Recently there have been a lot of conversations about leaders who are depressed, who are finding it difficult to stay engaged with the work they’re doing.
They don’t feel motivated, and they’re always wondering, “is THIS it?” when they feel blocked or stuck and can’t seem to move past it.
Quite often with depression, there are many contributing factors. There is, of course, the medical side of things, such as a possible chemical imbalance—which is why it’s so important to consult with a medical professional—but there are also situations in which depression manifests due to anger that’s turned inwards.
What do I mean by this?
When anger surfaces and isn’t worked through and expressed in a healthy manner, it takes the form of anxiety and a loss of motivation. It also presents an overall sense of sadness and worthlessness.
It’s precisely for this reason that it’s so important to prioritize healing work for yourself, as a leader. There are huge consequences to shoving your emotions under the rug.
On a regular basis set aside some personal time and space for yourself so you can sit quietly, in stillness.
Turn your attention within often, take a good look at your life, and see where there may be situations or instances in which anger was repressed. Where anger was pulled inwards instead of the expressed outwardly.
What is the root cause of all of this?
What is the root of this anger?
What is the root of this depression I’m experiencing?”
And then reconnect to WHY.
When we find ourselves feeling unmotivated towards the work that we’re doing, the fast way to reignite the spark is to reconnect with the “why” we’re doing it and whom the work is impacting.
I repeat this concept constantly because it’s one of the most important things to remember.
We tend get stuck in our heads, and when we’re sucked into that maelstrom, we’re not feeling passion, or joy, or fulfillment in the work that we’re doing. We forget why we took this journey to begin with.
When we reconnect with the fulfillment, and the joy, and the love of why we’re doing what we do, that’s when we re-engage with it.
We need to take a step back, ground ourselves, and take a solid look at whom we’re serving, who’s on our team, and who we are in our leadership positions.
Leadership can be a lonely journey.
Many women leaders whom I work with talk about the loneliness they experience, and the fact that they feel as though they’re meant to be a lone wolf.
In reality, leadership is all about support, and being part of a pack: being someone who contributes to the pack in such a way as to ignite passion in those around them.
That’s what a leader really does. A leader is never alone, but a good leader needs to ensure that they find people of similar interests and similar vibrations to their own so they feel understood and connected.
This is why it’s so important to really take a look at whom you’re surrounding yourself with on a daily basis.
Do they exemplify all the qualities you see in yourself, or in the vision you have of the leader you want to be?
Taking these steps and ensuring that you’re surrounded by your “tribe” can all help to prevent depression, as you realize that you’re truly not alone in your endeavours and always have a safe sounding board to express anger and joy too. There are people around you who understand you—who really get you—and will get along with you on a deep, authentic level.
This is a subject that I cover in the Worthy Leader Mastermind as well: the importance of connecting with a group of individuals who understand you: who understand where you’re at, and the struggles you’re going through.
Their own stories may be different, but it’s likely that they’ve had similar enough experiences that they can support you with what you’re going through.
In turn, you’ll be able to support them when they face difficult journeys as well.
Whom you surround yourself with makes an enormous difference in your wellbeing, since the people you interact with daily have a huge impact on how you manage your energy.
In many situations, feeling depressed is a strong indication that we’re not taking care of ourselves: that our own needs are not being met. More often than not, this means that we’re expending far more energy than we’re being given in turn.
When you surround yourself with people who are giving to YOU, you’ll notice that you feel as though your cup has been refilled. You’re built back up again, rather than constantly feeling depleted.
You’re being replenished with connection and love and unconditional support from the amazing people around you who have been where you are, who understand you, and have a deep sense of acceptance for you.
Those of us who don’t have a strong support structure from the people around us can end up struggling so much, and the depression that can ensue from not feeling supported or replenished can have extensive negative impacts on us on a long-term basis.
This is why it’s so important to determine the causes of our emotional distress. In no way is this negating medical implications or mental health conditions: it’s important to work with doctors or other healthcare professionals on these aspects of our wellbeing, but it’s just as important to understand the emotional side of things.
When you understand why you’re experiencing those emotions, you can get a better perspective on how they impact you, as well as your leadership style, your business, and your career.
Asking yourself questions about the causes of your anger and emotional upheaval, as well as really examining the people who surround you, the things that make you feel fulfilled, and how you can deepen that sense of fulfillment, will allow you to live a life in which you feel a greater sense of worthiness than where you are right now.
You are more worthy of feeling a deeper sense of belonging, of interconnectedness, and of sisterhood.