Reimagining Control Over One’s Boundaries
BY LAUREN B. HODGES/School Administrator, June 2021
|Consultant Lauren Hodges works with organizational
leaders on sustainable
behavior change. PHOTO COURTESY OF LAUREN HODGES
When I met this group of educational leaders, it was clear they were nearing burnout (or already were there) and didn’t even know it.
As a performance consultant, I helped them to reimagine a sense of control over their boundaries, thoughts and work schedules. I had them reconnect to their “why” and to dive into the mindsets driving stress. Some of the participating superintendents believed rest to be unproductive. They were forgoing sleep and time with loved ones, in spite of research indicating sleep deprivation decreases personal productivity and increases the risk for burnout.
I identified strategies based on the individual’s needs and the unique ways stress surfaced in his or her life, including:
Setting reminders to breathe deeply once per day.
Blocking lunch hours on the work calendar to eat or decompress.
Tracking food intake and mood for a day, looking for patterns.
Building boundaries around phone use after work hours.
Protecting time for exercise.
Constructing a personal purpose statement and reading it daily.
Setting reminders to shut down devices 30 minutes prior to bedtime to ensure 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
Leveraging vision boards, positive affirmations and other tools to provide perspective when tensions are high and self-doubt creeps in.
Implementing these too-small-to-fail actions can “snowball” into sustainable behavior change that has a dramatic downstream impact on an organizational leader’s happiness, resilience and performance at work and at home, where it matters most.
The bottom line: We cannot change the daily demands education leaders face, but we can certainly improve their capacity to manage stress.
is a leadership and performance consultant in Satellite Beach, Fla. Twitter: @drlaurenhodges