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Very few leaders will admit they are selfish.  Most people in leadership positions would actually agree that a leader should be selfless.  Since all of us lead at one time or another and in varying capacities, we run into the Selfless vs. Selfish leadership dilemma.   

When in authority whether it is overseeing a project, managing a household or leading a corporation, selfless leadership is key to long-term success.  We want others to follow and come along for the journey.  We need to be humble but passionate.  Hustle while not leaving anyone behind.  Hungry without devouring the people we lead and serve.  

The title of this post connotates an either or premise.  That is the case most of the time.  Leaders need to be selfless.  Simon Sinek wrote a book called Leaders Eat Last and one of the main points is caring about others.  This is a selfless act.   

I agree with the necessity of leaders being humble and selfless.  However, in order to be selfless, we have to be selfish.  What I mean is that you have to take care of yourself; mind, body, and soul in order to serve others. 

If a leader only serves and gives, soon there will be nothing to offer.  You can only give from what you possess.  If a leader is empty in mind, body, and soul there is nothing to give.  So, what is offered is nothing.   

Sometimes you have to be selfish to be selfless.

Edward Albert

In order to be selfless for those we serve, we have to be selfish.  We have to replenish, rejuvenate, and rest.  If you need permission then here it is.  Build time into each week to rest, play, and restore yourself so you can give all that you have when the time comes.  We need to build rhythms into each week that feed us, so we can serve others. 

What does a rhythm of self-care look like for you?  How will you care for your mind, body, and soul in 2020?  Some ideas I try to build into each week are regular workouts, meditation & reading.  When I have the opportunity to play, I go for walks, hikes and bike rides.  I have to selfishly do some of these things so I have the capacity to serve those around me.  

What will it look like for you to be selfish this year?