Managing your energy, not your time, is the key to high performance.
So take a moment to consider: when are you at your best? What would be possible if you were more commonly at your best? How would your life be different?
If you really consider this, the mind boggles – wouldn’t it be great to be on top of your game, even surrounded by chaos, stress, and uncertainty?
This is really at the core of my coaching. What is getting in the way of your true potential? At any time, the following equation stands, and will fluctuate over the course of a day, or an hour, or even a minute:
Performance = Potential – Interference
It’s always fun and kinda inspiring to consider your true potential. Who do you want to become? And most importantly, what is getting in the way of this desire? What is the interference? What are the energy thieves in your life negatively influencing your ability to hit your true potential? What are your personal energy influencers?
I’ll give you a hint – there are six of them! (I go into this a little more in an earlier Blog right here). But for today, let’s just focus on one of my favourites: the Mental Influencer.
I know a lot of you reading this are in a stressful corporate job, like law or finance (I know, I was there 17 years!) so your brain is one of your biggest assets! Let’s see how we can optimise it today for you.
Your brain operates like a computer – the physical brain is the hardware, and your mind is the software. But you are also the coder, who upgrades the software to transform the data (your thoughts), and the computer engineer fine tuning the hardware itself, and you also control the energy supply that powers the computer.
So there is a lot that goes into your Mental Influencers! But the good news is, you have control. What you feed your brain – thoughts, as well as nutrition and physical action like exercise and meditation – will all impact on your alertness, concentration and focus, creativity, clarity, memory, and a host of other executive functions absolutely critical to your success, in leadership and in life.
It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty, as everyone has different mental influencers that will impact their mental performance and agility at any one time. It’s your job to become hyper aware of these, and start to make small adjustments to your day so that you can come closer and closer to your goals. What is it that you can do right now to kick your brain up a notch, and get back to running the world?
Your Alertness: Time of day, stress, food, caffeine intake, sleep, engagement in the task at hand – what is it specifically that’s working against you right now? And how can you take immediate action to address this? For this moment, and for the future. Is it leaving your immediate task until the afternoon? Or perhaps grabbing a glass of water or a minty green tea? Is it taking a cat nap at lunchtime?
Your Focus: What do you need to do or think (or stop thinking!) in order to gain focus and concentration? What gets you successfully into a narrow focus for a specific task, such as writing your report without distraction, and what allows you to broaden your focus, taking in all that’s necessary in a long Board meeting? How do you best switch your focus from internal (thoughts, emotions, physical pain) to external when required? Examples might be focused working at a particular time of day, or with headphones to drown out distractions, or scheduling your email review and responses, or practising active listening, or planning ahead and resisting multi-tasking.
Your Creativity: What allows you to think outside the box? Who inspires this in you? Are you most effective after a good night’s sleep and rumination on the issue at hand? Does a quick walk in nature set your pre-frontal cortex firing? Do you listen to your logic as well as giving air-time to your feelings and gut instinct?
Your Clarity & Decision Making: How do you best reduce anxiety and increase confidence when you make decisions? Do you need a detailed plan or structure? Again, are you listening to your logic as well as emotions and instinct? Do you need to bounce ideas around with someone, or a devil’s advocate?
In essence, the key to managing these influencers was really summed up by our man Socrates when he said: Know Thyself!
Become aware of what it is affecting you, right now, and how you perform at your best, and take action in order to become closer to your goals and dreams, instead of just wishing.
Self knowledge and awareness are powerful tools, my friend!