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“Leadership is an active role; ‘lead’ is a verb. But the leader who tries to do it all is headed for burnout, and in a powerful hurry.” ~Bill Owens

Speaking to a real go-getter recently, she told me she only needed a few hours of sleep a night. “I consider it a gift if I get five hours,” she said.

She’s young. She thinks she’s invincible. I understand; I used to think that, too.

So do a lot of people, right before their body says “Stop.”

Experts say we require a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night, and most of us don’t get that. In fact, sleep disorders were declared a public health epidemic in 2016.

New studies on the benefits of sleep—and the effects of lack of it—show that no matter our age, our bodies require a certain amount of sleep to repair itself nightly. Proper sleep reduces stress, improves memory, and lowers blood pressure. (A good book: The Promise of Sleep)

Would you yell at your car if it ran out of gas and left you stranded on the side of the road? You’d probably yell at yourself for forgetting to fill up.

Would you continue to drive your car for weeks after the oil light goes on? No, you’d stop and check the oil level. If you don’t you could crack your engine block.

Trying to do it all, all the time, carries significant costs, maybe not in the short-term, but in the longer term those costs are as unavoidable as failing to fill your gas tank or change your oil.

And don’t tell me you have too much to do, that there’s not enough time to rest. Your engine—your body—doesn’t run efficiently when you’re tired, and is less able to repair itself.

Best case scenario, you run out of gas; worst case, you’ll need a new engine.

It’s selfish and irresponsible not to take care of yourself when others are depending on you to make clear decisions.

You may be young enough to fool yourself into thinking you can sleep later. But your later might come sooner than you think.

Better to take time to sleep. It’s a whole lot cheaper—and healthier—in the long run.

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