Remember when a simple jolt of caffeine or a little cocoa du jour were enough to snap you back to life? Combos of the two were delightfully invigorating.
What do you do, though, when your chocolate binge or triple espresso or monstrously bullish beverage are falling far short of five hours of energy? Start an I.V.? Yes, I mean, yikes! You’re probably under enough stress already; the aforementioned “medication” may just lead from metaphor to cardiac floor…in your local hospital. Since that scenario won’t serve you well as a leader, stop, take a breath, and give a little thought to what’s actually going on in you.
Stress, if it doesn’t kill you, leads to burnout. How do you know if you’re there? When those familiar feelings of post-lunch lethargy are no longer preceded by lunch or simply saying the phrase, “Leadership Challenges,” evokes a sigh, you’re probably there. Have you ever noticed when you have endless high-energy and excitement you are more alert, focused, positive and productive? Energy is what makes time more valuable. Energy makes time fly!
What’s eating your energy and what refuels it? Consider this: every thought, feeling and action expends or restores energy.
Beyond all the affirmation exercises, choose thoughts that are factually true and focus on reasonably possible, positive outcomes. For example: instead of, “We’ve cut everything we can, barely managed to survive the economic down-turn and now we’re not sure what to do next; think, “We’ve discovered and eliminated hidden waste, simplified our financial picture, maximized our efficiency and created a “lean, mean fighting machine.” The feeling that follows can’t help being more positive!
Feelings are influenced greatly by where, how and with whom you invest your time, so be keenly mindful of each. Find or create a place where you can simply “be.” One where you can go, virtually or actually, to release and re-set. Exercise – there’s a reason why this is always mentioned – your life, or at least quality of life, depends on it. Like it or not, there are people that are emotionally exhausting and those that are a font of positivity. Limit your time with the former…and be mindful of which one you are.
High performing leaders are fully engaged: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This doesn’t happen by accident. To a large degree, it happens through action and alignment. When you can align what you choose to do with how you want to feel and what you choose to think with your essential beliefs, you begin introduce alignment. When you create an environment that enables the people you lead to do the same, you ignite brilliance.
Leadership happens one conversation at a time. Devote at least five minutes of pre-meeting prep to think of 3 to 5 thought-provoking questions that will lead to a more productive meeting. Create internal alignment. Step back and ask yourself: What am I resisting? What am I judging? What am I attached to? You’ll gain clarity, insight and a foundation for momentum. Get more sleep, take a hike, improve one diet choice or simply change environments.
It’s all about integrating the concept of energy management with your everyday, “twenty things on your top-ten must do list” life.
So…where do you start?