5 Things to Start Doing This Year

SuccessDo you want to elevate your leadership impact this year? Leaders are busy, and sometimes it’s a challenge to just get through the day.

But we often put off doing the things that will help us make a bigger impact and get better results for ourselves and the organization. Where we focus our time has a significant impact on our success in leadership.

Here are the top five things I think leaders should start doing this year to work at peak performance and get better results.

  • Reading- The best leaders are focused on continuous learning and development. Many leaders are so busy they rarely can find time for keeping up on industry trends or enhancing their leadership. Make this the year you focus more time on reading, listening to educational audios, and focusing on development. Some of my favorite resources are:
    • Success Magazine (you get a bonus CD with each monthly magazine): www.success.com
    • Leadership from the Inside Out by Kevin Cashman
    • The Compound Effect audio series or book by Darren Hardy
    • The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
    • Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
    • Leading for Growth by Ray Davis
  • Planning- every minute of planning saves you 10 minutes in execution. Set aside an hour each Monday to plan for the next two weeks. Block out two days each month for planning and executing strategic projects. Last year, I started blocking out four days in a row each quarter to completely focus on only strategic projects. I did everything possible to keep those days open so I could focus on getting some serious strategic work done. When you plan ahead, you will find the time to elevate your focus to strategic areas that give you the best results. Check out the book Strategic Acceleration by Tony Jeary.
  • Recognizing- develop the habit of thanking your employees for a job well done. Meet with each employee to ask how they like to be recognized. Send a hand written note or a small gift when an employee goes above and beyond. It doesn’t take much time to recognize and appreciate your employees. Small interactions and gestures can generate better working relationships and a positive environment. A great resource for creating a recognition culture is The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White.
  • Coaching-make this the year you will make coaching and developing your staff a priority. Provide feedback early and often. Set up regular coaching sessions with your employees. Ask more questions. Talk less and listen more. Coach your employees to take more responsibility and ownership in their jobs. Check out my article, Ten Tips for Successfully Coaching Employees for ideas on how to implement coaching.
  • Reducing disruptions- Despite what most leaders think, having an “open door policy” is not productive. Let your staff know that you are going to close your door more often to concentrate on high value projects. Turn off your phone and your email when you need to focus and get things done. Take control of your time and politely let someone know when it’s not a good time to talk. It’s the small distractions throughout the day that compound and consume time that can be used for focused, productive work. Check out the book The One Thing by Gary Keller for some great tips on how to achieve better results in less time.

What is one thing you would like to start doing this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Small Changes Lead to Big Results

New Year ResolutionsIt’s the start of a fresh, new year. The opportunity to break out of old patterns and instill new habits. For years I wrote “New Year Resolutions” and got ready to change my life when the clock struck midnight. Whether it was eating healthier, exercising more, or being a better leader, my approach was that when the calendar turned to January, I hit the reset button and dove into my new and improved self. And it rarely worked.

When I set myself up for such drastic change all at one time, I felt pressured, overwhelmed, and ultimately discouraged. The stress of living up to this “ideal self” led me down a path of giving up easily and settling for the status quo. I wasn’t all that bad, I would rationalize. But I would have a lingering feeling of disappointment that I couldn’t achieve all the “goals” I had set.

I believe the reason most of us (over 92%!) aren’t successful implementing real change each year is because we are approaching the process all wrong. The point is that change is a process. We don’t just turn the page and become a new person who magically has willpower we didn’t have the year before. The best change happens incrementally. I’m not saying don’t set yearly goals. Goals are an important piece of the roadmap to changing and improving our lives. But how we reach those goals is where most people struggle.

I have found the best approach in making big changes to be utilizing the compound effect. Small incremental changes will lead to bigger transformations. Create your list of goals for the year, then under each one, create a few actions or habits to implement one at a time.

If one of your goals is to become a better leader, you might start with some smaller actions like:

  • Thank at least one employee each day for a specific contribution.
  • Schedule monthly two-hour coaching sessions in my calendar with each of my employees by January 30th.
  • Provide specific constructive and positive feedback to each employee in each of their coaching sessions. (Most leaders fail to give ANY feedback throughout the year, so if you do this one thing each month, you will surely improve your leadership skills).
  • Recognize my top performing employee at least once a month. (Many leaders focus their efforts on struggling employees and forget to acknowledge top performers).

