Episode: Encore Episode: Self-Care As a Leadership Discipline
Lead to Win is brought to you by LeaderBox, a monthly reading experience curated by leaders for leaders. Learn more at leaderbox.com.
Michael Hyatt: Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt, and this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work, succeed at life, and lead with confidence. In this episode, we’ll be talking about the benefits of self-care for leaders. For leaders, there never seems to be enough time in the day, and our needs are often the ones that get shortchanged. Imagine what your life would be like if you really did have time for both your career and family and the time to take care of yourself.
Think of the last time you felt fully rested or able to relax without feeling anxiety over all of the things you should be doing. Now imagine that could be your life every day. I have learned from experience the necessity of prioritizing your own needs. I see many leaders who neglect their health and relationships, and I’ve seen too many leaders burn out or blow up, all because they couldn’t figure out how to care for themselves while leading others. I want you to avoid that.
I’m going to point out the three amazing benefits you can enjoy by tending to your physical and emotional well being. In fact, I think self-care drives success. This episode is going to be a little bit different, very special, because not long ago I had an amazing opportunity to speak to the leaders at the Leadercast event. This is an annual event. I’ve actually been involved with this from the beginning, and I’ve been on hiatus for maybe about five years. I haven’t been involved in it.
But I had the opportunity to speak main stage at this event. This event was held just outside of Atlanta at the Infinite Energy Arena. There were 3,500 leaders there live, and then we had over 80,000 listening in various locations via satellite download. So, biggest audience I’ve ever spoken to, and it was an amazing opportunity. I was one of nine speakers. I spoke on the topic of Self-Care as a Leadership Discipline, and I want to share it with you now.
Michael Hyatt [speech]: This is Elon Musk, and unlike me, he needs no introduction. He’s the CEO of Tesla, of course. Many of you probably drive his cool electric cars, and the rest of us envy you and want to drive them. He’s also the CEO of SpaceX, which…get this…is a company that wants to colonize Mars. In fact, Musk intends to be buried there. This is not a guy who dreams small. This is a guy who has a vision that is quite literally interplanetary.
It’s no surprise that this kind of visionary leader commands our attention. I mean, we admire the scope of his ambition and his single-minded dedication to making his dreams a reality. Many leaders, perhaps you, want to emulate him. But when we try to do that, we come into a serious problem. Yes, Musk is a genius, but he’s also an incorrigible workaholic. In a 2010 interview, Musk advised entrepreneurs that they need to be “extremely tenacious, and then just work like hell.”
He said you have to put in 80- to 100-hour weeks every week. He went on to explain if other people are putting in 40-hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100-hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you’ll achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve. Now, that is perfectly good advice for a robot, but you are not intended to work those kinds of hours. Even Musk himself admits this can be something that’s wearing. It’s something I call the hustle fallacy.
Musk admits this can be wearing on us and can produce a really high level of pain over time. By pain he means both physical and relational pain. For example, his first wife Justine said, “Elon was obsessed with his work. When he was home, his mind was elsewhere.” His kids experience this same thing, with Musk writing, “What I find is I’m able to be with them and still be on email.” Yeah right. We all know how that works.
Lately, he has been sleeping so much on his couch at the Tesla factory his fans started a campaign to buy him a more comfortable couch. Caffeinated beverages used to fuel his breakneck pace until, because of them, he started losing his peripheral vision. One lesson is clear from Musk’s life: the hustle fallacy leads to self-neglect. Look, I get it. I’ve fallen into that same trap myself. In 1999, my career was booming.
I had just written my first New York Times Best Seller. I was on my way to being named the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and I was squeezing in a dozen or so radio or television interviews a day. From the outside, it looked like I was on this enormous winning streak, but inside I was fried. I was totally out of shape. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was rarely taking vacations, and I was constantly worried that I was sacrificing my family on the altar of my own ambition.
