It’s one of those things ; Most people know they need to treat themselves well in order to get the best out of themselves, and yet so many brush this off as a secondary consideration, at best.
“What do you mean pay attention to my sleep, watch my eating habits and get some exercise ?
Who has time for all that ?
“I have far more important things on my mind ! I’ve got deadlines, a plane to catch, reports to write, people to please ! ”
And there I sit, watching these time-starved professionals race towards burnout, or else, gently help pick them up on the other side of it.
Why does this scenario keep playing itself out, I wonder, and how can I help my clients grasp the fact that energy management needs a new place on their list of priorities ?
The demands on executives and entrepreneurs to sustain high performance, day in and day out, year in and year out, dwarfs the challenges faced by professional athletes. Yet these professionals are pushing their minds and bodies like athletes, and allowing themselves little to no real recovery time.
The crazed fast pace is never sustainable and sadly, it often takes a case of burnout, illness, losing one’s job, business, marriage or relationship for people to wake up.
How about breaking that cycle of treating yourself like a rented mule and only changing your habits as a result of pain ? How about getting the most out of your days and life right now ?
Knowing full well that time and pressure are the culprits to keeping you running the treadmill, here are three suggestions to start managing your energy that take no extra time.
One: Ask yourself this question : What is driving you ?
Are you motivated by external factors ? ie: other people’s demands on you, unrealistic expectations of you, or are you playing out old childhood tapes ?
Is your motivation internal and grounded in your own values and desires for your life ?
Chances are if your drivers are external, you’re pushing yourself too hard.
Two: Watch for red flags ; you know the ones, those mental, physical and situational signals that tell you something is either wrong, or about to go wrong. They are constantly present, telling you something and pointing it out. Listen for them and act on them in the moment. There’s always a price to pay for not listening to those obvious cues. The more you listen, the easier it gets and the more energy you’ll have.
Three : Watch your addiction to adrenaline. When there’s a constant push without recovery, we’re relying on adrenaline to fuel us, and it becomes addictive. We are essentially adrenaline junkies.
What are your adrenaline triggers ? Some popular examples : caffeine, not enough sleep, saying yes to everything, office drama, being late, worrying about things you don’t control.
Find out what triggers your adrenaline and kick the habit. Replace the triggers with productive activities or habits that you enjoy. You’ll feel so much better.
And remember; our time here is temporary, none of us knows when the curtains will close. Isn’t it worth it to live well and enjoy the ride ?
Andrea Wedell – Leader and Creativity Coach