I’m a big believer that people can be leaders in their lives not just in their work. Key leadership qualities like empathy, communication, listening, self-awareness and the ability to control your emotions are just as important in your personal life as they are in your career. It’s ultimately about showing respect. But I don’t pretend it’s easy in either situation. It takes focus and commitment and the ability to have some humility.
So here’s the backdrop on why I’m writing about this now. My hubby, Bill, our dog, Cabo, and I recently moved from Cabo San Lucas to Oklahoma City…. call us crazy but we love adventures. Our latest includes moving far away from the beaches of Cabo to the middle of the country, building a house from the ground up and furnishing it from scratch. But the house is taking longer than we thought so we’ve been hotel residents. Sounds glamourous…not so much.
Living in a 300 square foot hotel room (with no kitchen) for almost 2 months has tested my ability to be a leader in my own personal life. Meaning, I have recognized that I have been lacking in self-awareness. And not being as good at communicating or listening as I’d like to be. No excuses, but I was used to being able to disappear into my office for a few hours at a time. Or to walk into the bedroom for a little privacy. Bill loves to cook but now has no ability to be creative in the kitchen let alone have his own space. Our dog, Cabo, probably has it the best as she’s now able to jump onto the bed and the sofa with no trouble (and by the way, she seems way okay being near us all the time!).
I like to believe that I’ve consistently practiced my leadership skills at home. But I’ve gotten a little lazy. In this situation, I’ve been working on being more sensitive; how I’m feeling doesn’t just impact me. I can’t hide if I’m annoyed with something. I’m focusing on being more patient. I’ve had to remember to communicate my work schedule as it impacts Bill directly — he has to leave the room so I can have my zoom calls.
I’m sure many of you experienced some of this during the “lockdown”. Being in one room has certainly reminded me of the importance of being self-aware; my mood and actions do impact others. Of course, I know this, as do you, but sometimes, life gives us reminders.
I’ve been checking in with myself on other fronts as well. Am I actively listening to people? Am I focused on “I” versus “you” or “we”? Am I being accountable – doing what I said I was going to do? Am I focused on giving or receiving? Am I being selfish? Am I showing appreciation and gratitude on a daily basis?
Being in this hotel room has been a good check for me. I needed the reminder that showing respect to those you love is so very important, not just when it’s easy but all of the time.