A brief pause to consider our energies

We are enjoying a brief pause here in Singapore as we come down from the whirlwind pace of delivering a critical project for a client and before we set off on our next exciting undertaking. We've timed the pause well - it’s sunny, warm, not too hot and the afternoon rain is a joy - especially to a newbie here like myself!

Over the past few weeks all of us in the team here have been operating at an extraordinary pace, and its caused me to reflect on one of the discussions we have as part of the International Marketing Leaders Programme.

The topic is energy and one of our speakers often remarks that the most important job of a leader is to manage the energy of ourselves and of those around us. The model we use on the programme is of 4 energies – Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual:

  • Having good physical energy is simply about our ability to physically be in shape to get the job done. Are we getting enough sleep, the right sort of exercise, eating the right sort of food etc.
  • Intellectual energy comes from getting our brains to work, and how we stimulate them to work in new, interesting ways. We can charge this type of energy up in many ways, but in my experience, ploughing through 127 emails at 10pm rarely does it! I have realised that for me, although the temptation is easily there to have a large steak and an even larger glass of red wine, solitary exercise is how I best top up both my intellectual and physical energy. Swimming gives me the silence I need to simply pause, reflect and  let thoughts and connections bubble up. Over the past few weeks, getting in the pool was always the most effective way for me to re-energise.
  • Emotional energy is driven by our connections with friends, family, colleagues – the relationships we have with people around us. I’ve come to realise that as a leader, when I am under pressure, I can take my eye off the ball here. Getting too task focused drains other people’s emotional energy as well as my own, and leaves us all getting the job done but not necessarily in the best possible way.
  • Spiritual energy for some people is about faith and religion but for all of us it is about a sense of purpose in life. At work, understanding why we need to do things, what the meaning is in them, and finding a personal purpose in our work  is critical in order to thrive. Simply having a team meeting to celebrate achievement and capture learnings was a real help in rebuilding spiritual and emotional energy for us all as we closed out a busy few weeks.

So if you are able to take some time off this month, and whether that be in the sun, the snow, Surrey or Shanghai, I’d encourage us all to find time and reflect on what gives us energy, and what drains us and how we can stay topped up to lead into 2016.

Originally posted on the Marketing Society blog.

If you would like more information on how to apply to the International Marketing Leaders Programme please click here.

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