“Your energy is your currency. Spend it well. Invest it wisely.”
Leadership is a tough gig. Benevolent leaders give a lot of themselves and this can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion usually caused by prolonged periods of stress. We all know the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” so how can we ensure that we don’t end up trying to lead on empty?
We can learn from nature. Animals intuitively know how to conserve their energy for when it really matters. Take horses for example…
“Herds of horses live in a state of dynamic stability and set a pace for change that reflects reality. It is against their nature to stand still for long periods of time. Because they are generally in a fluid state of motion, it is easier for them to make rapid adjustments to changes in the environment. Even in extreme circumstances, horses will use a pause of discernment to choose their direction and pace. Herd leaders set a speed that reflects reality; when leaders operate like everything is a wildfire people become numb to a sense of urgency. Horses that waste the herd’s energy by overreacting to changes in the environment lose rank.” June Gunter, Teaching Horse LLC
But how do “find our inner horse” and avoid burnout? Especially when so much is asked of us every single day.
The answer is in self-awareness and a simple personal maintenance plan. There are four sources of energy; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. To be fully engaged we need to restore all four sources of energy.
Your maintenance plan will be uniquely yours, but in general we can restore depleted energy levels quite simply by:
Physical energy – get enough rest and exercise.
Mental energy – allow yourself breaks in the workday.
Emotional energy – reconnect with friends, family and even (arguably most importantly) yourself.
Spiritual energy – reconnecting with what gives you a sense of purpose
None of these things are luxuries. They are necessities to maintain a healthy energy balance for personal and professional happiness.
Personally, I enjoy long walks with my dog, an afternoon nap when I can, learning new things (I love reading) and spending time with friends and family (including my fur-babies).
Remember, “trust the vibes, energy doesn’t lie”. What do you do to restore your energy levels?