What does your energy say about you? What kind of energy are bringing into your work environment? Are you connected to your body language? Have you ever heard someone say that when you walk into a room, your energy introduces you before you even speak? Many people grow up hearing that positivity is key. Unfortunately, as we grow up, it can be harder and harder to be positive, especially in these unprecedented times. Life has many snags and issues that we all must learn to deal with. Work can be an especially stressful place, with deadlines and clients and co-workers.
Our energy is VERY POWERFUL and it speaks volumes about who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Another important concept about energy is that the energy we put out in the world is reflected back on to us. This is why it is so important for us to treat others the way we wish to be treated. We often get caught up in our day-to-day workload and forget to treat others with kindness and respect. We must also remember that we deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Have the expectation of receiving this treatment and accept nothing less! Abide by the Golden Rule, and remember to nurture your energy with positivity, compassion, and respect. Our energy speaks of many things including our intention, our mood, and our confidence. Our energy can invite others in or turn them away. How does your energy introduce you to others?
During my career, I found that the best thing you can bring to your team as a leader is your energy. This is true not just for your team, but for your family for your friends…for life. Great leaders seems to have a reservoir of emotional, spiritual and relational energy that’s contagious. Earlier in my career, I struggled with my energy level, but after I mastered a few disciplines, I rarely struggle with my energy level now. So how do you become one of those leaders who has energy on more days than you don’t? I promise you, a few simple disciplines can turn the situation around for you quickly…starting today.
1. GET 7-9 HOURS OF SLEEP A NIGHT
Most of us need far more sleep than we’re getting. You will be tempted to sleep less because you have so much to do. Do the opposite. Get to bed on time, and you will wake up refreshed. Something that would have taken you 3 hours to do in a dazed state might only take you an hour when you’re fully alert. You’ve actually saved time by sleeping more.
2. EXERCISE REGULARLY
I get up early EVERYDAY to workout. Everyday? Yes! Everyday! I work out for about an hour or so in my home gym, then walk for about 45 minutes after my son gets on the bus for school. My goal is to get in at least 20,000 steps per day. It makes me a better thinker, and the ideas I generate in my workouts are often far better than the ideas I generate watching TV. Since a big part of what I now do every day is building my businesses and generating content and thinking, I find exercise directly makes me a better leader. Plus I’m still down 60 pounds from 31 years ago. That alone makes me attack life with more vigor.
3. EAT BETTER
Over the years, I’ve made big changes in my diet. For me and for many others, what I eat has a direct impact on my energy level. I significantly reduce added sugar out of my diet and experienced a direct energy boost. No more sugar crashes. I’ve cut out breads, sodas and candy. On Saturdays, I give myself permission to eat whatever I like, but I know how my body reacts to certain foods, so I eat limit the portion sizes, so I avoid that “yucky” crash feeling.
4. START YOUR DAY WITH GOD
Your first hour or two matters so much. I start and end my day with prayers…and cultivate a closeness with God that is with me throughout the day. When I miss it, I feel it. I realize the night hawks will struggle with this, but to me starting a day with Christ anchors it in Christ. So personally, this is a real help.
5. HAVE SOME FUN
Fun is work for me. It is for many leaders. But you need to pull yourself away from the keyboard or office and enjoy life. Have a picnic. Hang out with great friends. Do something active. Walking in the malls is fun for me, even when I don’t have free money to buy anything. I love to people watch and see the latest fashions to create new ideas. You need to figure out what’s fun for you.
6. DEVELOP A HOBBY
This is a close cousin of fun. Many people who lack energy lack a hobby. You need something to turn your attention away from work so you can go back to work refreshed. I like to make personalized T-shirts, labels for water bottles, and cards on my CRICUT maker machine. There are days where I spend hours making gifts and it makes me feel accomplished in a relaxing way.
7. SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO ENERGIZE YOU
Be honest, some people energize you and some people drain you. The challenge with leadership is that you can end up around a lot of people whose needs leave you drained at the end of the day. It’s a good idea to make even a short list of people who energize you and then make sure you get around them regularly, whether that’s for coffee, breakfast, or even a phone call. Only spending time with people or issues that drain you leaves you feeling drained.
8. SCHEDULE WHITE SPACE
White space is simply space on your calendar with nothing but time to think and work on your profession, not in it. This is so important to talk about because so few leaders set aside time to think. When I started my last job, I quickly learned scheduling appointments backed to back without time to prepare was exhausting. When you have white space, I can run back into the every day of leadership again with renewed energy and passion.
9. DO YOUR MOST IMPORTANT WORK FIRST
One of the reasons you get agitated later in the day is because people knock on your door needing something, and all you can think of is “but I have to get X project done”. Well what if you did X project first thing in the morning? As the saying goes, “Eat the dirty frog first.” What this mean, is work on the harder and laboring tasks first thing. If you get the most important tasks for the day done first, then the interruptions that come later will feel less like burdens and more like opportunities.
10. TAKE A QUICK BREAK
Get up and walk around. Go for a quick ride at lunch. Go for a walk. Grab a coffee. I found that when I have a day of meetings, breaks like this (even if they’re only 90 seconds or 5 minutes) allow me to tackle what’s next with renewed energy. I’m still learning about how to bring my best energy, but I do know this: when these things are present in my life, I bring much better energy to whatever I’m doing.
Here’s a challenge. Why not implement three changes starting today, and see if you notice a change within 48 hours. Maybe it’s just going to bed earlier, or ditching the soft drink, or getting out for a walk or getting up earlier to have some time with God.
But watch what happens to your energy as a result. Go ahead. Pick three and try them out. In the meantime, some of you have ideas too. How about you? What fuels your energy? And remember, your energy is a VERY POWERFUL tool.
Keep on SLAYIN’ until you can’t SLAY no more!