Effective leadership is rooted in the way we manage our own energy. How inspiring is it to work for someone who is always run down and shooting 5 hour energy drinks while maniacally emailing and barking commands? Not very. We are attracted to leaders who seem to have plenty of time to spare for us, and yet accomplish astounding feats with grace. Like a rock climber, they find just the right foot holds to move past any challenge. What gives? How can some people move mountains while others are complaining about an ant hill?
The secret lies in allowing ourselves to revitalize. Top leaders like Warren Buffett take time to rest: “When forced to choose, I will not trade even a night’s sleep for the chance of extra profits.” Arianna Huffington calls sleep her “keystone” strategy, and Bill Clinton said “every important mistake I’ve made in my life, was because I was too tired.”
Yoga Sutra 1.15 imparts the same message: To live at your highest potential, master surrender…let go of attachments.
Sleep, other than death, seems to be the ultimate letting go. But most of us are too afraid we’ll be missing out, afraid we’ll damage our reputation, as if our value is comprised purely by how many emails we crank out each day. I tried to write this blogpost 3 times, feeling tired and simultaneously agitated. Finally I took my own medicine; I stopped, closed the screen, and did a 15 minute meditation lying in bed. By the time I got up, the blog had re-written itself in my mind.
Our highest, most creative self needs rest and revitalization. Feed your inner executive not by obsession but by letting go. See how much more you can accomplish when you practice self-care: only those who know how to manage themselves are effective in leading others.
How to get started? Try this Martini Pose before your next cocktail hour when you’re exhausted, or tomorrow morning, to avoid stepping right onto the mental treadmill. Find other tools at ExecutiveSutra.com and on our social media.