You’re thrilled with the leadership promotion and more stressed than ever! Why?
Your days begin earlier and end later. You’re pulled from your management training class (or didn’t even get to start it) and wish you were better prepared. Always a self-starter who loves a challenge, a high achiever, the opportunity to make big things happen is motivating… and stressful.
You’re committed to give your best and determined to lead by example (share the work culture, roll up your sleeves and get dirty, take blame and share credit, trust first to be trusted).
The stress? It’s going to hang around for awhile. Keeping your energy strong is a priority for stress management. Self-care is a must.
Here are 5 ways to keep your energy strong so you can jump in every day fresh and be ready to lead and inspire with plenty of good vibes.
Let’s do it…
1— Regularly schedule self-care activities to maintain good, strong energy.
Are you doing any of these activities (or others not on this list) regularly?
INTELLECTUAL– Crossword puzzles, Reading biographies, history, TED talks, Visualize/write what you want to create, Lectures, Charlie Rose/Tavis Smiley Interviews, NY Times/Wall Street Journal, Symphonies/Plays/Ballet, Coaching, Therapy, Learning another language; PHYSICAL– Sleep, Exercise, Walking, Hiking, Biking, Massage, Movement (dancing, Zumba), Eating nutritious, beautiful organic food, Water with lemon/lime, Hair-cut, Nail-care, Sex; EMOTIONAL– Read emails/cards/letters from others, Send cards, emails, write letters to others, Spend loving time with pets, Cooking, Hugging—more hugging, Coffee alone, Getting out in nature, Coffee served by your lover, Coffee served by anyone, Gardening, Therapy, Coaching, Sex; SPIRITUAL– Time off from phone, computer, handset, Fun with friends, Prayer, Music, Church services, Community Organizing, Volunteering, Nature walks, Meditation, Reading, Camping in the mountains, beach, backyard, Fishing, Road trip, Sex.
Scheduling regular self-care activities is a MUST.
What’s interesting is to notice if you tend to choose activities in only one area—let’s say physical. Have some fun and spread your activities between the four major areas: Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual.
2—Plan your tasks around the ebb and flow of your energy.
Use your self-awareness and plan your energy use. What time of day is your mental energy high or low? Who in your life tends to give you energy or takes energy away? Schedule yourself accordingly with breaks. Consider eliminating energy drains.
For example, I have a client who presents to investors who can contribute money to the children’s cause she has devoted her life’s work to support. She gets through some of the tough presentations (and her nervousness, an energy drain) by keeping a favorite chocolate bar to enjoy afterwards. Both a motivation and energy replacement strategy!
Another colleague shared she is careful to share her “hesitations” about her business with people she knows are genuinely supportive of her business efforts rather than those who have been marginally supportive and heavy with skepticism. She’s looking out for herself. Nice.
Notice the ebb and flow of your energy and deliberately choose to replenish, expand and conserve as needed.
3—Review your assumptions about yourself and boost your energy flow when needed.
You have gathered considerable feedback from others including assessments describing your communication preferences, conflict styles, leadership strengths, introvert/extrovert orientation etc.
Recently one of my clients who was chosen for a team position declared, I just won’t be able to stand this… I’m an introvert, new to the team and I just can’t stand those “let’s get excited about the new project” retreats. It’s next week and I’m dreading it.
After laughing (I get it and her humor is dry) the challenge was obvious. She was speaking in absolutes (I won’t, I can’t) and frankly, was overlooking her popularity. (I’ve known her over the years of her career, when she was single and dating and now married for five years.)
We brainstormed some ideas (some of them outrageous) and broke the “rah rah” day down, complete with hours/minutes needed for meeting people, ways to connect with others before the day and if needed, an “emergency” restroom disruption if the overwhelm is too much. (I personally think wearing sunglasses into the group and pretending she was someone else was stellar!)
Seriously, watch out for those assumptions and “labels” any assessment has given you or that you’ve heard over time and repeat to yourself out of habit. Remember, you’re in charge and always have choices to exercise which will keep your energy muscles strong.
4—Smooth over the stuff that “hooks” you and drains your energy.
Have you ever felt “triggered” during an interaction with someone? By “triggered” I mean that all of a sudden your energy drops.
The idea is that for most of us there is an area you are particularly sensitive around. It can come up suddenly like a hook on a barbed wire fence which snags your favorite sweater as you are interacting with others. You can feel instant anger, defeat, hurt and/or shame. It’s powerful and unsettling.
I’m a big fan of Tammy Lenski’s discussion of six conflict hooks in her book, The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict Into Peace of Mind. They are helpful because they provide a structure for understanding complex emotional reactions by understanding six fundamental human needs.
Here are those six core areas of human need which can become sources of inner conflict. Which one hooks you? I know mine. It starts with “C.”
- Competence: Our need to be recognized as capable, intelligent, skilled, or having expertise.
- Autonomy: Our need to be acknowledged as independent, self–reliant, and having our boundaries respected.
- Fellowship: Our need to be included and to be viewed as likable, cooperative and worthy.
- Status: Our need to be admired for tangible and intangible assets such as attractiveness, reputation, power and material worth.
- Reliability: Our need to be seen as trustworthy, dependable and loyal.
- Integrity: Our need for others to respect our dignity, honor, and good character.
We all have a history we bring to work relationships which is dynamic. Being self-aware means recognizing when you’re “hooked” or “triggered” by someone’s action or something said.
Experiencing a “hook” or “trigger” can quickly drain your energy.
The ultimate responsibility for making you feel safe and worthwhile falls on you.
What can you do to keep your energy strong? Sometimes you just need a moment to breathe and find your soothing calm. Get up and walk around… even if you’re in a meeting… take a 10 minute break. Meditate. Journal. Find perspective.
Reach out to a therapist and/or coach for digging down deeper, and stop the energy drain. Paradoxically, by acknowledging emotional pain/conflict you get stronger. Remember, it takes energy to keep it under wraps.
5— Surround yourself with at least one person who thinks you can do more than you think you can and tap into some new, exciting energy.
How sweet is this? Even high-achievers need an extra push at times to go for the prize.
By allowing a trusted someone (partner, friend, coach, mentor) to take risks and challenge your status quo and routinely see beyond your view is a source of strength some are fortunate to experience.
For some of us, it’s a matter of choosing to stay open especially when it seems impossible.
Try this right now…
Raise your right arm over your head. Now reach higher.
That’s right. You CAN reach higher than your first effort.
How energizing is that?
I hope some of your energy is or will be coming because you listened to people who challenged you to take extra steps beyond your reach.
Pick up some good vibrations by using these five ways to keep your energy strong.You’ll be leading by example and sharing good vibes.
I would love to know… What’s your formula for keeping the energy strong and the vibes good?