Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest”
~ Ashleigh Brilliant, English Author and Cartoonist
It is the end of your day and you have been busy on your cell phone, planning meetings, coordinating with clients, co workers, family and friends. It has been a full and productive day and now it is time to plug your cell phone in to recharge. My phone has allowed me to call clients, respond to e-mail, organize a seminar or just enjoy a text message from my best friend. It has worked hard and has earned a rest. If I do not give my cell phone a rest, then I am reminded by a beeping sound signaling me that it is about to run out of gas. I give it a charge or at the very least, stop using it.
My question for you is what happens when we as leaders, as people need to recharge? Unlike our phones, our bodies and brains do not offer a friendly beep that we easily acknowledge. In fact, when we get the common signals of fatigue, then we often push through them, work harder, artificially stimulate ourselves with caffeine and keep on going. Sometimes signals come in forms of sleepiness, short temper, lack of concentration, mistakes or an argument with an employee, co-worker or loved one. When these things happen, we are certainly not operating at our best.
Rest is important and yet, too often it is something that we resist. Rest is an investment in yourself, in your team and in your future. Self care is not selfish. As a leader you must take care of yourself, especially since your actions impact others. I equate it to being captain of your own ship or the pilot of your plane. If the captain is not alert, ready and rested, then the entire ship and its crew is at risk. Rest is of service to all of the people and systems that you impact. Recharging your mind, body and emotions allows you to be at your best so that you can be of service to others. For example, when I fly, I am hoping that the pilot and co- pilot have had a good night of rest and are alert and ready to fly the plane to my destination safely. Imagine getting on a plane with a yawning pilot, or going in for surgery with a sleepy surgeon. Whether you are a CEO, director, manager, or parent, you need to be at your best and you can’t do it if you are not rested.
Rest Makes You Smarter
Recharging not only allows you to feel better and be more alert, but it also allows you to take in and process all of the lessons and experiences of the day so that you can utilize them tomorrow. My father used to say that sleep is important so your brain can rest. Recent studies actually show that your brain is not exactly resting when you sleep. Your brain is busy processing and making sense and storing your lessons of the day. Think of it as the time for your brain to take your data and file it properly. Have you ever looked for something and you can’t find it because it was not properly filed or stored? That’s what it’s like for your brain when it has not rested and recharged properly. It’s like a messy desk or inbox that just forces you to keep searching for that one piece of data that you need in the moment. You can read the entire study in the Scientific American article, (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-snoozing-makes-you-smarter).
If you are still not sure about rest and recharging yourself, then consider that most major religions make reference to the importance of rest in some way, even for God.
I invite you to welcome rest and recharging into your leadership development on a daily basis. Here are some simple things that you can do during the day to recharge and rest.
2. Go for a walk
3. Be still and quiet
4. Listen to music
5. Be an artist, doodle, whistle, sing a song or write a poem.
6. Journal. Get your thoughts, ideas and concerns down on paper to shed stress.
7. Get the right amount of sleep for you every night.
Athletes break their bodies down when they push themselves during training. But it is when they rest and their bodies repair that they actually get stronger. Both hard work and rest are needed for maximum positive impact.
Rest is an investment in you and all with whom you are in relationship. So the next time you plug that phone in to recharge, ask yourself, “have I taken the time to recharge my own battery today?”
Work hard, be rested, be balanced and be your best self.
Thank you for reading.
Larysa Slobodian, L4 Leadership LLC
Principal Consultant & Executive Coach