One of the most important, and often neglected, elements of self-leadership is “soul management”.
Now, I am a person of faith and so I am quite comfortable with the term “soul”, but you could easily substitute the words “outlook”, “disposition”, “mood” or “heart”.
Whatever term you use, the health of your inner world has a direct and profound bearing on your effectiveness as a leader. If your inner world is in order you will project a light, optimistic nature which buoys the spirits of everyone around you. But if your inner world is dark, uptight or depleted, that is precisely what you will project. And followers flee from such leadership.
Here’s the good news. To a very large extent, the health of your inner world, your soul if you like, is entirely within your control, or at least influence. Your soul is fed by whatever you expose it to.
That is why it is so important to pay close attention to these three key diets of a healthy soul:
Your media diet
How much destruction and devastation do you expose yourself to every week via television and internet news services? Over-exposure to the horrors of today’s world will deplete your soul.
The alternative is not to live in some naïve bubble closed off to the real world. Just be careful you’re not gorging yourself on these images to the detriment of your soul.
Your relational diet
Your relational world is filled with soul-fillers and soul-drainers. You can’t avoid toxic people all the time, but you can limit your exposure to the soul-deflating people.
Your entertainment diet
A recent season premiere of one of the most popular shows on television left tens of millions of viewers feeling “empty”, “depressed” and “devastated”, according to countless Twitter messages. (You can guess the name of the show).
Leaders can’t afford to over-indulge in such soul-depleting entertainment.
There’s a bible verse that guides my leadership in this regard; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23).
The people you lead deserve the best “you” you can offer to them.
And giving them your best begins by giving yourself a well-nourished soul.