I had an incredible opportunity to attend the 5th Anniversary Lunch for the Center for Women in Law in Austin Friday. The honoree was my long-time mentor, Mary Cranston, and the keynote speaker was Arianna Huffington.
She has a new book out, Thrive, which I received but haven’t read. However, her remarks came from many of the lessons she shares in the book. One came from an incident that occurred to her seven years ago when she was completely burned out. I couldn’t believe the story. She followed the retelling with this comment, “Exhaustion and burnout are not the price of success.”
Preach it, sister.
But it’s becoming success currency.
We tie our exhaustion level directly to our place on the career ladder. The more exhausted we are, the more successful we must be, right?
If we were exhausted after achieving that big win, then surely we’ll have to be even more tired to meet the next goal?
Can you lead and still be rested? Can you achieve without ulcers and sleep deprivation?
The answer is yes.
The answer is you can’t lead without finding a place of respite. Rest. Relaxation. Replenishing. Restoration.
You won’t have a clear head. You won’t be your most strategic. You won’t be able to set an example for the women following your lead. You won’t make it without burning out.
Exhaustion has to stop being the currency to greatness. Huffington quoted President Clinton as saying, “Most of the major mistakes I made in my life, I made when I was too tired to know what I was doing.” (She said he didn’t specify which mistakes.)
But it’s true. It’s when you slip. It’s when you fall. It’s when you lose your clarity, your vision, your way, your drive.
Leadership means more than just what you do for others. It’s how you treat yourself. Find some time. Find a place of rest. Make a proactive plan to set aside time to refill your reserves so you can bravely step out into the next leadership opportunity.