As the year wears on, my clients and colleagues tell me how busy and consumed they are with work. Healthy New Year’s Resolutions were abandoned ages ago, replaced with a pile of work and no end in sight.
Healthy habits, what healthy habits? It’s survival mode. The days are long. Lunch is at the desk or gobbled down during one of the endless meetings. Before they know it, the day is gone.
Here’s a hint: if we don’t make time to take care of ourselves, no one else will. It doesn’t need to take hours, just a few minutes throughout the day. The key is to replenish, refresh, and reinvigorate the body, mind, and spirit to show up as our best selves.
Here are practices to help us stay physically, mentally, and emotionally ready for whatever comes our way.
Stay Active through Exercise and Movement – Long hours of sitting can take its toll on our body. Taking frequent stretch breaks brings the body back into balance and alignment. Use the stairs whenever possible. Find a colleague and take a fifteen-minute walk break at lunchtime to jumpstart the afternoon. Ready for a change? Consider trying yoga or qi gong class.
Get an Early Start to the Day – Spend the first hour of the day on you. Robin Sharma, a personal leadership expert, calls it his 5 A.M. Club. Use the early morning hour for reflection, learning, exercise and planning. Using the beginning of the day on ourselves can prepare us for the events ahead. Can’t find the full hour? Start with fifteen minutes and begin to see a difference.
Eat Healthy Foods – We are what we eat. Skip the temptations of the bagel or danish and opt for a yogurt or piece of fruit. Carry healthy snacks, such as unsalted nuts or an apple to refuel. And, find the time to focus on eating versus multitasking over lunch.
Stay Hydrated –When our body is dehydrated it works less efficiently. Staying hydrated allows the body to flush out toxins. Drinking plenty of water replenishes our body for better movement, and improved thinking.
Get 7-9 Hours of Sleep – The body needs sleep to digest the food and thoughts that we ingest during the day. During times of change, there is a lot on our minds which can inhibit a good night’s sleep. Make a conscious effort to start to wind down an hour before bed and turn off electronic devices. Consider journaling, reading something inspirational, or meditating to prepare for a restful sleep.
Balance Through Breathing – There is much buzz about acting mindfully. It starts with our personal awareness. Noticing how we breathe is a simple place to start. How we breathe is an indicator of our emotions, energy level, and attitude. Under stress, our breathing patterns can become shallow and tight. Slow, deep abdominal breathing can sooth and calm the nervous system. When we lengthen the inhalation and exhalation, we can start to relax and release the tension that builds up under stress. Many find meditation and other mindfulness techniques helpful to stay focused and balanced. Create short breathing breaks throughout the day to stay focused and clear.
Find Happiness and Gratitude – We’re programmed to seek out what’s wrong and find solutions. Consider focusing on the positives and building onto what’s already working. Instead of gossiping or complaining find a reason to be grateful and let others know what they are doing right.
Collect Your Thoughts – Many US Presidents were prolific writers, capturing their ideas and thoughts in journals. Use a journal to capture ideas, quotes, accomplishments, plans, and dreams. Journals can be a good place to dump worries and develop solutions. Start writing about what’s on your mind and don’t worry if it’s not Pulitzer Prize worthy.
Take an Electronic Break. – Find time to unplug all electronic devices and take a digital detox. Consider unplugging for one day on the weekends.
While these practices are pretty obvious, unless we make a concerted effort to schedule time in our busy day before we know it, we’re tired and out of gas.
Incorporate a few of these practices into your daily routine and start to notice the difference.
What healthy practices help you to be at your best?
We’ve all had those situations that take us out of our comfort zone. Our heart starts to beat a bit faster. Our breathing gets shallow, and we may even begin to sweat.
Those circumstances where deep inside something is telling us to be alert. We sense we aren’t confident.
Gaining confidence is something that can be learned and cultivated. Confidence comes from a feeling of well-being and an acceptance of who we are and in our ability right now. As we continue to develop and grow, it’s natural for our confidence to ebb and flow.
Here are practical ways to build confidence:
See Challenges as Opportunities – It’s normal to be apprehensive in new situations. When the glass seems half full, solutions are limited. Acknowledge the change. Try to reframe the situation as an opportunity to learn and contribute differently.
Create a Sense of Purpose – Identify the reason for taking on the challenge in the first place. Knowing what we want to accomplish and why it’s important can inspire us to move forward.
Gain Knowledge and Understanding – Take an inventory of the facts to gain knowledge of the circumstance. What’s known and what’s unclear? Identify personal strengths and potential areas of vulnerabilities. Knowing our capabilities helps determine the resources and support needed to bring our best.
Plan and Prepare –One of my favorite quotes is “If you fail to plan, you plan for failure.” A plan provides an anchor and blueprint from which to pivot. As new information presents itself, we can make mid-course corrections.
Think and Act Positively – When we question our abilities there is an inclination for negative thoughts. Shifting the internal talk can be hard for many people.
When presented with challenges, a confident leader coaches themselves and provides balanced feedback. From positive thoughts come positive actions. How we breathe and carry ourselves can shift our emotions, our internal talk, and our actions.
Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy has shown posture has a direct correlation with building confidence. Amy’s research suggests assuming a power pose and “faking it until you become it” to get started. Thinking, acting and dressing the part can have a positive effect in building confidence.
Take Action – Often I see people paralyzed, waiting to take big steps when a few smaller steps could lead to more actions. Smaller actions are easy to get started and give an early indication that we are on or off track.