Changing behavior is a personal process. If you know that implementing all four of those actions at once will overwhelm you and derail your efforts, then start with number one and make that a habit before incorporating more habits or actions. If you do this consistently all year, you have a much better chance of becoming a better leader than if you decided to change all your habits on day one. This approach makes the change more manageable and sustainable.

Another important part of reaching your goals is forgiveness. You need to be open to forgiving yourself when you fail to follow through. If you are trying to eat healthier but ate a pint of ice cream last night, you need to brush it off, forgive yourself, and start new again. Beating yourself up will not change the fact that you ate the ice cream. Move on and try better tomorrow.

One of my goals this year is to be a more patient parent. Before my husband and I had kids, we talked about how calm our house would be and how we would approach parenting. Then we had kids and reality set in. It wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be! We have a four-year-old, two-year-old and a newborn, and with lack of sleep, patience can be limited. Instead of setting a goal for being a perfect parent, I have small actions and habits I am working on to hopefully improve over time. For example, if I get frustrated with my daughter, instead of getting angry at myself for losing my cool (which just adds more negativity and frustration to the situation), I have started the habit of apologizing to my daughter, giving her a hug, and starting again. This small change has helped me to stay present in the moment and be more patient with my daughter. She is more willing to listen instead of throwing a tantrum.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What is one goal you have set for this year and one or two habits you are working on toward that goal? Share your comments below.

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How I overcome self-criticism

Plan BI found myself getting anxious a couple of weeks ago as I realized that the end of the year is approaching. Before the start of each year, I set goals for my personal and professional life. The anxiety began to build as I realized there were a few goals I haven’t made any progress toward. For example, one of my business goals this year was to start a video blog. I started to feel bad about my lack of following through on this project that I deemed so important in the beginning of the year. If I weren’t expecting a baby in five weeks, I may have been able to launch this project by the end of the year. However, I am forgiving myself for not accomplishing it and moving the goal to next year.

I heard someone once say, “You are exactly where you are meant to be.” This is a mantra I have worked hard at keeping top of mind. It doesn’t mean I don’t set goals or that I don’t stretch and challenge myself. It means that I put in my best effort, and then forgive myself if I sometimes fall short of accomplishing all that I set out to do. We all hit roadblocks or challenges along our path that we have to navigate. Yet life is unfolding exactly how it should. Every person on this planet has experienced setbacks and disappointments. Holding ourselves to a high standard is good, and also accepting that we are human and will sometimes fall short is better than continuing to focus on what we should have or could have done.

Is there something you are beating yourself up for not doing? Perhaps you had a goal of getting into shape, or to manage your time better, or to take a class to further your career. Whatever it is, be okay with where you are. You are exactly where you are meant to be. You can start now.

Here are three ways to motivate yourself to keep going:

Take an inventory of what you have accomplished this year. Focus on what you have done. When I make a list of all the goals I have reached, it makes me realize that I actually accomplished a lot that I should be proud of. Celebrating the successes puts you in a positive mindset to motivate you to move forward.

Forgive yourself for the “failures”. Focusing on what you haven’t done and beating yourself up is wasted energy. You can’t change yesterday or the yesterdays before that. You can only make changes starting right now. Focus on what you can do right now and in the future.

Focus on daily improvement. I have learned over the years of working with people as well as reflecting on my own behavior, that most people achieve more when they focus on improving each day rather than trying to create massive change all at once. Choose one area you would like to improve upon in your life and then choose one habit or action to work on today. These small changes will compound into bigger results over time.

Have you ever struggled with criticizing yourself? I’d love to hear your tips for overcoming self-criticism. Share your tips in the comments section below.

If you would like more inspiration, I recommend reading one of my favorite books, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book will motivate and inspire you to achieve beyond what you think is possible.

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Building Accountability in Your Team

Follow the LeaderOne of the biggest challenges leaders express to me is getting people to be accountable for results and take ownership and responsibility in their jobs. When people aren’t accountable, the challenge often grows into a cultural issue with a lack of accountability across the organization. Leaders often ask me, “How can I better hold my people accountable?”

First, I believe we can’t “hold” people accountable. Accountability is about taking ownership; it’s taking responsibility for one’s own actions. True accountability is voluntary. As leaders, we can create structures and an environment that instills accountability, but we can’t force someone to be accountable. Accountability can’t be mandated.

