Passionate. Authentic. Committed. That’s how people describe Alexandra Morgan’s leadership of Family House, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that serves the families of children needing life-saving treatments at UCSF. It looked as though Alexandra had it all, but she knew better.
Depleted. Short-fused. That’s how Alexandra felt. Approaching 60, Alexandra wasn’t thinking about retirement but didn’t know how she could continue while feeling so run down. Like so many of us with a plateful of responsibility, she was running on fumes much of the time. And she was pretty sure that was how it had to be as just about all of her colleagues and mentors had blazed this particular trail.
Fast forward: Alexandra is about to get married, feels healthier and more vital than ever, and is fully engaged in what she describes as her life’s work.
demands kept sucking time from her personal life and left her feeling like she
was just getting by. That’s how she believed life worked.
Like Alexandra, you have probably wondered if it is actually possible to thrive at home and at work–at the same time. I’ve coached everyone from CEOs to community government leaders, to virtual managers and long-distance caregivers. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is that you understand that having the energy you crave depends upon these five essentials:
Health and Nutrition. People with the energy and focus to get things done consistently monitor their health, eat a diet that is right for them, exercise regularly and listen to their bodies.
Rest and Renewal. Energetic people get the sleep they need, and have rituals that center them. They schedule some technology-free time and understand that they need to stop occasionally to un-do from the busyness of life .
Focus and Growth. Productive people don’t multitask; they know that is actually inefficient. Rather, they bundle tasks, prioritizing the most difficult and time-consuming. They also make a point to stretch their minds and develop creative pursuits.
Joy and Passion. The luckiest among us have trained themselves to find meaning and joy even in the small moments of life. They align their values with their actions, and try to make a difference in small or large ways. What they find is that joy and passion act like a virus, happily transmitted to all those around.
Time and Place. People with energy guard their time, knowing when to say “no” and when to jump in. They take breaks from their work every 90 minutes to stretch, walk around, and re-charge for the next challenge.
High achievers in any realm—athletes or musicians, for example—are passionate practitioners of their craft. But they know that without rest, nutrition, and attention to their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs, they will not meet their goals. Why should we be any different? Why do we glorify the sleep-deprived, 100-hour per week manager? Especially when research has shown that they are not maxing their potential? I say it’s time to shift that paradigm and give ourselves a new way of making our greatest impact–at home and at work.
So how can you get more done in less time without sucking your sense of wellness dry? And can you do that while still making a major impact at home, work, in your community? The answer is yes, definitely, if you identify where and how to make the wisest possible choices about expending your time and energy.
Once you have laid out before you—in
black and white—the truth about how you live your life, you can begin to think
about changing your approach.
I developed The Thriving Quiz™ as a baseline assessment to help clients diagnose just what they need to produce breakthrough results and to be happier while doing so. The 25 questions address many aspects of life, including diet, exercise, mental acuity, passions, purpose, and emotional well-being. Alexandra said that The Thriving Quiz™ turned her life around. By understanding exactly where she was falling short, Alexandra was able to identify specific steps to help enhance her capacity to have the greatest impact. Is your energy tank empty?
You can take the quiz here.
Barbara Waxman is a coach, a speaker, and the creator of The Middlescence Factor™, a guide to helping others feel more engaged, energetic and impactful in the midpoint of their lives and beyond.