As a child, my mom would say, “if at first, you don’t succeed, try again.” It means shedding the need for perfection and doing something. Expect to make a few mistakes. The actions will provide feedback and insights from which to make an adjustment.
Don’t let the fear of failure paralyze or step in the way. Get prepared to “Fall down seven times, and get up eight.”
Seek input and feedback – Chances are others have tread this path before. Seek insights from others. People will be flattered to be asked. Listen to all the ideas to make an informed decision.
Celebrate Early and Often – Whenever, I suggest people celebrate early successes, I hear all kinds of reasons why to wait. Build confidence by celebrating the small actions along the way. With each success come others. Want to build confidence? Stop waiting for the end result and start celebrating smaller milestones.
The next time you start to doubt your abilities, use these points as a guide to step into the role with confidence.
Are you entering a new role and want to boost your confidence?
Lead the change into a new assignment using tips and tools from The Executive Transition Playbook: Strategies for Starting Strong. Staying Focused, and Succeeding in Your New Leadership Role. Available on Amazon.
As a leadership strategist, I help senior leaders navigate today’s intensively competitive business world with success. Learn more about me at www.hapgrp.com.
The speed of change in this 24/7 society can be overwhelming and confusing. It doesn’t have to be.
I am delighted to share this interview by Jasbindar Singh regarding my new book; The Truth About Change. Jasbindar works with executives to sharpen their “leadership mojo” and helps leaders bring their best.
In her recent blog we talk about:
- Why is organizational change fraught with challenges?
- What is one thing executives forget as they implement change?
- Why do so many leaders shy away from taking accountability to change?
- How do you avoid getting caught in the middle and stay on top of leading change?
Instead of getting caught in the middle of the change, be on top of your next change.
Leadership: The Truth about Change
Jasbindar Singh is a psychologist and blogger who helps her clients step up and out to take their next steps – however big or small! www.jasbindarsingh.com
Too many leaders and companies struggle to execute the very changes that will enhance the business.
Without a doubt, in these dynamic times, leaders need hope — and help. Leaders need a way to close the gap between strategy and results. By engaging people in the right way, people want to be part of the solution versus feeling they have to comply. There is a power of understanding the dynamics of change which opens new doors to engagement. When leaders create the environment where people want to be part of the change everyone benefits.
My new book, The Truth About Change shares practical insights and guides leaders to accelerate successful change initiatives, now and in the future. The book provides ways for leaders to bring their best self to leading change to:
- Organize and energize an organization’s greatest asset — human capital
- Gain agreement and support, and overcome resistance from day one
- Create a culture of engagement, accountability, and productivity
- Unite and inspire others to work and think in the “new way”
Successfully leading change creates healthy businesses and provides the competitive advantage to bringing the best products and services to market. The Truth About Change lays out a path for leaders to navigate the challenges typically associated with new and different solutions. You can find The Truth About Change: A Leader’s Guide to Successfully Executing Change Initiatives on Amazon.com.
[Order The Truth About Change]
Special thanks to all those who have been a part of getting the word out so that leaders across the globe can be more conscious about how they show up to lead change. What leaders do and say matters. How leaders convey messages and how they engage people makes a huge difference to bring positive change.
To leading change with excellence.
In these transformative times, the status quo can be a death sentence to a business. Change is essential for any leader looking to advance and deliver top performance.
I have personally led and experienced both successful and failed initiatives. I have been honored to work with top leaders of global companies and iconic brands, each trying to create a “secret sauce” to bring products and services to market. Through my own experiences and significant strategic engagements, I have learned some consistent truths about change, regardless of the type of company, the industry, or location. I want to share these truths with you.
Truth: Leaders who know how to navigate and lead change have a competitive advantage that enables them to reap the rewards in increased revenue and profits. Unfortunately, most leaders, while constantly initiating change, admit they are not very good at actually leading change.
Truth: If you want a different outcome, you must change what you and your people do. Everyone – from the C-Suite to the person in the field – has a role to play. But often people want the benefits of the change, without being changed. People rarely agree, accept, or adopt a new way merely by being told to “do it.”
Truth: Change requires people who are ready, willing, and able to make the change. If you want the business to achieve its full potential, you need to find ways to engage your people and your organization quickly in working in the new way. You can spend millions on a business solution, but if you can’t get people to use the system or deploy the strategy, you will not achieve the results you want.
Truth: Change initiatives are people intensive, and learning a new set of behaviors takes time. You can accelerate the change with the right reinforcement systems and behavioral engagement plans. Regrettably, too many leaders shy away from the human side of change; they find it easier to focus on the business plan tactics.
Truth: Leaders talk about what others need to do differently, but often don’t realize that change starts with themselves. It’s easy for you to forget you’ve been working on the strategic initiative for weeks and months, familiarizing yourself with the design and business plan. Once the initiative is announced, you expect people to jump into action. Too frequently, the people don’t understand the change or know what they should do. They feel overwhelmed and undersupported; they may do the wrong things, or not act at all.
At a loss of where to start?
Change starts with you. Knowing what needs to be accomplished, why it’s important beyond just the dollars and cents and how you plan to engage the hearts, hands, and heads of your fellow colleagues to want to change versus merely complying with your request.
For more insights about leading change, pick up a copy of my book “The Truth About Change” on Amazon and visit my website at www.HilaryPotts.com.