7 Ways to “Go Green” in Your Leadership
There’s quite a buzz around the topic of “going green” – living in a way that is sustainable and protects the environment. To “go green,” you must adjust your behaviors in order to reduce the amount of pollution and waste that you generate. A first step towards going green is to intentionally conserve energy.
How does “going green” and conserving energy relate to leaders? Without intentional “green” habits, you will find yourself exhausted and unable to focus on your goals. Your motivation dwindles, frustration grows, and you find yourself spinning your wheels in ways that undermine your effectiveness.
As a leader, you face many challenges, especially in the midst of uncertain times. You have goals and deadlines to meet. On a daily basis, you deal with distractions that compete for your time. That’s why you need to develop habits that will keep you energized and operating in a sustainable way.
Ready to “go green”? Here are 7 ways you can do just that:
1. Make Healthy Choices
Being healthy is about more than eating your greens. It’s about making wise food choices and eating regularly – not skipping meals to meet a deadline and then overindulging as a reward.
Getting enough water, rest, and exercise are also play a key role. So does practicing self-care. You might feel like you don’t have time to fit these activities in, but ignoring them will cost you by affecting your health and robbing your energy.
The bonus: healthy habits also reduce stress and help clear your mind – who doesn’t need that?
2. Have Realistic Expectations
By nature, leaders are ambitious people who want to do it ALL! I get that! However, when you underestimate the amount of time tasks take and the amount of margin you need, you will not operate in a sustainable way and you will wear yourself out.
Know your limits! It’s better to do a few things well than to perpetually be drowning in a sea of tasks and obligations! No one operates at their best when they are overwhelmed. You need space to think, dream, and problem solve, so let go, delegate, and put more energy into what only you can do or what you do best.
3. Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Learn to say “no” without having to justify why. Communicate your boundaries clearly and consistently enforce them. Consider setting regular hours where you are unavailable. Assign tasks to specific days. Be sure that you are doing something you love daily – something that fills you up! Without that you won’t have what it takes to lead well!
Sadly, you can’t really put the blame on others when you don’t manage your boundaries. Your boundaries are there to protect you. Engaging in “boundary wars” is taxing, but when people know what your boundaries are, they generally happy to respect them. For those boundary challengers in your life, maintaining your boundaries forces them to grow.
Clutter prevents you from giving your full attention to what matters most. It slows you down. It’s like a red flag to those around you that your life is out of control. Whether you start your week off with a time of de-cluttering, set aside the first half hour of every day to accomplish this task, or wrap up your day by clearing the clutter, making it a priority will enable you to have more focus and energy for the people and purposes that are most important.
We live in the OVER-information age! You are bombarded with e-mails, texts, phone calls, television, and more! Silence is rare. Moments to reflect – few! It’s easy for even focused people to jump from one great article to the next on the web without realizing how much time has gone by.
Be intentional about keeping the incoming stimuli to a minimum. It’s better to read one awesome article and take steps to follow through on what you learned than to read 20 articles that never really sink in. Be determined to mono-task.
6. Identify Unmet Needs & Your Fear Monster
You have needs, and when your needs go unmet it zaps your energy. Becoming aware of unmet needs and taking steps to meet them has a powerful effect on your energy level.
- Certainty – assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
- Variety – the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
- Significance – feeling unique, important, special or needed
- Connection/Love – a strong feeling of closeness
- Growth – an expansion of capacity, capability, or understanding
- Contribution – a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to, and supporting others
You can go about meeting these needs in positive ways – or you can seek to meet them in negative and destructive ways, often at your own expense.
Tapping into the way your Fear Monster is at work in your life and work is essential. Your Fear Monster keeps you frantic and entices you to focus on what will drain you. Until you face your Fear Monster you will struggle to operate at a sustainable pace.
7. Spend Time With God Daily
In your haste to get it all done, you might be tempted to skip spending time alone with God. The truth is that you can’t afford to not spend time with Him!
Have you ever wondered just how much time you’ve spent spinning your wheels in frustration because you didn’t take time to “be” with Him, to hear His wise words for the day, and to bask in His presence? Imagine what might shift if you were to make Him a priority in your life? What if you were to lean on Him and let Him be your guide?
Setting aside time for God might be the most vital part of your day.
It wasn’t that long ago that “going green” meant being “green with envy” or tip off that salads were your food of choice. Or if you are from the South, “going green” might have indicated that you were a fan of mustard or collard greens cooked to perfection!
These days, a leader who has “gone green” is one who operates in a sustainable way – a way that’s energizing and allows them to be at their creative best! It’s a leader who is confident, purposeful, and relaxed. Someone who is able to go the distance!
Want to function in a more sustainable way? Ready to “go green?” What one change would increase your energy and allow you to become the leader you want to be?
Originally posted on 12/2/14 – this post has been updated and revised just for you!
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