Take the plunge to lead yourself first

Jessica Dennehy is the CEO Spin and kill

Empowerment is such a big part of my everyday life. Not just because I’m a speaker and business coach, but because I’m a parent trying to let my kids know that they can do anything if they try their best. I take that job very seriously because I don’t want to mess it up.

Your kids watch you every day. Whether you plan to or not, you’re showing them how to live, how to act, and what to prioritize.

When you sit down and really think about it, are you setting the best example you can? Are you leading yourself and your family with the same intent as you run your business?

As a successful entrepreneur, you are focused on beating it in your roles as CEO, parent, spouse, etc. You fight so hard every day to make sure you crush it in each of those roles that you forget that you are an individual too . You have divided up all your responsibilities in such a way that your individuality has faded into the background. You run your family and you run your business, but you forget to lead yourself.

One of the hardest tasks for a CEO parent is to take all those separate parts of yourself and combine them into one, strong, wonderful human being. It’s challenging to stand in your power as the multidimensional, superhuman role model that you are.

The truth is, you’ve probably lost touch with the person you used to be. You’re so busy prioritizing your business, your kids, your spouse, etc. that you forgot to prioritize yourself. By sacrificing yourself, you think you’re kicking a big ass. However, I am here to tell you that you are completely wrong.

If you don’t prioritize yourself, you lose all that magical energy that is you. You become more mechanical, stoic and empty. Guess what? Your energy affects your business and your family. I’ve been there before and I want you to avoid the mistake I made: showing my kids that being unhappy and unfulfilled is okay.

Sometime around 2019 I realized I was making this mistake and that I had to choose for myself to be an example to my kids. This was probably the hardest thing for me to do because I was so used to living my life for everyone. However, this one choice changed the course of my life.

You see, I had lost my enthusiasm for life. Outwardly I lived the dream. I had lifted myself out of my business so that it would run without me. I had a lot of time to spend with my children. I had a nice house and a nice car. I had many of the things people dream of, but I didn’t feel fulfilled.

Even though I realized I wasn’t as happy as I could be, I found it hard to find a solution because I lost touch with who I was essentially. My identity was connected to my different roles in life and not to myself as a person. I had to do some digging to find what would enlighten me. I started with something small: waking up for my kids and giving myself some alone time to think about what I really wanted in life. It wasn’t a big time investment, but it had a big impact on my family, life and career trajectory.

In the silence I found my answer. Through a series of events, I helped small business owners scale their businesses for free, which really cheered me up. I started speaking on stages, also for free. I didn’t charge anything, but I was insanely happy and traveled a lot. That’s how I lit the fire in myself again. I found something that I really loved and was passionate about. This passion has helped me reconnect with my individuality and prioritize adding more joy to my life through things beyond work and family, such as yoga, travel, and self-development.

At first, this shift felt selfish. I took time away from my kids and businesses to focus on me – what I wanted and needed. However, I soon realized that this little pivot made me happier as a person, and that happiness wrinkled my family and even my businesses.

My kids gained confidence and started dreaming bigger. They had more meaningful conversations at home about what they wanted for themselves and became more vocal about what they wanted in our family. My businesses started to thrive because I brought my enthusiasm into my staff and customers. They saw me doing bigger things and creating a better life for myself, and they wanted to learn how to do the same.

My energy changed and with it my leadership and the energy of my brands.

This was possible because I prioritized myself so that I could be an example to everyone around me that living a happy and fulfilled life is important.

You may worry that prioritizing yourself will hurt the people you love or negatively impact all the roles you play in your life. But if you don’t prioritize yourself, you teach your loved ones that it’s okay to put yourself last.

If you’re not sure how to start, one tip is to get up an hour earlier each day. This way you create space to be alone, to read, to think or even to drink a cup of coffee before the day starts. Use that time to reconnect with yourself and discover what makes you happy outside of your family and career.

Dream a little bigger, live a little bigger and show everyone who looks at you what true happiness and fulfillment looks like. Beat the day!

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