It was 11:00 a.m., on a Tuesday. I jumped on a video call with a client to work on his strategy for taking his career to the next level. He was well qualified for a promotion and very hungry to make it happen.
I was ready to roll. He was... exhausted.
At 11:00. On a Tuesday morning.
As we faced each other on pixels I noticed his energy was low, his face "muted", his voice quieter than usual. His presence communicated drudgery and fatigue. Not only could I see it, I could feel it.
I asked how he was doing...
"Exhausted. I don't know how I'm going to make it through today -- I'm back-to-back in meetings, and all of them are important."
"Hmmm... It's only Tuesday, at 11:00 a.m. What's up?" I asked.
"I had a big weekend; we BBQ'd, lots of hot dogs, chips, and beers... I guess I'm still recovering."
"Was it worth it?"
"Ya, it was great. I'll recover. What are we working on? Sorry, I didn't have time to prepare."
Yummy. Low hanging fruit for optimizing leadership presence. I stayed with it.
"How do you think your weekend and your food is impacting your leadership presence?"
He wasn't sure.
Not being aware that food or environment, or a lot of other things related to self-care, have an impact on one's leadership presence is fairly common. In fact, it's one of the biggest (and most quickly remediable) blind spots I see with people who are stuck or who are trying to up-level their game. They don't realize how significantly a lack of self-care may be hindering their progress.
Fortunately, the first step in any of this is awareness, so when these moments happen, they're gold; once you have the awareness, you're totally at choice and in control to shift it -- if you decide to.
"So... Let's talk about what you're trying to do in your career right now, the people you're responsible for leading and having a positive impact on, and all you're looking to do. How important is all of this to you? How badly do you want it?"
"Why do you want it?"
The WHY is fuel, as well as an anchor, that can ground you in doing the work required to hit that goal. AND when that hot dog, beer, or whatever your kryptonite is, is luring you in, your WHY can remind you to stay clear.
He had his why. It was solid. He'd just been missing some key awareness. Not only was his current scenario not sustainable, it wasn't going to help him have the kind of presence he needed in order to have the influence he wanted, in order to create the impact he desired, in order to ultimately get that promotion and do the work he wants to do.
Yes, a hot dog can do that. What's your "hot dog"?
You can't lead from exhaustion, burnout, and brain fog... And no one is inspired by tired.
That is all. We must set ourselves up to thrive.
Building a thriving and intentional energetic presence.
When I talk about building a strong "energetic field" and more powerful "energetic presence", I'm talking about being conscious and deliberate in how you set yourself up for success to be your best. We have a lot of control in strengthening our field; the way we fuel and hydrate ourselves; the choices we make in self-care and behaviors; the people we surround ourselves with; how we design our environment to nourish us; the thoughts we think; our regard for others, and so much more. We are always choosing (if even unconsciously).
The question is what are you choosing?
I've had clients do 30 and 60 day "adventures" of clean eating and sleep and training (or whatever they personally needed) to help them clear and strengthen their energetic fields. (I do this for myself frequently as well.) I call these adventures #ProjectImpeccable" - the idea being that you look at where you're NOT being impeccable with YOU in setting yourself up to be the best leader and instrument of change possible. This might be with food, habits, self-care, honesty, friendships, mindset, accountability, etc. #ProjectImpeccable can apply to anything you want to optimize. The key to this exercise is awareness, curiosity, and self-kindness as you become more and more aware of what's up.
And it works wonders. The outcome, when taken to heart, is more awareness (especially as to WHY one might "hide out" with those habits or behaviors), a cleaner relationship with themselves, more self-trust and self-efficacy, and clarity. And bonus: all of these outcomes are essential qualities in effective present leadership.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a great hotdog and a cocktail! The invitation is to be aware of what you've got going on; how it's going to impact your energy, presence, and brain power; how it might impact others in their experience of you, and what's at stake when you're not at your best... And then decide.
Here's to Showing Up. Have a great week! AXC
This article first appeared on Inc.com on July 5, 2016.
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