Hello SOTGC community,
If you’ve followed my last five blogs, I’ve promised to share a Success List for your career and to expand upon one item every week. Well, this is it – the last item but very important item on the list: your physical energy and health.
- Keep my resume updated.
- Know my strengths.
- Create a career development plan.
- Build a professional career network.
- Manage my physical energy.
I was recently at the Corporate Learning and Talent Development Summit in Amelia Island, Fla. I shared a cab with a woman who was attending the summit, not as a participant, but as a vendor whose team was speaking at this conference. She was from The Energy Project, a company that provides employee engagement solutions for businesses and employees. I wanted to hear more. I was giving up another weekend to work, and even though I was in sunny Florida and have a lot of capacity for getting things done, I was tired. The woman said, “It’s not about figuring out how to create more time or capacity in our busy lives, it’s about taking the time to renew our energy.”
According to the book The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz, the key to sustaining long-term high performance is energy renewal in the form of eating right, taking our breaks, and getting our seven to eight hours of sleep. Think about that; the key to high performance is to remain physically and mentally healthy. So how do we weave renewal into our already crazy-busy lives?
Studies show that if we worked in 90-minute focused spurts and got up, walked around the office, grabbed water at the water cooler, and took a walk around the block, we’d accomplish the work for the day and much more! In many ways I knew this to be true. If I do a work project after 8:00 p.m., it will take me four times longer to complete this work versus waking up in the morning and knocking it out in 40 minutes. My energy is in the morning, not late at night. I know this intuitively – I guess I needed a cab ride and a book to tell me so.
Kevin D. Wilde, a senior executive from General Mills, opened up our summit and said, “To move up at work, you have to show you can do more, do it differently, and manage all the priorities. This is why you see many executives working out in the morning; we need the energy and renewal to do everything that’s on our plates.” That is true. I do see a lot of executives in the gym either before work or on their noon hours. I thought of a CEO I used to work with that ran on his noon hours and invited employees to join him. We often wondered where he found the time to do this, yet he knew the secret to maintaining his physical as well as mental health on the job. He was one of the best CEOs I’ve ever worked with.
So what does this mean for you? If you want that next promotion or project, or just need the energy to stay awake at dinner, the answer is to schedule in time for renewal. If you’ve forgotten what that looks, like I did, here are some small steps to get back on the path of energy:
- Walk 30 minutes a day. Walking keeps every organ in your body working at full capacity. I’ve started to walk before work or during my noon hours. It clears my head, ideas come easily to me because I’m de-stressing, and I have more energy in the afternoons. You can even walk around the office and catch up with your coworkers; go talk to a coworker versus emailing them. The conversation will energize you as well.
- Read. Read on the bus or train as you commute work; plug in an audio book in your car if you drive to work. Even if you only have time to read for 15 minutes, it’s about changing the pace and getting your mind to refocus on something you find relaxing.
- Grab coffee with a friend. Re-energize relationships that are important to you. Break routines of working long stretches that have diminishing returns on your performance and your life.
As the demands of our lives have increased, our energy reserves have unavoidably run down. Over the years, I had become such a workaholic that I wasn’t sure where to start on my own renewal journey, so I started slow with the items listed above. One of my first starts was to watch Gilligan Island reruns, finding something that would get me to slow down and focus differently.
Overall, what I’ve learned is that renewal serves performance! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your renewal stories or to just ask for some additional assistance in finding your renewal. I’m glad to help.
Here’s to your success!
So what do you think? Was this list helpful? If so then please Tweet me and I’d love to hear how your success is going! https://twitter.com/FindYourAim