The stress and exhaustion finally caught up with me, and I had a series of heart attack scares. Thankfully, they weren’t heart attacks; they were panic attacks, but the last time I was in the ER the doctor said to me, “If you don’t make some major lifestyle changes, the next time you’re in here it’s going to be the real thing.” It scared me to death. That’s when I began to realize that working 80-hour weeks was a little bit like Elon Musk’s early SpaceX rockets: ambitious but explosive.
Thankfully, a series of small steps brought me back to better health: better eating, a little exercise, leaving work early, spending more time with my family. Twenty years later, the gains are remarkable. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I rarely work weeknights or on weekends. I have plenty of time for my family, my friends, and my hobbies, and I get to spend month-long annual sabbaticals with my wife Gail, to whom I’ve been married for 40 years.
Here’s the point: It hasn’t hurt my career either. In fact, it has fueled it. I believe these two things can be symbiotic. They can fuel one another. Some assume the only alternative to the hustle fallacy is what I call the ambition brake. This is when you refuse to shortchange your health and your family for the sake of your career, so you intentionally pump the brakes, throttle your career. Sadly, what you end up with is wasted potential and unfulfilled dreams.
If I had to choose between those two, I’d like to think I would choose health and family, but let’s be honest. None of us want to make that choice, and thankfully, we don’t have to. There’s a third alternative, and it’s something I call the double-win truth. When you’re unwilling to compromise your contribution either at work or at home… Like I said, they’re symbiotic. They fuel one another. Your work gives you confidence, joy, and financial provision to bring home, and your health and home life, in turn, lend a clear mind, creativity, and a rested body to your work. That’s the double-win truth.
I’ve seen it in my own life. When I traded in the hustle fallacy for self-care, my career didn’t suffer. I went on to be named the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I began to see amazing things happen in my life. I started my own firm in 2011. We’ve grown 10 times in the last five years. Last year, Inc. magazine named us as one of the fastest growing private companies in the US. I tell you this not to brag but to say it’s possible to go this third way: the double-win truth. It’s an amazing return on a series of small investments.
I know this false dichotomy may be preying on you too. I can see it in your faces. You feel the tension. Here’s why: 61 percent of American workers struggle with work-related stress, no doubt fueled by this tension they feel between the demands of their professional career and the demands of their personal life. In addition to that, your risk of a heart attack is 11 to 20 percent higher on Mondays. This is that time when you transition from home to work and feel that tension full force.
These stats come alive when I coach professionals and business leaders like you. High achievers are in high demand. Therefore, their workload keeps growing. The tension is that they tend to dip into personal priorities and set those aside for the sake of the work they have to do. By a show of hands, I have a question for you. How many of you have skipped a workout, shorted sleep, or carved into family time in the last month for the sake of work? Be honest. Okay. Everybody. How about in the last week? Most of you.
When we buy into the hustle fallacy, the first place we tend to cut is…you guessed it…self-care. It happens to all of us. It’s one of those things that seems unnecessary, like a luxury, but it’s not. It’s imperative. Self-care has demonstrable career-enhancing, business-building benefits, and I want to share three with you today. Before I do, I think it’s important that we define what it is we’re talking about. When I talk about self-care, here’s what I mean.
Self-care describes the activities that make for a meaningful life outside of work while contributing to greater performance at work. It plays out in daily habits, like sleeping enough, eating well, exercising regularly, connecting with the people we love, engaging in meaningful hobbies, and making time for personal reflection. The hustle fallacy says the bigger your vision the more you have to sacrifice self-care. Right? What if the opposite were true? What if the bigger your vision the more you have to prioritize self-care? Here’s why.
Benefit #1: Self-care gives you energy. You need all the energy you can get. Right? I know I do. Why? Because I have big ambitions, both personally and professionally. But there’s a problem. High achievers like you often tell me, “I don’t have time for self-care.” I understand it. I get it. Life is busy, but usually when we say we don’t have time for something important it’s because we’ve bought into the myth of time management.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be intentional with how we manage our time, but the trouble comes when we accept the belief that skillfully massaging our schedule can somehow produce more time, and we refuse to grapple with the fact that we have more tasks than time. That’s always going to be true. If we’re not careful, the next thing we know it’s 7:00 p.m. and we’re eating takeout at our desk…again.
Here’s the hard truth: Time is fixed. It can’t flex. You get 168 hours no matter how important you may think you are. But here’s another truth: energy can flex. You can’t give yourself more time. That’s true. But you can bring a sharper, more energized you to bear on the time you have available. This is an insight I learned from Jim Lehrer. Productivity is less about managing time and more about managing your energy.
Most people get this entirely backward. As a result, they work more and more, less and less efficiently. The research shows that after a certain amount of time we’re just chasing our tail. Jack Nevison crunched the numbers from several studies on long work hours, and here’s what he found: there’s a ceiling for productive work. He calls it the law of fifty, and it stands in stark contrast to the hustle fallacy.
Push past 50 hours a week, and there’s no productivity gain. Zero. In fact, it could go backward. One study found that 50 hours on the job only yielded 37 hours of useful work. Push that up to 55 hours, and it drops to 30. In other words (and you’ve seen the pattern), there’s an inverse relationship between how much you work and how productive you are. You’re not a robot. You’re a person who needs rest to be at your best.
As you think about self-care, you have to acknowledge that your self is at the center. Now hear me. I’m not arguing that you should be self-centered. Not at all. But I’m asking you to acknowledge the fact that your self is central. Your health, your relationships, your children, your hobbies, your work… At the center of all these is you. You’re all you have to offer these various facets of your life. If you’re not nurturing yourself, if your self is not thriving, then the influence you bring to these other dimensions is going to be less than what it could be.
Think of the old adage of sharpening the saw. Abraham Lincoln supposedly said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the ax.” I don’t know if he said that or not, but I do know the principle is true. It’s this: time not chopping is worth as much, if not more, than time swinging the ax. In other words, it’s how you ensure the tool is up to the task.
Benefit #2: Self-care gives you an edge. We live in an incredibly competitive environment, where even the slightest edge can spell the difference between success and failure, but there’s a problem. Another objection I often hear (you’ve probably made it yourself) is self-care seems indulgent. Let’s bust that myth right now. Sharpening the blade is not indulgent; it’s essential. The same is true for you. Self-care leads to higher performance, and the science proves it.
First of all, self-care fuels creativity. Your mind is like a machine that’s powered by rest and recreation. Subtract those elements, and the machine cannot function at its top performance. Consider sleep. According to one study, trying to get by on six hours or less of sleep reduces our cognitive functioning to that of someone who is legally drunk. According to neuroscientists, “Sleep-deprived people come up with fewer original ideas and also tend to stick with old strategies.” An extra hour of sleep might be your best strategy for creating more innovation.
Or consider exercise. Studies show there’s a direct correlation between bodily exercise and brain functioning. Even low-impact exercise releases a protein called BDNF, which helps promote the growth of new brain cells and nourishes the ones you have. As one study said, when we exercise our legs we’re exercising our brain.
Or consider fun. Believe it or not, fun is a form of fuel. Writer Virginia Postrel says, “Play nurtures a supple mind, a willingness to think in new categories, and an ability to make unexpected associations.” If you or your team needs a breakthrough, you might just need a break. Sleep, exercise, fun…all are indispensable if we’re going to be more creative in our work, but the benefits extend beyond creativity.
Self-care also fuels confidence, and here’s why. Exercise lowers our stress and anxiety levels while at the same time raising our sense of self-efficacy. In other words, it increases the belief that we can accomplish difficult tasks, which, in turn, fuels greater performance at work. There’s one more way self-care gives you an edge. It has even been linked to higher earnings. Researchers in Finland followed 5,000 male twins over the course of 30 years.
They tracked which ones were sedentary and which ones were active, and they came to the conclusion that regular exercise results in bigger long-term earnings, as much as 14 and 17 percent higher. That would be a nice raise this year, wouldn’t it? It turns out that regular exercise forms the kind of character that wins in the marketplace. According to these researchers, exercise makes people more persistent in the face of work-related difficulties and increases their desire to engage in competitive situations.
Would more creativity, increased confidence, and greater competitiveness give you an edge? Yeah, I think so. It would me. Now, just in case you’re still on the fence, let me make one final argument. As we’ve seen, self-care improves performance, but conversely, self-neglect causes crises that cripple careers. I remember when an executive I worked with went through a painful divorce. It left a leadership vacuum in our company for about a year. He was there, but barely so.
Years of self-neglect and workaholic neglect broke down his family, and it eventually broke down the career he’d fought so hard to build. I’ve seen the same thing happen to leaders who have experienced health crises after years of bodily neglect finally caught up with them. I don’t want to see any of that happen to you. Self-care gives you an edge by warding off the crises that can undermine your career or impede the growth of your business.
Benefit #3: Self-care gives you endurance. We live in a world that worships heroic work. You might be tempted to think that if you took off a little early for the sake of self-care people at the office might begin to talk or begin to question your commitment to the mission. That’s why I think defining the win is necessary to achieving it. If there’s no target, there can be no bulls-eye. So it’s important we stop to clarify the kind of success we’re after.
There are two questions I’ve found helpful. First…Do you want one-dimensional or multidimensional success? Are you willing to be sort of the industry titan at the expense, for example, of being a loving father or mother? Do you want to be the youngest executive in the boardroom even if it costs you your health? If that’s what you want, fine, but if you’re hoping to achieve both, it’s going to take a different approach.
The second question I’ve found to be helpful is…Do you want momentary or sustained success? I’ve had friends who have buckled down in tough situations for a limited amount of time in order to achieve a specific financial target. If you want that, fine, but make no mistake about it. The hustle fallacy comes with a high, very high price tag. If you’re after enduring success, success at work and at home, self-neglect can’t be part of the equation. Long-term success requires sustainable habits.
Now let’s be honest. The hustle fallacy can be very effective in short spurts, but when you stack sprint upon sprint upon sprint, like I know some of you are doing, it’s a recipe for burnout. Some of you are probably feeling that this morning. Alexandra Michel conducted a study of investment bankers who regularly worked between 100 and 120 hours a week. Obviously, there are only 168 hours a week, so they were shorting self-care.
Not surprisingly, Michel found these bankers were extremely productive for the first couple of years. Also not surprising, it didn’t last. “Starting in year four,” she said, “bankers started to experience sometimes debilitating physical and psychological breakdowns.” They suffered from “chronic exhaustion, insomnia, back and body pain, autoimmune diseases, heart arrhythmias, addictions, and compulsions,” causing them to exhibit diminished judgment and ethical sensitivity.
In other words, the harder they worked, the more they tried to compensate for their lack of productivity with more work. It was a vicious cycle, and it just didn’t work. So, why would they sign up for 100 hours a week? Probably because they’ve fallen into the same myth you and I often fall into. We think we’re the exception. Right? Maybe you think, “Okay, I’m working 50 or more hours a week, but I’m actually quite productive.” Or you think, “I haven’t exercised since college, and I’m as healthy as a horse.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with stamina or a work ethic, but the long-term effects of thinking we’re exempt from self-care are severe. Take Marissa Mayer, the former CEO of Yahoo, who bragged publicly that she got by on four hours of sleep a night, but then fell asleep and was publicly ridiculed because she missed a high-profile marketing meeting. In fact, she arrived three hours late. Or Arianna Huffington, who, after a series of 80-hour weeks, fainted from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone on the desk on her way to the floor.
Some of us are working ourselves into lackluster marriages, alienation from our kids, bodies that are prone to disease and illness. In some extreme cases, we might even be working ourselves into an early grave. Self-care offers a brighter alternative. Those who slow down enough to enjoy their work stay at it longer and perform better. They also have well-tended bodies, family lives, and friendships they can take into their golden years. This kind of endurance only comes to those who practice self-care.
So let’s review. When you prioritize self-care, you’ll experience three career-enhancing, business-building benefits. First, increased energy; second, a competitive edge; and third, long-term endurance. You can unlock these benefits with three simple steps. First, make a commitment to self-care. If not now, when? When you have that heart attack? When your spouse serves you with divorce papers? When your kids go astray? When? Now is the time.
Second, set hard boundaries around your workday and weekends. In other words, protect your margin. You’re going to need it if you’re going to perform at the top of your game. Third, set a goal of sleeping eight hours a night. Now I know that sounds like a lot, but when it comes to self-care, nothing is more important than your rest.
If you want to take this further (and I hope you will), I’ve also put together a free resource for you called The Self-Care Starter Kit. It includes two components. First, an online assessment that’ll help give you a score as to exactly where you are in terms of self-care. It’s brand new. We just launched it for this conference. Second, a free ebook called The Busy Leader’s Self-Care Handbook: Seven Simple Strategies to Boost Your Energy, Up Your Focus, and Achieve Extraordinary Results. You can get that at michaelhyatt.com/self-care. Again, it’s free.
As I close, allow me to add one more benefit that’s at stake: your example. After all, my topic is Self-Care as a Leadership Discipline. As it turns out, you’re not the only one who suffers when you fall prey to the hustle fallacy. Not surprisingly, at Tesla the culture began to mirror the haggardness of its driven CEO. One former employee said of Musk, “people who worked for him were like ammunition: used for a specific purpose until exhausted and [then] discarded.”
It’s clear that Elon Musk is remarkable. Maybe his grueling methods will eventually get him the results he wants, but the jury is still out. Even if he’s the rare exception that can get by with that level of self-neglect, can your team? Can his team? You have a choice here. Some people think the chance of explosive success is worth the wear and tear on themselves for the sake of success, but again, it comes at a steep price.
Others believe in this false dichotomy, so they opt to apply the ambition brake. Not me. I’m after the double win. Let me get really personal here. I have five daughters, and they have brilliant minds and big hearts. (Maybe I’m a little biased.) One of them is the COO of our company. Three of them are thriving business builders. Another has joined forces with her husband to launch their own start-up.
I don’t want to tell them they have to choose between being healthy or building a business, between being happy wives and mothers or growing their business. I don’t want them to have to choose between rest and recharging or going all in on their career. I want them to have both, and I want it for the people I coach. But it’s not enough for me to say it with my words; I have to lead by my example. Why? Because leaders go first. They walk ahead so others can follow behind.
If you want your family and your teammates to prioritize self-care, you have to show them the way. If you want them to have thriving home lives and fulfilling careers, you have to show them how. You can be a living example that self-care drives success. It’s an example you can set beginning today. I hope…no, I pray that you won’t settle for anything less than the double win. You can win at work and succeed at life. Thank you.
[end of speech]
I hope you enjoyed that. I have some additional thoughts about this speech I want to share with you, but before we get back to that, I want to share with you a resource I think you’re going to find very helpful. Last week I spoke to you about a new book we just published called No Fail Meetings. I want to remind you your meetings do not have to be counterproductive. They can be the most powerful catalysts for productivity, innovation, and teamwork, but only if you run them in the right way.
Again, the book is called No Fail Meetings. It’s a physical book detailing my five-step process for running effective meetings and eliminating unnecessary ones. With this tool at your side, I’m confident that you’ll transform your meeting culture. Not only that, but you’ll maximize your time and your profit. Here’s the kicker: You only have until the end of today, Tuesday, the 22nd, to claim the preorder price and bonus. After today, the price will increase, and you’ll miss out on the preorder bonus. To get more info on this deal, just head to nofailmeetings.com. Remember, the preorder deal ends today.
I happen to have Megan Hyatt Miller, my cohost, my daughter, and the COO of our company in the studio with me.
Megan Hyatt Miller: I think leaders have to give presentations on a regular basis. Not always to 80,000 people or 85,000 people, thank goodness, but we all have to do it at some level. I know our listeners are curious what it was like for you to prepare for this speech and what some of the secrets to your success are there, because this is not something most people can do without a lot of practice and experience.
Michael: Right. I can’t do it without a lot of practice and a lot of preparation. I didn’t just walk up on the stage and I’m just this amazing, inspiring person who can do this stuff off the top of my head. What people often don’t see is the iceberg that’s below the water. A speech like this starts months and months in advance of actually delivering it.
We started with the idea, and I came up with the title, Self-Care as a Leadership Practice, and kind of fleshed out what the main points were going to be, and then I turned it over to the content team. They began to do some research and pull together some ideas, and we collaborated on that. We went through quite a few edits, but we literally created a script of the entire speech.
Megan: This is not always common for everybody who gives speeches. Not everybody is going to have a content team. In fact, you, for years, wrote everything you ever delivered in any kind of presentation. Right?
Michael: That’s right. Now one of the advantages of having a content team (much like this podcast) is we can go much deeper in terms of finding relevant illustrations, statistics, the things that make it compelling. Those are the things you can do when you outsource some of that, but I get that most leaders or many leaders will not be able to do that.
So we get the script, and that’s great. Once that gets settled, then we hired an outside design agency to create a slide deck. I had about 36 slides, give or take. By the way, we should include that as a resource in the show notes, so if you want to go to my website at michaelhyatt.com, you’ll be able to find all the show notes, but particularly the slide deck so people can see it. The slide deck was important. Honestly, when I got that back in its final form it was also very inspiring to me, because I thought, “This is coming together.”
I only had 25 minutes to give this speech, so part of the reason we scripted it… I do not script most speeches. In fact, this may be one of the first times I’ve ever scripted an entire speech front to back. So then this is where the work began. Everything up to that point was a lot of work, for sure, but now the work began, and now the work is all mine. I blocked off several days, and I literally gave this speech on my feet, out loud, as if I were in a live audience, over 20 times.
Megan: Oh my gosh. Lest you think people are just naturals and get up there and deliver amazing speeches, this is what’s happening behind the scenes.
Michael: From my perspective, I want to be so well rehearsed and so prepared it sounds spontaneous.
Megan: Particularly because you were working from an actual script. At the event you had a giant teleprompter in the back of the room you were working off of, as did many of the other speakers that day. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you do that. In some ways that’s easier, because you don’t have to remember things. In some ways it’s much harder, because the inflection and the heart behind it… If you’re too reliant on those words and they’re not just in your DNA at a certain level, it’s difficult for it to feel natural.
Michael: That’s why it’s so important to rehearse it. Even as I was rehearsing it, I kept changing a word here, a word there to make it my own, but by the time I stood up to give it… The teleprompter was helpful because it reminded me in case I got stuck and gave me confidence, but literally, my heart was wide open. I was making sure every word landed, and it felt like it was an expression that was happening in the moment. That only happens with sufficient rehearsal.
This is kind of a funny thing. The Wednesday before I gave the speech on Friday, I assembled seven of our team members here in our little studio, and I gave this speech to them. I’m going to tell you something. That was 10 times more scary than talking to 85,000 people.
Megan: That’s crazy. Why?
Michael: I don’t know why. Speaking to a small group is always really scary. First of all, I was going too fast on the speech. I was stumbling over words. It just wasn’t smooth. I was all up in my head. It kind of dinged my confidence.
Megan: Okay, let’s talk about that for a second, because this is a really big issue. Do you get scared when you give a speech? How nervous do you feel?
Michael: Well, I always feel nervous, and I always want to feel nervous, because, as I’ve said before, that’s my body’s way of preparing me for peak performance. What that is is really adrenaline that’s coursing through my body, and everybody thinks better, responds faster, and thinks more clearly on adrenaline.
Megan: Okay, but that’s the day of. That’s when the adrenaline is your friend. But let’s talk about the couple of weeks before. Are you just confident and you’re like, “I can totally do this”?
Megan: Or do you go through ups and downs of self-doubt?
