A new Executive Director of a large NYC non-profit is completely swamped, and is not taking time for coaching – even though she knows it might help her.  Here’s what I reminded her about:

“When you started in this position, you and those around you understandably felt like the problems now can finally be solved…and fast! My experience is, however, that anything that doesn’t get resolved probably didn’t really need to be resolved yet. In fact, as time goes on you’ll see that more information will be revealed related to the issues  – information that will make even better resolutions possible.

Remember that it is CRITICAL for you to take care of yourself so you stay centered, solid, calm, and above all don’t burn out.  Pace yourself.  And trust that you will know what to do first.  The rest can wait.  As long as clients are getting service and you’re not being evicted, all other deadlines are fungible.”

When I’m off-center, out of balance, over-stressed – I can become a terrible leader.  I’m not happy and neither are the people around me.  Taking care of ourselves and pacing ourselves may seem like a selfish thing to do, and it certainly does anger some people who fail to see a bigger picture.  How important is that, though?

It’s more important to be able to calmly explain to them what you ARE doing and why, what the other priorities are, and asking them for their help in managing the priorities, expectations and work load.