We need to look first at ourselves as leaders and ask if we are sending positive accountability messages or negative accountability messages. Are we modeling the accountability and ownership that we are expecting from our employees? Not just in the big ways, but in the small ways that send mixed messages. In my experience, most leaders are sending negative accountability messages, even if they are not aware of it.

When I reflect on my leadership, I recall several times that I sent negative accountability messages. At times I would struggle to keep up with my many meetings and not always take the time to plan and prepare as well as I could. I may have had the best of intentions, but the message I sent was that it was acceptable to show up to a meeting not fully prepared. Repeated messages like these can start to affect the behavior of employees and grow into lack of ownership and results.

Here are some common examples of negative accountability messages. Ask yourself if any of these apply to you:

• Are you consistently late to meetings?
• If you are leading a meeting, do you not start the meeting on time to wait for latecomers?
• Do you often come to meetings not having completed the things you said you would do or not fully prepared?
• Do you consistently shift meetings and coaching sessions with your staff because you have other important things to get done?
• Are you delinquent on preparing and conducting performance evaluations?
• Do you often commit to getting something to a peer and fail to follow through?

We all get busy. Things come up. But it’s our consistent, everyday actions that send messages to those we lead on how to behave and what is acceptable in our organizational culture. If we fail to take ownership and model accountability, we are sending a negative accountability message to our employees.

I believe we all can benefit from assessing our leadership and be more purposeful in sending positive accountability messages. We can have the best intentions, but it’s our actions that send the message and communicate our expectations. We can only truly instill accountability if we ourselves are accountable.

I’d love to hear from you-what is an example of where you can work on sending a positive accountability message?


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Eight Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

perfectionI was recently working with one of my executive clients on the area of perfectionism. She talked about the standards she places on herself; feeling inadequate if she makes one mistake, mulling over it for days as the uneasiness builds.  This is an area I know all too well. I’ve struggled with perfectionism throughout my life, and have often wasted a great deal of time and energy striving to create the perfect business plan, the perfect presentation, or even the perfect gourmet dinner for friends.  The list goes on!

So why do so many high-achieving, successful leaders beat themselves up over small, inconsequential mistakes? Why are we striving so hard to be perfect?

The truth is, people who are challenged by perfectionism usually don’t think they’re perfect. More often than not, they fear what people will think if they find out how imperfect they really are. Many perfectionists struggle with living up to their own internal standards and want to be accepted and appreciated by others.

There are two types of perfectionists: adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive perfectionists are more goal-oriented and conscientious, and adjust well within groups. This type of perfectionist scores high on leadership abilities and tends to be the kind of person who reaches for attainable goals and continuously seeks self-improvement. Adaptive perfectionism tends to be self-oriented; meaning, they adhere to strict standards while maintaining strong motivation to attain perfection. By contrast, maladaptive perfectionists tend to fear criticism, are obsessive over order, and seek total admiration. These perfectionists as leaders tend to be micromanaging, emphasize hard work over results, and struggle with building and maintaining positive relationships with others. The impact can be de-motivated employees, underdeveloped staff, and high turnover.

Perfectionism can serve you well if it’s healthy and oriented toward self-improvement and strong goal orientation. And it’s important to be aware of when you are being self-critical and irrational. As I’ve developed as a person and leader, I like to reframe perfectionism in a more healthy way. Rather than strive to be perfect, I now strive to be excellent.

Here are eight strategies for being a “healthy” perfectionist:

Get out of your office. Schedule at least three, fifteen-minute blocks of time a day to get out of your office and connect with people or to go outdoors. Giving your brain a break brings clarity and focus, and often gives you the mental space you need to reframe your perfectionism tendencies.

Delegate and trust. Perfectionists often feel they will be seen as successful leaders if they can do it all. The opposite is actually true. A good leader is able to delegate some tasks and projects and focus on the important, high-leverage areas.

Develop employees. The more time you take to develop your employees, the more opportunities you will have to delegate work to them and free up your time for the most important strategic projects.

Pare down your to do list. At the end of each day, pick one or two important tasks or projects that are essential to complete the next day. Instead of focusing on a long “to do” list, start your day by focusing on your two important tasks. Determine that your day will be a success if you complete these items. Many perfectionists are action oriented and feel successful by checking things off a list. It’s better to accomplish the important tasks rather than just any task.

