The holiday cards remind us that this is the time for joy and peace – but I have a feeling that in truth, this season stresses us out more than it relaxes us.
So many of you are exhausted. Some districts didn’t close until Friday, December 23rd. Not only were you dealing with kids – and faculty – whose focus was on vacation and presents, your own focus was on keeping things from getting out of hand and figuring out how to get all your holiday tasks done.
Now the holiday is over. Your house is almost back in order and you have a much lighter schedule until school resumes in January. What are you going to do with this time? Sleep may be a high priority, but there is something else you should take the time to do.
Pause and reflect. Is this how you really want your life to go? Time is a gift and a finite commodity. How do you choose to spend it? Because no matter what you say about all the demands your job makes –and they are quite real – you are the one making choices. Your choices tell other what you value.
I used to say my family was my highest priority, but that was not how I was living my life. There was always another task that needed to be done, always another library committee that demanded my presence. My family knows I love them. But was I there for them? How was I showing that?
Yes, there are times when you need to stay late. Once in awhile you may go into work on a Saturday. But if you are coming home late every night, you are cheating those you care most about and yourself.
You have been building relationships with your colleagues, learning enough about them so as to know what’s really going on for them. But are you doing the same with your significant other, good friends and whoever else is important in your life? Are you accepting “I’m fine” with a sense of relief because it means you don’t have to do anything?
If you are to survive and thrive as a leader you need to live a balanced life. You can never get back moments you didn’t share with family and friends because you were too busy. If they are important, tasks always get done. Moments not spent with those you care about are lost forever.
When you are home, be fully present. Let school slip away from your consciousness. Don’t spend your time thinking about the job and your next project. Focus on the people around you. Make time to have lunch or dinner with friends
When you pick your head up from the load of tasks you have and find the joy in being with those who matter to you, while still being a leader and an active member of the school library committee you will find you are less exhausted and stressed. The times with family and friends refresh and rejuvenate you.
Living a balanced life is also a gift to other librarians who are watching you. As a leader you a role model. You exemplify what leadership entails. If all you are is a workaholic, reasonable people will not see the value in emulating you, and you do want to build more leaders. Tom Peters has said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/tompeters382508.html)
And in my efforts to be a role model for leadership, I am keeping this blog shorter than usual. This is my time with family.
Are you leading a balanced life? Where do you find joy?