Our last post discussed the energy drain and crisis many of us are experiencing, having survived the pandemic, and living in unstable times. In it, we talk about a few keys to energy, such as:
- How social connection is fundamental to our well-being
- The importance of tracking and noticing your energy
- The idea that leaders have a responsibility to be in good condition to lead, which includes ensuring we have good levels of energy and resilience
In this post, we share tips for refilling your tank so you can have the energy to lead your team and organization into the future. Taking care of yourself will help you be more caring towards others in your life, both at work and at home. In today’s dynamic and ambiguous environment, it is critical that leaders must have compassion!
Take a deep breath and pause… recognize that we have been in crisis, and it is time to reclaim our life. Living a full life is essential to our well-being and ability to lead well. This is especially true for leaders—the leader’s well-being will be felt throughout the team.
Reflect… what was in your life before Covid that filled you and re-sourced you? Where are those things and people now? How do you put these back in place in some form that works for you today? How can you structure this? Some examples from leaders I work with include adding back a routine for either meditating, exercising, hikes with family to a favorite spot, or enjoying time with friends socially.
If you feel an energy drain…. Discern what is draining your energy. What can you shift (stop, reframe, etc.) to mitigate, reduce, or remove this drain? Some leaders find they are ruminating on things they can’t control…. what would be a better way to direct your mind?
What new sources of energy are calling you? How can you add these in or dedicate more time here? Being present with those we love is an easy starting point.
If you are unsure exactly what you need, read our first blog, and start by noticing your energy level each day or at certain points throughout the day (i.e., morning, lunch, after work, and before bed). Ask yourself the questions above to discern what actions would shift your energy.
Working with an executive leader, she found she was depleted, and through some work, she discovered new ways to rekindle her energy. I share this as a way to help you envision your own conversation about energy.
Like all of us, this leader and her team were fairly isolated during Covid and worked extremely long hours. And like many leaders, she spent a lot of her time and energy focused on others and their well-being, delivering results, and caring for family – almost to her own neglect. As we walked through the questions above, she identified the following insights:
- It was a relief to realize that some of the “blah” she felt was not related to the job as much as it was to how she lived and worked.
- She recognized that the regular interactions with extended family that were a cornerstone of her life before 2020 had not resumed, nor had her participation in several organizations where she happily donated her time. These were a source of fulfillment.
- Back-to-back meetings and “crises” dominated her days and drained her energy. While the work was good for the most part, she was exhausted by the constant off and on-boarding of team members and felt like the team was not yet coming together. Creating blocks of time during the week was a remedy.
- Through our discussion, she determined that building a team is a source of joy for her, yet she had not been able to feel that. Reframing the work of hiring new people in a way that was all about building a great team instead of thinking of it as people on and off boarding allowed her to tap her strengths and gain energy. The second step was to carve out time to build a sense of team. This simple act immediately felt like a burst of energy to her, and she no longer saw it as a struggle to be resourced.
- We then turned to finding new sources of energy. After two and half years of fighting through Covid, she realized that the work ahead was more about having an impact on the future, which excited her.
- It was a time to move from surviving to thriving. By actively reshaping how she spends time on those areas of impact, it would automatically reshape her energy levels. Another source of energy for her was spending more time outside in places other than her neighborhood which had been her confine for the last two years. Re-establishing opportunities for being in “new” places is an energy source she will focus on cultivating over the next few months.