Personal Energy Management
March 10, 2017
At FPG we are often looked to by our clients to be the positive light in a whirlwind of daily operational activities. It can be a challenge to always be “on stage”, to never have a down day, to remember that no matter what the situation or what we have going on outside of work that when we are on-site, we lead by example in the good times and the challenging times. Over the years I’ve been able to witness our team members tirelessly strengthen our clients’ cultures day in and day out. But where does the energy come from and is it possible to create energy stores we can reach for when we are not “feeling it” on certain days? Fortunately, there are things we can do to keep our energy reserves high.
In the book, “Are You Fully Charged”, author Tom Rath quotes studies showing that there are three key conditions common to days when one has a full charge compared to other days. The great news is that we can build these conditions into our daily lives, enriching us both personally and professionally.
- The first condition is doing work with meaning. In this sense of the word, meaning relates to doing something that benefits another person. Here at FPG our work revolves around the “serving leader” concept but takes it a step further. Have you considered the ripple effect that our work can have for years to come? When we build someone’s self-confidence, set up a work environment where it is safe to try new things, build leadership skills into organizations where people once prided themselves on being a “boss” rather than a leader, we are making real change in the world. My hope is that through our work we spark thoughts of hope and get people to realize that they possess much more potential than the world has convinced them of. This leads to stronger people, organizations, and families. It reminds me of a quote from author Jen Sincero, “When we share what we were brought here to give, we are in alignment with our highest, most powerful selves.” Try this: in your next coaching or goal setting session, ask the GSA to relate how what they do at work holds meaning for their guests. Can they have an impact on the memories that are created around an anniversary, create a serene and peaceful environment for a business person to create out world-class work, or just put a smile on someone’s face who is going through their day rushing from the airport to hotel to meeting?
- The next condition has to do with interactions, specifically striving to create far more positive than negative moments. Because an FPG partnership starts by building the person first, every interaction you have has the potential to positively or negatively affect them. This is just as true in business as in personal life. If you have one of those days where you’re just “not feeling it”, keep two things in mind. First, assume good intent. Even if a negative situation presents itself, by assuming good intent you force yourself to listen and understand. This also keeps you from reliving a bad experience in your mind over and over, multiplying the negative effects of a difficult situation. Also, keep in mind that we tend to create either a cycle of positive or negative results. Starting the positive interaction cycle is incumbent on an effective leader. That means that you have the ability to manage client, team, and personal relationships. It starts by identifying what positives exist or finding common ground in a challenging situation. Said another way, it’s hard to build a cycle of positive results when you start from a negative place.
- The third condition for staying charged is energy. For those of us that travel frequently you know that a challenge we face is not only time management but energy management. From my experience, there are three things that we can do to build our energy reserves. Eat right, sleep right, and exercise. The good news is that eating right takes no more time than eating junk. If you have a hard time with this one, start small. Either take one thing out of your diet or add one thing to your diet (more water!) that can get you back on the positive track. If you find that carving out time in your day for exercise is a challenge, change the time of day. We each have a unique energy cycle with peaks and valleys. Take note of when you have the greatest feelings of strength and make that your gym/ walk/ yoga or concentrated breathing time. Remember, you can work out long or you can work out hard but you can’t do both so don’t confuse the amount of time on the treadmill or in the gym with the effort. I see people in the gym for an hour then spend half the time talking. I’ve seen others in and out in 20 minutes getting great results. Set small realistic goals and above all, aim for constancy in forming the habit. The third element to managing energy is sleep and downtime. If this presents a challenge for you, consider the benefits of rest. This is when your mind and body recharge. If you only charge your phone for a few minutes a day it wouldn’t take long for your phone to stop working. Our minds and bodies are the same so if you are like me and find getting rest time a challenge, focus on the fact that only with proper downtime can we find clarity in our work. Clarity of work leads to a positive cycle of results that will create the ripple effect that brings meaning to our days. Put these together and you will remain fully charged.