Focus on being, not just doing. Perfectionists usually focus on accomplishments and tend to neglect downtime. Designate downtime every day where you shut off everything and leave the demands behind.

Celebrate mistakes. We are all human. When you make a mistake, celebrate and learn from it. Better yet, tell your staff about your mistake. They will actually have more respect for you for admitting you are not perfect.

Strive for excellent instead of perfect. We waste so much time and energy trying to ensure every detail is perfect. Often what you think is only “good” work is seen as far more superior in others’ eyes. Strive for excellence, and accept that you can be more productive by not being perfect.

Institute “pause” moments. Whether it’s meditation or just taking ten minutes a day to take a breath and quiet your mind, pausing throughout the day to regroup can be very empowering. This has made a huge difference in my life. I am calmer and more focused, and have reduced my anxiety significantly around what needs to get done. Even though I’m not perfect at slowing down, pausing throughout the day to be present in the moment makes me feel more in control.

Awareness is the first step toward reducing anxiety around perfectionism. Start noticing the irrational thoughts going through your head (i.e., I’ll get fired if this report is not perfect) and bring yourself back to reality.

I’d love to hear from you: What strategies have you used to keep your perfectionism in check? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

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Do top grades in school predict great leadership?

Diagram of emotional intelligenceI was a good student in high school, but not at the top of my class. If I didn’t find a subject appealing (um, chemistry) I didn’t put as much effort into it as I know I should have. So I was relieved when I read an article that said emotional intelligence is more important than IQ when it comes to being a successful leader. It turns out you don’t have to be valedictorian to be a highly successful leader. In fact, Daniel Goleman, the article author, said when he asks a roomful of CEOs if they were magna cum laude or had the highest grades in their class, less than 1% raise their hands.

Emotional intelligence is our ability to perceive, reason with, understand and manage our emotions. Leaders who are self aware and are able to manage their emotions are more successful than those who are blind to emotions and their impact on others.

Goleman says, “A higher proportion of the competencies that distinguish the stars among leaders turn out to be based on emotional intelligence rather than IQ-type abilities, by far–like 80 or 90 percent of them.”

The good news is that emotional intelligence is not fixed. With awareness and practice, we can develop our emotional intelligence.

While there are many elements of emotional intelligence, I find many leaders struggle with areas like self-awareness, empathy, interpersonal relationships, and emotional expression. Most employees connect better with leaders who are authentic, approachable, supportive and who listen well. I’m sure we’ve all experienced working with people who were very intelligent yet poor leaders.

Below are three ways to increase your emotional intelligence:

Ask for feedback. There are several tools for gaining information on how your staff and peers perceive you. An emotional intelligence assessment or 360 degree feedback survey are great ways to benchmark how your emotional intelligence skills are perceived by others.  Sending an survey to anonymously collect feedback will help you to focus in on the areas of improvement.

Listen. Studies show that most people are only about 25% effective as listeners. Listening is a mental skill that takes energy and discipline. With practice, we can improve our ability to listen. A good practice is to focus really intently on the person speaking and wait until she has finished before you formulate your response. When meeting with an employee, turn off the alerts on your email and phones so you can focus on the conversation.

Cultivate relationships. Many leaders don’t find the time to interact with their staff because they are too busy. This often leads to employees feeling their boss is unapproachable or doesn’t care. Focus on developing relationships with people by asking about their personal life and walking around to interact with them. Foster an engaging environment where employees enjoy coming to work.

To watch a 5 minute video by Daniel Goleman on emotional intelligence, click here: Emotional Intelligence Video

I’d love to hear from you–what do you think are the most important qualities for being a successful and respected leader?

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Why you should never vent to your boss

iStock_000026324486MediumSeveral months ago I was facilitating a workshop on communication, and the topic of venting came up. One manager shared that she consistently vents to her boss about challenges in her position, like interpersonal issues with employees or coworkers. She felt since she has a good relationship with her vice president, that it seemed natural to vent to her when she was having challenges. “I need someone to vent my frustrations to so I can feel better. I use her as an outlet,” she said.

Venting can be good in some situations and help a person feel better by talking things out or working through emotions. But you should never vent to your boss. Even if you have a great relationship with your boss, venting can be risky to your career. By definition, venting means “to express one’s thoughts or feelings, especially forcefully”. There is a big difference between venting and expressing your thoughts carefully.

