It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Do you know what kind of beauty takes your breath away? What beautiful thing or experience completely captures your imagination and makes you smile from the inside out, forget time and experience pure joy?

Leadership is a tough gig and for many it can become all-consuming. In our endeavor to be the best leaders we can be we can forget to take care of ourselves. The irony is that this one act of forgetfulness can lead to a slippery slope of exhaustion, frustration and even burnout and we end up becoming the monster leader we are trying not to be.

I write often about how leadership is other-focused, and it is, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deliberately and regularly take time for nurturing ourselves. In fact, the more focused we are on others and unlocking their potential and that of our teams and organizations, the more we need to tend to ourselves first so that we are grounded and balanced and, thus, able to successfully tai chi our way through the inevitable leaderships challenges we face.

One fun way to do this is to take yourself on what Julia Cameron in the book The Artist Way calls an artist date. This is a personal field trip in search of beauty that feeds your soul, brings you joy and clears the cobwebs and clutter out of your head. The one rule is that it has to be real, not virtual. You have to leave your phone and computer behind and experience something physically.

It is quite extraordinary when you do. I have a set of Harvard Classics that are from 1917 that were my grandfather’s. He died before I was born so having his books is a way of connecting with him and reminding me that my love of literature has been passed down from generation to generation. I’ve read most of them but sometimes I just take one out of the book shelf to feel the soft leather cover and the delicate gold trimmed pages, to smell the scent of the years it holds and to let myself think about the genius held within each page…Austin, James, Dostoyevsky, Balzac.


So, whether it is nature, music, poetry, art, literature or any number of other things, seek it out at least once a week and experience the magic.

When you do, here are 5 ways the experience will make you a better leader:

  1. It will slow you down and slow down time. When you slow down you will notice people and things that you might miss when you are moving fast and going from task to task.
  2. It will get you out of the virtual world and into the real one where you actually have the possibility of experiencing things that have been around longer than you, the computer or the phone.
  3. It will refresh your mind, body and soul which keeps you in a positive state of mind. Positivity is contagious. Your team will notice and mirror that vibe and work will be more fun for everyone. This refreshment also helps keep you in balance so that your own triggers and issues don’t hijack you, spill all over others and create a hot mess that you have to clean up.
  4. It will return you to a state of wonder and possibility and guess what? This is where innovation and creativity live. Visit often!
  5. It will connect you to the universal muse of inspiration and this will provide perspective and remind you that within the beauty of the world there is so much that is bigger than the day-to-day challenges you face.

Copyright 2018, Sheila Madden, Madden Coaching & Consulting. All Rights Reserved.