Being a successful leader can be exhausting. It’s a role that often requires working around the clock, with a never-ending cycle of responsibility and accountability. If you don’t know how to manage your energy it’s easy to become exhausted or burned out.
As a leadership coach, part of my job is helping my clients learn how to rev their engines and lead energetically, even with everything they have going on. Leadership requires a sharp focus and their careful attention, with no room for checking out.
Here are some of the most powerful tricks and tools I share with my clients on keeping their energy level high even through the longest and most difficult days:
Manage stress. Successful leaders have plenty of stress. Left unmanaged, it can create overwhelming feelings of anxiety, worry and tension, all of which take up huge amounts of energy and leave you feeling depleted. Instead of reacting to stress in the moment, look for patterns to find the things that stress you out the most and try out a variety of stress management practices (for example, exercise, meditation or breathing techniques) to discover what works best for you.
Snack smart. When you’re feeling stressed, it’s tempting to grab a high-carb snack or sugary drink to for a quick lift, but the resulting insulin spike can soon leave you feeling sleepy and down. Fuel your body with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein, and drink lots of water to stay hydrated and sharp.
Hang out with positive people. Be aware of how those around you may be influencing you. If you’re constantly feeling down when you hang out with certain people, maybe it’s time to find a more positive, upbeat group to spend time with.
Get moving. If you’re feeling lethargic, get up and move around. Exercise will perk you up immediately and help you increase your focus and attention. Over the long run, it can improve your overall health by lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also boost your mood and help relieve mild depression.
Take a breath. The simple act of taking a breath can shift the energy in the body. In stressful times, take a moment to focus on your breathing by inhaling deeply and slowly through your nose and then out through your mouth. Repeat for one to two minutes. Deep breathing can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate and increase your energy level.
Take a walk. Leave your desk and walk around. Talk to people and make connections, and if time permits get outside for a moment. The simple act of leaving your office and connecting with people and nature will boost your energy and help put things back into focus.
Turn off your screens. As much as technology helps us be more productive, sometimes it can add to stress. Take a tech break by turning off the phone and computer screen so you can regroup and refocus without interruption.
Taka a mini-break. Sometimes you just need to take a break from stress long enough to disrupt the body’s stress response cycle. Take five or 10 minutes to phone a friend or family member, flip through a magazine or even close your eyes, then get back into the action.
Drink plenty of water. Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water. When you don’t drink enough water, dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued and drained. Drinking water throughout the day will help with brain function and keep you feeling more awake and alert.
Take in the sun. Too much time indoors under artificial lights can keep you from functioning at your best. A lack of exposure to sun or natural daylight can have an effect on your mood and energy level. If you repeatedly find yourself feeling down or stressed—especially in the winter—try to get outside and soak up some sunlight. Spending a few minutes in bright, natural light can re-energize you for the rest of the day.
Lead from within: The most successful leaders know to manage their energy to be the most productive and effective.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStock Photos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.