If you have a great relationship with your boss, then occasionally sharing challenges and frustrations may be appropriate and natural. Yet consistently using your manager as an outlet to express aggravations only adds to your boss’s problems. She may start to view you as not being able to effectively handle challenges in your role, and it may affect how she views your performance. Whether your boss is the CEO or a mid level manager, she has a lot on her plate and would probably welcome not being involved in every challenging situation.

When faced with a challenging or frustrating situation, ask yourself these questions:

• What part of this situation can I control?
• What are two or three ways I could resolve this situation?
• How could I effectively approach this person to get the best result? (if you’re dealing with an interpersonal conflict)
• Will I handle this situation more effectively if I take a day to cool down?
• Is this something my boss needs to be involved in, or is it something I can handle on my own?

After asking yourself these questions, if you feel it’s appropriate to involve your boss, then approach it constructively by carefully framing the challenge you are facing and sharing the possible solutions you are considering. If you are seeking guidance, let your boss know that you are open to coaching around the challenge and need some advice or a different perspective.

Most leaders would welcome not being involved in every challenge and gladly allow their employees to resolve their own issues.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What strategies have you used to deal with challenges or frustrations at work?

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Why learning is overrated

iStock_000027548259MediumI’ve always loved to learn. I read almost every day and often push myself to get through as many books as possible. I consider myself a lifelong learner, but I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with information. I often struggle to keep up with the books, ideas, articles and resources there are to improve my leadership and my life.

Up until a couple months ago, I thought learning was an important aspect of being a successful leader; the ability to consistently take in new and interesting ideas.

But all that changed.

I was participating in a program by Darren Hardy about increasing productivity, and he said something that changed the way I think about learning. Here is what he said:

“We need to stop learning, and start studying.”

This may not seem very profound, but it changed the way I look at personal development. Learning is about taking in new ideas, whereas studying is about applying those ideas. Studying is about using those ideas to change your leadership and your life. Instead of setting goals to learn more, the most successful leaders study concepts and ideas deeply and then apply the information to their leadership.

This has changed the way I take in new information. Instead of making it a goal to read a certain number of books in a year, I have eliminated that goal. I realized it is about what I do with the information, not the amount of information I take in. I could read 50 books a year and have some great knowledge in my brain, but not do much with it. Or I could read 10 books a year and really study them; really reflect on the information and how I can apply it to my leadership.

I recently started reading the book, The Pause Principle, by Kevin Cashman. I am devoting more time with this book to reflect on the ideas and following through on the exercises and questions. I am not just learning information, I am applying the concepts. It may take me a month or more to finish the book, but I am taking my time and studying the information.

I’d like to hear from you. Do you ever struggle to apply what you learn? Head on over to the comments section and share your thoughts with us.

And if you are interested in the book, The Pause Principle, I definitely recommend it. Click below for more information:

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How you may be sabotaging your relationship with employees

unhappy employeesWe are getting ready to remodel our kitchen, and I contacted several contractors to visit our home to discuss the project and provide an estimate. One didn’t return our initial calls, one came out and we had to follow up three times before he sent the estimate, and one called us back within a day and sent his estimate within two days of our meeting. It was not a hard to decide who to hire for the job.

Responsiveness and follow through are crucial for any business, and unfortunately many organizations fall short of making this a practice. How a person responds and follows up says a lot about an organization and their service. These actions set the tone for the relationship, or it dissolves the relationship before it has even begun.

This applies to leaders and their employees. Every interaction you have with your employees sets the tone for that relationship and either deepens the relationship or chips away at it. Unfortunately, many leaders take the relationships they have with employees for granted and don’t see the impact of the daily interactions.

Below are common examples of how leaders can damage the relationship with employees:

  • Showing up late to meetings
  • Shifting a meeting you have with an employee because another “priority” came up
  • Not providing feedback
  • Not giving an employee their performance evaluation on time
  • Not showing appreciation
  • Always being too busy to support or coach
  • Not providing clear expectations and deadlines
  • Not being prepared for a meeting you have with an employee

You have an opportunity every day to bring your best leadership to your people. How you interact with and treat your employees sets the tone for how they will treat your clients. Accountability starts with you. Do you model accountability with your employees? Do you do what you say you are going to do? I believe our employee relationships are the most important. If you put your employees first, they will in turn put your clients first. If employees feel appreciated and cared for, they will exhibit the same approach toward clients.

