Keith Wewe and I are participating in the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute lead by Henry Givray. It’s a six month program with five in-person sessions, and a lot of reading. We’ve had three in-person sessions so far, and I am just starting to notice how much I have absorbed, so expect several posts over the next few months on the lessons I have learned, and how I am applying them to my life today. One of our recent homework assignments was on time v. energy, and included reading the Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal (learn more at The Energy Project). The authors had me at their first principle:

Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.”

I knew this. I intuitively knew this. But intuition is not enough in leadership. I need to consciously apply these principles (along with the others I am learning) in the course of my day. From our SmithBucklin Institute homework we were asked to identify our “sources of energy;” the things that “replenish or invigorate” us. For me they include:

  • My morning prayer and meditation
  • The beach
  • The Sports Dude
  • My Sunday morning book study
  • Joyful meals with friends and family
  • Good friends
  • Yoga
  • Sunday dinner with my kids
  • My train ride to and from work
  • Writing

I’m sure there are more, but these jumped out at me. Now that I have identified my sources of energy, I can make conscious decisions on how to incorporate them. Today. Do I skip lunch and continue working at my desk, which I know will leave me drained by 4:00 pm, or do I go to yoga which will leave me refreshed and energized, more able to focus on the job at hand? When the Sports Dude let me know that we were invited over to his family’s home on Sunday my first instinct was to come up with an excuse to stay home and isolate on my couch. I do have seven episode of TURN I still need to watch. But his cousins live at the beach. The wife is a rabbi and very spiritual, and her husband, the Sport’s Dude’s cousin, was actually one of my doctors and a pretty funny guy. I quickly identified three energy sources I could check off at one time: The beach; the Sports Dude; and a joyful meal with friends and family. I was able to consciously give up eight hours of my weekend knowing that while it might be time lost, it would be energy found. Energy that would reward me throughout the week. I came home Sunday night fully energized physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I was ready to face the challenges of my work week with focused attention and not dread. In the meantime, I’ve imparted this newly found wisdom to a couple friends. It was amazing in a brief 24 hours to see someone go from emotionally, mentally, and spiritually worn down (which takes a toll on you physically), to engaged and recharged. She could only identify two energy sources when I first gave her the assignment, but ran up to me last night at a meeting to let me know that she had identified a third. She was energized. I could see it in her posture, the light in her eyes, the smile on her face. We spent a few moments discussing how to incorporate these newly found energy sources into her daily life, especially at work, where she is being stretched too thin. If her experience is anything like mine, she will find her energy quickly restored and better able to handle the challenges that she is facing. Next up on Leadership’s Lessons? I’m reading Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. Wow. I just identify myself, what I do in stressful conversations, and have already started applying course corrections, and I’m only on page 89.

Recharging my energy on the deck.
Recharging my energy on the deck.