The concept is powerful yet sometimes overlooked by leaders. We cannot go full force all the time and if we do, we’ll surely wind up burning out or not being fully committed to those particular actions and initiatives (the lead measures) that help us achieve our Wildly Important Goals.
In The Power of Full Engagement, an influential book about leadership by best-selling authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, the mindful duo had this to say about sprinters vs. long-distance runners:
“Think for a moment about the look of many long-distance runners: gaunt, sallow, slightly sunken and emotionally flat. Now visualize a sprinter … Sprinters typically look powerful, bursting with energy and eager to push themselves to their limits. The explanation is simple. No matter how intense the demand they face, the finish line is clearly visible 100 or 200 meters down the track. We, too, must learn to live our lives as a series of sprints—fully engaging for a period of time and then fully disengaging and seeking renewal before jumping back into the fray to face whatever challenges confront us.”
After the race, we must recharge. In fact, the concept was built into our Sales Convention this year. At one end of our Vendor and Exhibitor Showcase we placed a RECHARGE Lounge where attendees could enjoy massage chairs, take in the calming aromas of essential oils and simply relax before jumping back into the networking, learning and fun of our event.
Outside of conferences and meetings, this is a practice you can—and should—implement into your daily routine. When you’re working, set your phone or computer alarm to go off every hour during the day—that’s eight one-minute check-ins—and use the time to pause, reflect, recharge, recalibrate and refocus. (For the real estate agent on the go, you can do this while sitting in your car between appointments.)
To be a leader who is always fully engaged and charged up for your sprint, you must regularly disengage and recharge to prepare for the next race. Make time for those regular breaks during your day and once your work is through, find balance by shutting off your phone, closing your computer and doing something that relaxes you.
For me, recharging means listening to a book. I was recently asked by a reporter from The Wall Street Journal how I’ve been able to sustain so much energy and passion throughout my career and I told her it’s partly because I’m fired up by learning something new. (Another important part of the equation is my hard-working team. I told her I love what I do largely because of who I get to do it with.) Re-educating myself is relaxing and recharging because it combats the complacency of the everyday and fills my mind with new perspectives on ways I can help others achieve their goals. Learning, for me, is the best way I can recharge because it recalibrates my brain with insightful information.
So, what’s the message? However or whatever “recharge” means to you—listening to your favorite music, reading a good book, taking a leisurely walk around your neighborhood—make it a priority in your schedule. When you do recharge, by the time your next “sprint” comes around, you’ll be fully and completely ready to give it your all and win.