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How You Feel MATTERS

Focus on this and the rest will literally take care of itself!

The most important resource you have when leading anything is YOU and the most important characteristic you can bring to the table is MAGNETISM.
People want to be with you. They are attracted to your energy.
This doesn’t mean high energy which is often a false economy and can be as repellent as it is attractive, but where you feel good. You feel good about the project, your role, your colleagues... people pick this up on how you feel and it really defines the limits of your effectiveness leader in any field at all.
Whether you measure it in money, impact, respect, pride or satisfaction, the point is that it matters and the only way to feel good about these things is to feel good about yourself and about your life.

 

I honestly reckon there’s a direct correlation between how good you feel about yourself and your life and how much money you make – it is certainly true in my line of business.

Last week I promised to write the piece on this to underpin my rather philosophical expose on What to do when Hierarchy Fails (and the value of taking a 'bendy' route between A and B).
What I want you to take away from this piece is that, no matter what anyone says about the skills of leadership or how to Organise for Impact etc., your real effectiveness (and the real value of simply being alive) is both caused and measured by how good you FEEL.
The second point I hope my sharing brings home is that:

'Feeling Good' takes focus, effort and sometimes money.

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Photo by Riccardo Bresciani

Magnetism

This kind of energy comes from two places: 1. from your reserves, or 2. just because you just feel that way

The latter is obviously better and we'll get to that, but sometimes, you really do need to "fake it 'til you make it". However, recognise that when you are doing that, you are drawing on reserves.

No matter how you play it, not every day is a great day, but you don’t want to draw down your reserves too much. I did last year and I’ll share what happened to me in a bit.

However, if you do need to draw on reserves, here’s some hints that’ll help tap into them effectively.

For some bizarre reason, human beings can generate far more energy in service of others than they can in service of themselves.

Run with that… if you’re feeling down, think about what others want and then give it to them. The best way to do that is to relate to the conversation or the meeting you're about to have as something that's really important to them, and that you're doing it for them. Then you’ve got to ask, “why is this so important to them? What do they want out of this meeting? How can I best make sure they get it?”

Truth is, you don't really know. So make it up and evolve it as needed. Just coming from that place takes the focus off you and makes your energy flow more easily.

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Plunge in

Another thing that happens that can suck ‘feel good energy’ is when you feel that something is not going in the direction you wanted it to go in.
In this case, you again have two options.
1. You either resist the way it's going, or 2. you plunge straight in
Here’s what that means: the other day I was having a conversation with a client a couple of clients. The conversation didn't seem to be going in the direction I wanted it to go. It seemed to my febrile and over-anxious mind that they were backing out of what we had created together previously
My mind just started going nuts trying to balance out what's best for me and how I could dispassionately be of service to them.
Then I caught myself.
I stopped resisting the way the conversation was going and instead I plunged in and got really, really interested in what was going on, in what they were dealing with and why the conversation was going the way it was going. Guess what, my concern that they were 'backing out' was way off and driven only by fear. By getting curious instead I opened a space where I could start to hear what they were really saying, what they were actually asking me to help them grapple with. If I had stayed stuck in my concern, I reckon we'd have all come away from the conversation with a slightly uncomfortable feeling that we had never really connected, and probably no program. Instead, we all came away inspired by a new way forward that none of us had thought of before.

So, when confronted things aren’t going the way you want them to, I invite you to plunge in.

Feeling Good – the ultimate source of professional effectiveness

I said I’d share a bit about how I relied on my reserves a but too much and the impact of that.

Last year was a tough year for me for many reasons, personal and professional. By the beginning of this year, especially with lockdown, I was starting to have anxiety issues and real trouble sleeping.
For any of you who've experienced it, not sleeping is hell.
Previously, I always related to anxiety and nerves and stress as just part of life, part of the job. I’d soldier on and get over it.
And then it got a bit too much and I started fearing I wouldn’t be able to cope.
Around March, I finally chose to recognise that I have an anxiety disorder. By giving it a name it became something that I could deal with. I developed a relationship with my disorder (my kids call it 'Fred' and ask me whether he came to visit last night... sad but true, and quite healing).
I’ve always been anxious, but this was a new level and it was becoming debilitating, and of course, just at the moment my business was really taking off! So, I set out to grapple with this disorder of mine and the best way to assess my success is to check in with .... you guessed it... how I FEEL.
Now I stop and check-in with my feelings a lot. They're not always where I think they are at! 

I invite you to stop and just check-in. How Do you Feel? Right now, and then after that? What's under the first feeling, what's really going on in the inside of you.

I find it's a bit like an onion. The first layer of feelings can be excited and getting stuff done, but go down a few levels and I can sometimes discern real anxiety and stress.

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Managing Fred

Like any project, you need a team to be successful.
So I went to find myself a team to help me learn to manage Fred.
I started by reading books and then I went to a bunch of professionals for help. I'm seeing a counsellor (who interestingly also deals with anxiety, which is great because she’s mentoring me). I'm seeing a naturopath who is guiding me on dietary changes. I'm taking supplements including magnesium for muscle relaxation, turmeric for my well-being, natural Valium and an amino acid called GABA to help me sleep. I'm seeing a spiritual healer and he's helped me manage more esoteric components of my anxiety.
I used to do yoga all the time now I don't get to do much yoga, so instead I stretch. