Girls just wanna have fun

Me-time is essential to a person’s health and well-being. Often, people think that me-time is a day at the spa or something else extravagant that they cannot afford to do.

Me-time is much simpler. It is anything that you do just for yourself. There is no set expense or time frame that you have to follow when taking me-time. It can be as simple as taking a walk. The only imperative concerning me-time is that you take it.

A recent ultimate girl’s trip reminded me of a lot of lessons for leaders that can be learned from this me-time.

1. Let your guard down

We rolled away from the last pick-up, listening to Cyndi Lauper’s hit from the 80’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, dressed like Thelma & Louise for a photo opt. For this group, me included, it was a tad bit out of our comfort zone. But we relied on each other’s sixth sense to proceed as planned so we could freeze that boisterous moment.

It reminded me of Rachel Botsman’s post on, “Why comfortable cultures are a bad idea.” She references the importance of high trust and psychological safety, and the need for leaders to provide a ‘safe space’ for engaging controversial ideas.

A commitment to psychological safety in the workplace should be held to the same degree of priority as physical safety. Leaders have a responsibility to ensure every team member can let their guard down so they can feel safe to talk about anything at any time with anybody.

2. Relax

Relax and let your hair down–in this case, blow around when the bandanas decide to ‘lift-off’ — was the order of the day. It is impossible to get through life without stress. Stress is unavoidable and if we do not handle it well it can cause lasting physical and psychological damage.

When you are leading a team, you need to engage them and use their time and talents. Your job is to help them be successful, and you must be in a relaxed mindset to help them achieve this. Why would you put all the angst, pressure and stress on yourself? You need to have a healthy mind too.

“When trouble grows, your character shows,” is a quote to remind us that you don’t know who you are until you’re in a storm.

Staying loose, calm and relaxed affords the greatest control over yourself and your business. The opposite will impair your ability to change direction and adapt to the environment.

3. Celebrate with your teams

Bringing everyone together is not always easy. We’re all so dang busy.

The passage of time may relocate us, change us, distract us, and even make us lose track of one another. There’s no denying however that bonding with friends is good for the soul.

Likewise, assembling work teams can be challenging, especially in today’s hybrid work environments, but essential to creating a healthy work culture. Employees are not robots. They too have intellect and emotions. Failing to connect with them as human beings who have emotional needs will backfire. You cannot program loyalty.

If you want to inspire greatness in your teams, celebrate with them. Bring everyone together to recognize wins, successes, and milestones. Anything really that will mark an event (or excuse) to increase employee engagement.

4. Bring your whole self to work

A “whatever” attitude for an all-girl road trip is fellowship which we all embraced. Acceptance and recognition of diversity isn’t a topic to be agreed upon, it was instinctively assumed.

Strategic leaders understand that to tackle the most demanding situations, and problems, they need to draw on everything they have learned in their lives. They need to tap into a full set of capabilities, interests, experiences, and passions to come up with innovative solutions. They don’t want to waste their time in situations (or with organizations) that don’t align with their values.

Comparatively, they encourage the people who report to them to do the same. In doing so, strategic leaders create a lower-stress environment because no one is pretending to be someone else; people take responsibility for who they truly are. This creates an honest and authentic environment in which people can share their work lives, as well as, the enablers and constraints in their life.

When leaders bring their whole selves to work, they lead with humility. Remember that (all) team members are vulnerable, imperfect human beings doing the best they can.

5. Find time to reflect

A quote from Helen Keller, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision,” reminds me of those quiet times we each captured on our girl-trip to reflect and cherish. The memories and moments we made will last forever.

Reflection helps you learn from your mistakes, but it also gives you time to figure out the value of your aspirations, and whether you can raise them higher. It allows you the chance to spot great ideas using what you are already doing or things that are going on in your life.

Leaders are often caught up in the pressures of the moment. But if you take a minute to step back and reflect, it can provide the space to give you a clear-cut vision in your life and in the lives of those you inspire.

When leaders take the time to self-reflect, contemplate and examine they will assimilate lessons learned. These lessons can provide tremendous value to improve project management. Self-reflection will capture these insights to engage teams in energy-generating activities.

6. Share and appreciate

Belly laughs, tears of emotion, and appreciation of each other’s differences take place when you spend a cozy overnight together in a small cottage. You learn about each other’s quirks and quarks.

Learning why people act, think, talk, and live differently from you can be awe-inspiring. When we learn to appreciate the differences in each other, relationships materialize. And relationship building is imperative to a healthy work environment.

When two people agree on everything, one of them is not thinking. There must be differences in our thoughts in order to grow as a team. The key is utilizing those differences to create a stronger workforce.

Great leaders are open-minded. In the words of George Shaw, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

When leaders learn to understand and appreciate the skills of others it opens the doors for opportunities. Look for what you want, not what you don’t want.

7. Feel grateful and blessed

As we journey home, a look in the rear-view mirror at the smiling faces was a template for trust, calmness, and satisfaction. The front passenger who was less obvious paused the music to reflect on our conscious gratitude and good fortune.

The bottom line of this leadership lesson is to invoke trust & transparency into your work environment. They are two pillars to foolproof leadership. Trying to effectively lead an organization without trust and transparency is like going to a gunfight with a knife–you will lose.

Practicing mindfulness and a healthy lifestyle, using positive self-talk, and emphasizing emotions of gratitude and appreciation can have a profound impact on people.

Be good to yourself, take some “me-time.”