While all leaders feel the weight of responsibility in their roles, I think women even more so – they wear more hats, fill more roles, and keep track of more details.
In January I facilitated a two-week coach training program for an extraordinary group of women leaders in the Philippines. On the last day when participants were sharing about what the training meant to them, almost everyone mentioned how great it was to be away for two weeks without their regular responsibilities, with one woman remarking, “I just got to rest!”
Their comments had me reflecting on how traveling and attending training events helps builds resiliency for all types of leaders.
Rest for the body
It can be difficult to completely relax when we’re at home and caught up in our regular routines. Sometimes we need to get away from all that to really get the rest we need.
These women could have commuted back and forth to the training sessions each day, but that would add more stress and time to the equation. By staying on-site, they had extra downtime before and after class and they could get to bed earlier.
Stepping outside of their regular work environment meant they didn’t have to be “on” – they could take care of their own needs and leave work at work. It really seemed like they were there for themselves, not for anyone else or because they had to, but for them.
Rest for the being
Much of this downtime was filled with conversation and laughter, with pairs and groups of women huddled together. I witnessed serious moments as well, leaning into each other with support and understanding. I know that often leaders feel isolated and don’t have that camaraderie and connection.
As leaders, we need to be able to talk things out with somebody. There was a lot of trust built over the two weeks where people could really speak candidly. That helped them realize they weren’t alone with their feelings and struggles. This was therapeutic for their whole being – who they are right to the core.
Years ago when I was coaching another group of leaders, I discovered that many of them wanted to learn how to coach rather than just being coached, and that led to the training programs we have now. But what I learned in the Philippines is that nothing beats being coached.
“I don’t have any challenges anymore,” said one woman, “I’ve coached them out!” They found being coached just as helpful as practicing their new coaching skills.
How to cultivate resiliency at home
You can apply these lessons at home in between training sessions and holidays. Here’s how:
- Carve out time for yourself. You could take up a serious hobby or just step out of your life for an afternoon by visiting a park or coffee shop. It’s really about finding yourself a space other than home or work. I remember years ago walking around a shopping mall as a way to clear my head and fill my senses with new experiences.
- Get to bed at a regular time. I have read in numerous places that it’s best to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Luckily I naturally like going to bed early, and I notice a difference if something takes me out of that norm.
- Connect with friends. Be intentional about building your relationships outside of work. That might mean rekindling relationships that have quieted down while you’ve been building your career, or looking for new ones.
- Work with a coach. Get your issues taken care of – the ones that are dragging you down and taxing your resiliency. A coach can also help you learn important self-coaching skills you can use for the rest of your life.
What are your favorite things about traveling or attending training events? What do you carry over to your day-to-day life that helps you sail through challenging times?