In a world that glorifies the go-go-go, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important pieces of leadership: managing your energy. Working overtime, dealing with an overflowing inbox, and working on the to-do list that never ends are touted as badges of honour, but the truth is that it’s difficult to make good decisions – and nearly impossible to lead a team – when you feel depleted. Your team needs a leader who is alert, focused, and present.
So what does it take to make that happen – and to inspire your team to do the same?
Take care of yourself – physically and mentally.
That means eating well, moving your body, getting enough sleep, and having down time. It seems pretty obvious, but in a world of “I don’t have time,” most people don’t prioritize these crucial things. It’s too easy to down processed food, stay up late answering email, binge-watch some Netflix…sound familiar?
Here’s the thing – a “yes” to one of these activities is also a “no” to something else. One of the best (and often overlooked) self-care tools is exercising your right to say “no,” to create the time for better choices.
I’m not here to wag a finger in your face and shame you into change – I want to share some of my favourite ways to make energy management a natural part of your routine. Because the easier it is to do, the more likely you to do it.
You don’t have to commit to something huge (and possibly unsustainable) from the get-go. Remember – something is better than nothing. To get your butt in gear, here are some accessible and convenient options to make movement part of your busy day:
+ MOVR – an adaptive movement app that asks you to move as you are. Custom workouts tailored to your goals? Yes please.
+ Strava – the social network for athletes. Community inspires, and tracking helps you find momentum. There is nothing more motivating than seeing how far you’ve come.
+ Yoga retreat – sometimes you feel so overwhelmed, that you (really) need to take a break. Travel, have some fun, and feel good doing it. If that’s what you’re looking for, you can join my bro Matt on a retreat in Nicaragua in March 2017.
Some of the top CEOs swear by meditation as a major key to their success. It helps you to focus, stay present, decrease stress, and even improve your memory. Check out:
+ headspace – is a personal trainer for your mind. With meditations to download on the go, you can find calm and clarity in just ten minutes per day. Everyone can find ten minutes.
+ MOMENT– if you’re local to Vancouver, be sure to check out Moment, a studio that holds classes for meditation and mindfulness. When you can’t unplug at home, you can come here to make it happen.
What you put into your body matters. Full stop. When you fill up on garbage, you feel like garbage. So choose the good stuff – less alcohol and more water; less fast food and more leafy green vegetables; less processed foods/sugars, and more real foods. Make it easy:
+ meal delivery services – I’ve linked to some examples in Vancouver, but ask around or do a google search for your city and see what you come up with. The options vary from delivery of ingredients that you cook, to full meals ready for consuming. Save time and feel better…win win!
+ Pinterest – spend some time creating a board with some easy, healthy, go-to recipes. There are tons of meals that can be made ahead of time, and tossed in a crockpot or dutch oven when you get home from work. Batch cook to save time and money!
This might be one of the most elusive pieces of the puzzle…sleep. Getting to bed at a decent hour is only half the battle…falling asleep (or staying asleep) is the other half. When you’re stressed out and you need sleep the most, it seems to be the hardest to get. This might help:
+ get educated – Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, has made it her mission to start what she calls a sleep revolution – and she wrote a book to help make that happen. Understanding how sleep deprivation compromises your life may be the kick-start you need to get more shut eye.
+ wind down before bed – there are countless ways to do this. from taking a bath, to drinking tea, to cozying up with a book…but when you don’t do also matters. From quitting the caffeine six hours before bed to turning off electronics by the last hour, you need to give your brain a chance to wind down.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
The hardest part is getting started. When you get going, you will feel so much better that sticking to better habits feels easy…and it inspires others to get on board. Remember, it’s not about feeling deprived and cutting things out – it’s about adding in more good things until there isn’t room left for the garbage.
When you take care of yourself, you’re able to fully show up in your work and life. And when you can maintain your energy throughout the day, your stress levels drop and you’re able to be more present and more productive.
And guess what – your team members and staff will notice, because the example you have become is both inspirational and aspirational. Imagine if, by your example, you led a team that was healthy, thriving, and able to drive results with ease.
It all starts with you.
Meet Steph. She is a force. She is a firecracker. She is a lover of love.