An uncommon approach to motivating others: Take care of yourself

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Most leaders don’t realize how their energy impacts their culture, the ones that do understand are the leaders who create remarkable organizations.

Seth Godin said, “You get the culture you deserve.” Ouch! That quote hurt because it meant if I was displeased with my organization (its culture, its productivity, etc.) then that was on me. I had to take 100% ownership. Understanding how your energy impacts the culture is one thing; wielding that power is quite another.

This post will show you how to master your own energy in order to motivate your people.

Elevate your “to-be” list over your “to-do” list.

I didn’t until I talked to a new friend, Houston Kraft. Houston is the co-founder of CharacterStrong and has infectious positive energy.

Yesterday while recording a new podcast, Houston taught me the concept of a “to-be” list. It’s exactly what it sounds like. A “to-be” list sets your intention for the day. Who do you exactly want to be? Who are you at your best?

I wish I knew that yesterday when I absolutely blew it. I did what many leaders do and elevated my “to-do” list over my “to-be” list. And when I experienced a challenge that got in the way of my “to-do” list, you know what happened?

  • I became a complete jerk
  • I soured the energy around me
  • I limited my effectiveness (and my team’s effectiveness)
  • And it’s all because I forgot about the kind of human I wanted to be that day

Lesson learned and I’ll show you how I bounced back next …

What routines and rituals help you be your best?

It isn’t rocket science. It’s routine and rituals.

In other words, they have discipline.

I lacked discipline the other day when I was a big jerk and negatively impacted those around me. I packed too much into my day and ignored the necessary buffer that I need in my calendar. Buffer allows me to rebound and when the day doesn’t go as planned (it rarely does), I have the space needed to move things around.

Who I am as a human is important to me. So that night I reflected on what happened. I wrote in my journal:

And to that point, I failed today. I was much too focused on my to-do list. It became a challenge to record my videos and I didn’t handle it well at all. Worse yet, I noticed myself on this dangerous path and chose to stay there. That was an utter failure.

Tomorrow I must focus on who I want to be and let that be more important than my work.

I know this in my head. Now I need my heart and actions to follow.

The next day when I woke, I set an intention for myself in my journal. I asked myself, “Who do I want to be today?”

I answered, “Flexible, patient, kind, and easy to be around.” The entire day this intention was in the front of my mind, guiding my actions and words.

Journaling is a great routine and ritual that helps me be my best.

The best leaders make their people better

One problem many leaders have is thinking, “What can I do to boost morale today?” That’s the wrong question.

The right question is, “How can I systematically and authentically develop my people over the next quarter, year, or three years?”

Teach your people what you have learned and help them be the best version of themselves. People crave authenticity. Here is another way to think about it — How much more will your team accomplish if they are coming to work happy, whole, and connected?

Model what you have learned and how you invest in your personal growth. Ask them what routines and rituals they need to engage in so they can be the best version of themselves.

I mentioned how journaling is one of those rituals in my life.

Some other rituals that help me:

  • Reading
  • Spending time in silence and meditation
  • Reciting affirmations
  • Thinking about challenges in my day and how I might overcome them
  • Visualizing success
  • Moving every day (run, bike, hike, yoga, etc.)
  • Calling friends and connecting with others
  • Celebrating my wins

Have people consider it. Make a plan. Put it on the calendar. Link up with a buddy to challenge each other and make sure you are taking action.

Who we are is much more than what we accomplish.

Knowing that and choosing every day who we want to be might be the single most important decision you make daily.

If you take care of yourself, that positivity and “fullness” of life will inspire, motivate, and challenge your peers to raise their level of performance as well. Better yet, teach them how to do it and observe the positive ripple effect within your organization.

Host of the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast with over one million downloads 🚀

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