Nourishing Ourselves as Leaders
What does it mean to be a leader? Is an inquiry I have grappled with for myself and with our clients for a decade. In looking at the research and in our own work environments we all see that many of our colleagues and family members are over stressed and over tired and can’t seem to ever feel renewed. What does it mean to be renewed? Richard Boyatzis co-author of among other things Resonant Leadership says that rest is not renewal. Rest is well just rest. So when we sleep and relax on the weekends, we are not renewing ourselves. We are not nourishing our brains to return to work on Monday for us to be at our highest and most useful self.
That begs for the obvious question how do we renew? It is simple and yet specific. Here are the things known to foster renewal.
- Meditation –any type is fine, Theravada, metta, transcendental it is all good
- Yoga – any yoga that is restorative and moderate
- Tai Chi
- Prayer – however, studies show that prayer to a loving God fosters renewal
- Exercise at a moderate pace fosters renewal
- Volunteering– if you are not already in a helping profession
- Pets – to be specific, a pet that you can pet i.e. horses, cats, dogs
- Being hopeful about the future
- Laughter, play and joyfulness
All of this will help us invoke the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of our brain that needs stimulation in order for us to experience renewal.
We need 3-5 renewal moments for every stress moment we experience to experience balance. In other words, it is key for a daily experience of some of these renewal practices. In addition we need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
We don’t set out to be ineffective leaders and yet studies show that 70-80% of us are ineffective in our current roles. Let us all take the time and assess our effectiveness by looking at our stress/renewal cycle and see where we can nourish ourselves as leaders.
**Author Note: This week I am a participant in Richard Boyatzis Resonant Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Inspiring Development in Others at the Cape Cod Institute. All statistics come from course lecture.