Sometimes leaders get empty. Sometimes leaders break down. Sometimes leaders lose their way. And often, it’s because they made one critical mistake: They tried to manage other people before they managed themselves.

The temptation is to think that being a “servant leader” means constantly putting the needs of others ahead of your own . The idea is that to really give as a leader, to be available and accessible at all times, you have to put your needs at the bottom of the list and work on everyone else’s first.

Servitude is a great thing. Giving is a wonderful thing to do. Honesty and availability can be critical. All of those things can be important, but only if they’re done with moderation.

The truth is that an empty leader has nothing left to give. A leader who has so depleted their energy and their time, will find out they can’t motivate a team on vapors. They can’t drive a project on late night caffeine or a sliver of a personal life. They can’t be a complete leader without having a complete life outside of their assigned tasks.

You’ve got to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fed before you try to feed other people. You have to be speaking and leading from a wellspring of truth before you take on the needs of others, not after. You can’t expect them to be the source of your energy.

It might sound selfish at first, but the reality is that if you take the time to manage yourself first, you’ll have more to give to other people later.

Stay full. Stay engaged. Stay equipped with the heart of a servant. But don’t ever try to manage someone else before you manage yourself.

What are you doing this week… for you? Take time and work on filling your own tank, and you’ll be much more prepared to help fill others’.