Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Four Ways To Achieve Wellbeing By Leading From Within

Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about how to effectively lead an organization. You hear all the leadership buzzwords about being team focused, work/life balance, customer driven, fostering employee engagement, transparent organizations and my personal favorite being data driven.

All of these leadership buzzwords and attitudes are really outward facing facades that timid, overworked and stressed out leaders say or do to get through the day and attempt to make a difference.

It’s a real shame.

Most leaders (which include those at organizations like corporations, governments, non-profits and even your local PTA) struggle to find that inner wellbeing because they have lost their core beliefs and abuse their most important supporter.

           Why Do We Abuse Our Most Important Supporter?

It’s funny how most leaders neglect and even sabotage their most important supporter – themselves.

They work long hours, sacrifice their personal lives, tow the organizational line, get burnt out, are constantly busy and then expect others to follow their lead. They become bitter because their sacrifice seems unappreciated – it’s like an endless treadmill that just keeps getting faster and faster.

           The Courage to Step Off The Treadmill

We all get stuck on the treadmill now and again. It’s an inevitable part of living in a fast paced, winner takes all, nice guys finish last, type of world.

In order to break this cycle, each and every one of us needs to take Lolly Daskal’s advice on Leading From Within:

People Who Lead From Within are leaders who want nothing more than to live their lives according to their own truths and on their own terms – Lolly Daskal

By understanding yourself and what you want out of life, you can break free and focus on what truly and uniquely makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.

To start on this new path, consider some of the essential traits of those who lead from within (adopted from Lolly’s list above):

  • Acknowledge the truth and admit when they are wrong
  • Ask relevant questions and give considerate answers
  • Listen before talking and are not afraid of the words “I don’t know”
  • Constantly learning from success and failure
  • Seeks out wisdom and knowledge to make better decisions
  • Are true to their inner self, follow their passions and strive to live a purposeful life

Over time, the application of these behaviors and attitudes will make your life and leadership more rewarding and promote a sense of wellbeing. This wellbeing is achieved in four ways.

                  Way #1: Eliminates Guilt

Hard charging leaders can be riddled with guilt if we don’t achieve or perform like their organizations expects. By redirecting your motivation from the extrinsic to the intrinsic, this guilt slowly fades and you can actually do a better job and achieve what your organization wants.

                  Way #2: Allows the Broader Picture to Develop

Most of us are focused on what others think. We stress about how we might look to others if a certain result is not obtained. This makes our focus narrow.

When a leader is motivated from within, then the shackles of perception are removed and they can focus on seeing what is developing instead of reacting to every little thing.

                  Way #3: Creates Better Plans and Decisions

Most of leadership is planning and making decisions. When you feel that your motives are true and consistent with your values, how you plan and make decisions drastically improves. You become one with the team or organization you are leading.

                  Way #4: Puts Things In Perspective

With inner strength and confidence comes grace and poise. This makes it easier to see things for what they are and not overreact.

By slowing down and putting events into perspective, you will make better decisions. With better decisions comes more confidence, a better organization and improved wellbeing.

           Go Ahead, Lead From Within

Finding that inner wellbeing takes dedication. It’s not easy to lead from within because the demands of work and life get in the way, you get distracted on task after task, you fear losing your job and most of all, you fear that you might make the wrong decision.

Don’t worry – All that’s ok.

Starting today, you need to get off the treadmill, dig deep within yourself and start leading the life you want – not the one that might pay the most, give you the most prestige or what society thinks you should do.

There is no better way to start on the path to leadership wellbeing then to learn to lead your most important supporter – you.


Jarie Bolander is an engineer by training, entrepreneur by nature, and leader by endurance. His site, combines two of this passions – leadership and endurance athletics. He offers a free e-course on Leading from Within which shows you how to leader your most important supporter – you. Feel free to follow him on Twitter via @EnduranceLeader


  1. gmarcus2 says


    Thanks for a great post! You set the bar high for future guest bloggers on The Idolbuster. (For that matter, you set a high bar for the host blogger).

    As someone who was once on the endless treadmill of chronic overwork, I know how hard it is to change. For someone who reads this and wants to begin to support themselves better, where should they begin?

    • Greg-

      Thanks for the opportunity.

      The first thing someone on the chronic overwork treadmill should do is spend 10 minutes a day reflecting on what it’s really giving them.

      Just 10 minutes a day is all it takes to realize that the return on all that time investment is really kinda low.

      Once you realize that, then you need to expand this “me” time to take on things that give you true joy and value. Like read a book or draw or workout or ???

      As you said in one of your posts, you have to break the habit cycle and that starts with changing your behavior.

      Keep up the great content. What you are doing is truly needed and appreciated.

  2. Wow, thanks! I’d commented something to Greg already… about how difficult it is when you’re putting together a start-up. Still, not giving up! Rather, sharing it with my team. Great write. Congrats!

    • Miguel-

      Glad you liked the post.

      Start-ups can be a thrill but the burnout factor is extremely high if you are not in it for the right reasons.

      Keep at it. By enduring, you can conquer anything!