup That Runs Over

We need to allow ourselves to change our minds, to explore what ignites us and to walk away from what burdens us.

Yet if there is one leadership truth, irrespective of gender, that we need to amplify, it’s that you cannot lead or empower others from an empty cup. No matter how successful or determined you are to succeed, you have to make space to pause, reflect and re-energize in order to lead others better. Jen Fisher, the Chief Well-being Officer at Deloitte US beautifully phrases it, “We are human beings, not human doings, not human chasings. It’s okay not to be everything to everyone and it is okay to ask for help from others. We should celebrate that!”

Make space to be human

As a young female professional, I’ve often felt the pressure to fill in the gaps, step up and prove my worth. Shadowed by the portrayals of women I admire for their success, I have often let my determination lead me away from letting myself be human. What does this really mean?

Make space to check out

I was recently inspired by this article written by communications specialist Jim Olson on how at the age of 50, he decided to take a gap year that would allow him to ‘stop fuelling his ambition and start refuelling his soul.’ As we navigate the path towards success and self-actualization, it’s often easy to be fixated on a particular destination and forget to experience the journey and more importantly, enjoy times of rest. What Jim so beautifully highlights is that for you to discover what it means to be the person the world needs you to be and not what it expects, you need to pause, reflect and re-strategize.

Don’t be afraid to lean into others

The paradoxical nature of leadership means that you’ll pour a lot of time and energy into others, but the seat at the top is often lonely and can leave you running on empty. For women, this is further exacerbated by the reality that many companies and organisations are yet to make room for them. In fact, a recent study conducted by Catalyst found that in 2020, the proportion of women in senior management roles stood at 29%.

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