“I can’t be any good to you if I am not good to myself.” For whatever reason, I stopped and paid close attention to these words from Mary J. Blige (she said these in an interview I watched this morning about her new children’s book ‘Mary Can’).
I look for leadership (and life) lessons in every nook and cranny of my daily life (occasionally I will post about them). There is a lesson that reached me in Mary J’s words, and it’s this:
I have come to believe that, as a (lowercase “l”) leader, whether that’s in your professional work, as a parent, as a teacher, in your community, etc., you should be your ‘follower zero’. That means the first person you are responsible to lead, to serve and support, to coach and to sponsor, to offer empathy and compassion to, to stay curious about, is yourself.
Being your ‘follower zero’ is not you being selfish or self-centered or self-occupied; quite the opposite.
It is you practicing being and showing up as a leader you want to follow, because only then can you be at your best to serve and support others from whom you’ve earned the privilege of their followership.
So, be good to yourself. Be your ‘follower zero’.