Michael: I go through a lot of ups and downs. I would say I’m able to put one foot in front of the other and kind of be courageous, believing that the process is going to result in the outcome, but also wondering, especially late at night, if this is going to be the last speech I give, where I fall flat on my face and make a fool out of myself and embarrass all of my colleagues. Those thoughts are in my head, but for the most part, because I have a lot of experience, I know I’m going to get through it and I’m able to stay focused.
Megan: Your energy was great onstage. You were really animated. You smiled a lot. You were very excited. We’ve been at other events where maybe the speakers were not so animated and they kind of seemed flat in some way. I think that’s something speakers struggle with. How animated do you get? Because you don’t want to be cheesy and seem over the top. You have an interesting way of thinking about that.
Michael: My thought on this… I learned this from my friend Ken Davis, who was my speech coach for years and from whom I learned the SCORRE methodology. He said you have to go bigger onstage than you think, and especially on a big stage you have to go even bigger than you think. In fact, one of my criticisms even of this speech is I probably wasn’t as big as I could have been.
It’s funny. You bring the energy. If you’re not energetic, people are not going to be enthusiastic about your speech. Here’s the thing I learned from Tony Robbins. Energy is a caused thing. You have the choice. You’re going to either be the thermostat or the thermometer. The thermostat causes the temperature; the thermometer reflects the temperature. I remember years ago I walked into a speech where… I think it was a bunch of accountants in Florida.
Megan: Nothing against accountants.
Michael: Oh my gosh. Nothing against accountants, but let’s just say they weren’t enthusiastic. There wasn’t a lot of energy emanating from those guys. So I went out there, and I didn’t have a lot of energy. Then I said to my agent, who happened to be there at the time, “Well, that just was a dead crowd.” Then I started thinking about that. I said, “Okay, I’m going to have more dead crowds in the future. Am I just going to acquiesce to their energy and not give a great speech or am I going to bring it?”
I just realized the chances of success are a lot greater if I can be energetic myself. Part of that comes… I go through a series of affirmations before I ever step onstage, reminding myself that what I have to say is important and these people need it. The biggest shift that happens for me when I’m speaking is I get out of my head and start thinking about the people. If I’m thinking about myself, like, “How am I going to be perceived? Are they going to like this? Will they think I’m funny?” If I start thinking like that, that’s going to be a disaster.
Megan: It’s a doom loop.
Michael: If I start thinking about them, that they desperately need this, that they’re going to benefit from this, and I start thinking about what the needs are that they come with, then everything goes well.
Megan: Those are great takeaways. I appreciate it, and I think our audience will be able to gain confidence that it doesn’t always come easily to you, but with practice and experience and the right mindset they, too, could be successful in time.
Michael: And a lot of practice.
Megan: And a lot of practice. Twenty times practice. So today we’ve learned that self-care is an absolutely essential discipline for leaders. When you learn to take care of yourself, you gain three amazing benefits: energy, an edge, and endurance. As we come in for a landing, I just want to remind you this is one area in which it’s okay to put yourself first. When you take care of yourself, you’ll have the ability to lead others well. Dad, do you have any final thoughts today?
Michael: Just that this is more important than you know. If I had a nickel for every leader I’ve seen burn up or blow up, I’d be a rich man. We see this constantly. It’s happening in the news. You can go almost any day to the news and see it. I would urge leaders to take this seriously. If you want to be in this for the long haul and if you want to accomplish the results I know you can accomplish, you have to take care of yourself.
Megan: If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, you can get the show notes and a full transcript online at leadto.win.
Michael: Also, thanks to Leadercast for providing the audio for this episode, an amazing event. Make plans to attend it next year.
Megan: Thank you for joining us on Lead to Win. If you like the show, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. As a reminder, we’ve made it super easy for you. Just go to michaelhyatt.com/reviewit.
Michael: This program is copyrighted by Michael Hyatt & Company. All rights reserved. Our producer is Nick Jaworski.
Megan: Our writers are Joel Miller, Mandi Rivieccio, and Lawrence Wilson.
Megan: I hope you’ll join us next week when we’ll be talking about the power of your words to create a better future. Until then, lead to win.