An exceptional leader models positive behaviors and views the relationships with his employees as one of the most important relationships to cultivate. An exceptional leader is never too busy to write a thank you note, show appreciation, meet with his employees, provide meaningful feedback, and conduct performance evaluations. An exceptional leader knows it’s his job to make employees a priority and ensure the relationship gets continued focus.

I’d love to hear what you do to cultivate the relationship with your employees. Share one thing you do to ensure your employees feel they are a priority in the comments section below.

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My Tips for Increased Energy

I just returned from a relaxing getaway in Cancun with my family and it was just what I needed to recharge and refocus. One of my personal goals this year is to schedule more downtime. I can very easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and sometimes neglect to take care of myself and ensure I am getting the time I need to recharge.

So what does this have to do with leadership? In my experience, many leaders get so caught up in work, that they leave little time for leisure. I used to be one of those leaders. I enjoyed my work, and would often work long hours. I would come home mentally and physically exhausted, which left very little time and energy for exercise, eating right, and taking care of myself. I like to keep busy, and at the time, leisure time sounded unproductive.

I admit that I sometimes still struggle with prioritizing leisure time, but I have made consistent progress and continue to focus on making small changes. To be an effective leader, we need frequent mental and physical breaks to de-clutter our minds and recharge physically. We can’t possibly run on overdrive and be effective. Attending to the physical, emotional, and spiritual side will ensure we have the energy and mental capacity to bring the best to our work.

Below are some changes I am implementing to make sure I can work at peak performance and have the energy to bring my best to my work.

Pre-schedule vacations and getaways. I used to do this backwards. I would put all of my work commitments in my calendar, and then a few months before I wanted to take a vacation, I would try to fit it in. This caused more stress since I often didn’t have room in my schedule for any time off. This past year, I started scheduling my downtime first. I blocked out several weeks I wanted to take off (even if I didn’t have a destination yet), and committed to taking that time I need. I also blocked off at least two full days a month with no commitments so that I could use that time for planning and creative thinking. Blocking this time in my calendar has served as a constant reminder that this time needs to be a priority.

Make health a priority. This is nothing new, and I think it’s easier said than done. When I am busy, I grab convenience foods like unhealthy snacks. My family is working on cutting out most processed foods this year and planning our meals ahead of time. This can be challenging–like when my husband bought four box of Girl Scout cookies this weekend–but we are making small changes that are really adding up. I follow a website that has been an excellent resource called 100 Days of Real Food. Check it out here: www.100daysofrealfood.com. I have used many of these recipes to make food on the weekends to have for the week.

Get some sleep. Unless you are a giraffe (they only need a total of 1.9 hours of sleep a day), you probably need at least eight hours of sleep a night. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say they would feel better and more prepared for the day if they got more sleep. Technology is one reason why many people don’t get enough sleep–they stay up surfing the Internet, watching television, working, or playing games on their phone. This is one area that is non-negotiable for me. I aim to get about nine hours a sleep a night (as long as my 3 year old and 1 year old cooperate!). If I get less than eight hours, I absolutely feel a difference the next day–I’m tired, sluggish, and have very little motivation to focus.

Get clear on limiting beliefs. I ended last year exhausted and ready for a break. I had been running at full speed all year, and felt like I didn’t have the breaks I needed to regroup and relax. When I reflected, I realized that I had a subconscious belief that work should always come first. This limiting belief was apparent in my decisions, and it was having a negative impact in my life. I would choose work over things that I said were priorities, like exercise and meditation. If something for work came up, I would often shift personal commitments to accommodate my work schedule. I realized that this had to change. There will always be work. And if I treat the personal needs as optional, they will never rise to the top of the list. Now I schedule my personal needs in my calendar months ahead of time to make sure they get the focus they need. Sometimes I will need to shift something, but I am making a lot of progress in prioritizing my leisure time.

Small habits lead to big changes. As a leader, I know you have a very busy schedule. Adding more commitments probably seems impossible. Start with small changes and build from there. In my work with leaders, I find that the most successful people are those who make small habit changes and are consistent. They stick to the changes and focus on improving and making better choices in each moment. It’s great to have a big plan, but it’s even better to get results.

What is one thing you do to recharge and re-energize?

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