How to be the best and most real version of yourself as a leader
To grow our confidence, to show up as the best version of ourselves, we actually need to look at this from the perspective of our energy levels, writes Michelle Sales.
How great do you feel after exercise or a really healthy meal? How much more energy do you have after a holiday or time to yourself? What about when you have a day out with your favourite people? How much happier and upbeat (even unbeatable) do you feel overall when you are looking after your wellbeing?
When we feel depleted of energy and when we're not doing the things we love to do outside of work, our confidence and our ability to show up as the best version of ourselves at work starts to deteriorate. We struggle to operate at the level we need to â€“ to strategise and problem-solve â€“ and we lose the ability, desire or need to connect with our team members and peers.
The problem is that most of us are extremely time-poor, working anywhere up to 16 hours a day â€“ can you relate?
So, what gives? Our energy and, eventually, our health and our home life, that's what â€“ the very things we live for!
Most often, we think of this as a time-management problem â€“ that is, we don't have enough of it or we aren't managing it correctly. However, time is a finite resource; we can never get more of it. We will always face an increasing pressure on our performance, so approaching the problem as a time-management issue just makes us feel worse.
To grow our confidence, to show up as the best version of ourselves, we actually need to look at this from the perspective of our energy levels.
Eat from the energy menu
If ever there was a time to manage your energy and wellbeing so that your leadership is sustainable, it is now.
The good news is that your energy can be restored and renewed, and doing so is a much better option to help you meet the challenges of everyday work while allowing you to show up as the best version of yourself.
While you might immediately picture crossed-legged, lotus-positioned figures practising meditation, this is only one strategy that some of us employ (and only one style of meditation). The activities that energise one person may not energise another. So you need to find what works for you.
I've started doing this myself and have found my "energy menu" is most useful if I have a range of activities to draw upon in four key areas:
To help get you thinking on what activities might work for you, here are some of mine from across the four key areas that I book into my diary well in advance:
â€¢ Morning exercise
â€¢ Time at the park with Molly, my gorgeous cavoodle
â€¢ Mindfulness practice (I'm still in the experimental phase with this one)
â€¢ Dinners with friends and family
â€¢ Holidays and long weekends
When something is affecting your self-confidence, you are more equipped to deal with it if you have things to look forward to during the day or, even better, have taken time early each morning to reset and enhance your mindset. Doing so means the day is no longer about what is affecting us and, instead, is reframed to reflect a balance of everything that matters to us and energises us.
Put your mind to it
Be mindful of not only the number of activities in your calendar, but also the type of activities and whether they enhance or deplete your energy and confidence. If certain activities are depleting your energy, could you reshuffle their order, or outsource or automate them â€“ or even balance them out by adding activities that enhance your wellbeing.
While to-do lists may keep growing, your ability to manage these is determined by your commitment to your "to-be" list. So, I invite you all to challenge your jam-packed calendars and find some time for you â€“ even if it's only in the "cracks" of your day.
After all, a great and confident leader is a person who is committed to being the best human they can possibly be.
Michelle Sales is a speaker, trainer, facilitator, coach and author.
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