Where do you get your energy?
If you are a character-based leader you will strive to be the best you can be. You will be leading with integrity, and courage and regard to others. You will be after a noble cause or at the very least a noble way to reach your objectives. You will feel committed and responsible for the outcomes. All this is fine, but how is your energy lately?
To me, it's a great indicator that I am on the right track when I get physically tired but never bored or burnt out. Many people find that working in line with their life mission, or feeling a higher calling will change the way their energy works. You can go on much longer, work harder, feel energized rather than depleted most of the time. And so will the people you are working with when they are following your lead.
So take a deep breath and notice what your energy levels can tell you about the leadership path you are on. Make it a meditation about energy and alignment to purpose. Might there be ways in which you have strayed from your path? Are you able to correct course? Make a few minor changes and repeat from step one. Your energy levels are a great indicator that sometimes will go ignored if you are more focused on the outside than the inside.
Does your energy dwindle during the day? Check out what you were working on and how. Were others collaborating or standing by? Did the work entice others to help out? Keeping an energy diary for a few days and assessing yourself at regular intervals will give you an idea of what's going on. The idea is simple: you set an alarm for every couple of hours and when it goes off, you write a number in your diary (0 is very low energy, 10 is high energy and enthusiasm) and describe what you are doing, how and with whom. You will be amazed what one week of observations will reveal to you!
These two simple techniques or any others you find to become aware of your energy levels can be useful ways to use your own reaction as a tool to stay on track. Your best ideas will energize you. Fulfilling, healthy relationships will give you a boost. Productive conversations will have you totally connected. It's not by chance that those leaders you admire seem to be so cool and poised, so tireless and effective. Their energy is replenished by their work. And yours can be, too!
Of course, you should also notice your habits and how they affect your energy. Eating heavy foods, not having enough exercise or sleep, abusing coffee or sugar will also lower your energy. But usually, not taking care of yourself in these ways is also a sign of not being in synch with what you are doing. Make it a point to take very good care of yourself. Then, notice when you fall short. What is going on?
Remember: it is your birthright and that of all involved to feel energized, satisfied and uplifted by your work. If that is not the case, healthy leadership means making a stop and shifting gears so as to create the possibility for a high-energy workflow. Plus, productivity will naturally soar.