Avoid Burn-out: Get in Touch with How you feel.
If you want to be the very best at what you do, use your energy wisely.
1. Refuel Your Emotional Energy Tank. Life is all about energy including mental energy. Like other energies our mental reserves are a limited resource so don’t forget to refuel the tank. Incorporate mental down time into each day, walk in nature, spend time with the people you love, engage in music and the arts, hobbies and social gatherings. Find the things that refuel you. These activities don’t make you idle they make you effective.
2. Build Self-Awareness. Do you react by how you are feeling, but have little control over those feelings? Then start with a daily body check, assess where you are at and what is contributing to you feeling that way. Different energy states are required to get the job done, whether it is a learning a new skill for an athlete, filling out a tax return or having to let a staff member go. To manage those energy states, begin by being aware. How does anger feel, how does calm feel, how does determined or empathetic feel …?
3. Reflect. If you don’t like how you are feeling think it through. Reflect on why you are feeling that way, what is it about your view of the world, up-bringing or environment that has shaped your beliefs and feelings? Are they productive, if not how you can change them? Without self-awareness and reflection we can become locked into unhelpful cycles of rumination, frustration and loss of self-belief. These emotions are energy draining, sapping the mental alertness and motivation we need to do our jobs well.
4. Know Your Triggers. Through reflection, self-awareness builds. You are more than your last performance, work assessment or someone else’s opinion. If you let others define you they will hijack your emotional energy tap, turning it up or down based on their own agenda. Take back control of how you feel, know what triggers you and make a plan to manage tricky situations before they occur so you remain composed and in control. For example, if a co-worker is a trigger - perhaps they think quickly on their feet giving them an unfair advantage - have a comeback time. Don’t make any commitments at that moment, say “I will reflect on that and get back to you.”
5. Make the Change. All said in done it is less of what happens to us in life and more about how we experience it, and what we decide to do about it that makes all of the difference. If you are hoping a controlling coach or boss will change, you are likely to feel sustained emotional distress. Generating frustration and self-doubt and burning a lot of emotional energy eventually emptying the tank and running on empty. Your choices are
(a) Do nothing and remain in a distressed state
(b) Look to find a workable solution
(c) Leave and look to work with others who better match your values/skills
(d) Adapt your values/skills to match the organisation/situation you now find yourself in.
Know deep inside yourself you are a good person and start from there.
Gayelene Clews is a Performance Psychologist and author of “Wired to Play: The Metacognitive Athlete”. She has worked with many of the very best sporting teams in the world including Olympic and World Champions. Clews applies science to success in her “Wired for Success” business workshops for emotionally intelligent organisations. Contact Gayelene via email@example.com. To purchase her book www.wiredtoplay.com.