In leadership and in life, the everyday grind can sometimes wear you down. There is always something that needs attention, someone who needs something done, some urgent matter that demands a solution. In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, author Stephen Covey referred to these types of things as the “P”, which stands for Production. In other words, the required output.
Covey taught us that the P is produced by the “PC”, which stands for Production Capability. In the case of cutting a lawn, for example, the P is the cutting of the lawn and the PC is the lawn mower. We all know that if we don’t take care of the lawn mower the blade will become dull, the engine will sputter, and the machine will eventually die. By then it will be too late for the maintenance that should have happened all along to make any difference.
Each of us is kind of like the lawn mower. We can work well for a while with no attention to our spiritual, psychological, and physical needs; but eventually, we will falter. Covey taught us that the key is to strike a balance between our P and our PC. We can’t just work on the immediate all the time and not work on our own personal needs. We need do the things that keep us healthy, happy, and strong in order to be able to do good work in a sustainable fashion. Similarly, we cannot just indulge ourselves all the time at the expense of the things we need to do for our employer, our family, and our community. Both conditions are unhealthy and unsustainable.
Covey said we all need to strike a good P/PC balance.
Most people I meet from small businesses and non-profits tend towards too much P and not enough PC. They often feel overwhelmed and short of time to take care of the P, let alone the PC. Interestingly, many of these same people are quick to counsel others to take better care of themselves but ignore the very same advice.
You know who you are, and you know I am talking to you. Take that leap and forgive yourself for all the things you have not yet done and do something nice for yourself. It is important to all those around you at work and at home that you are happy and healthy. You will be more effective at everything you do.
Take the leap.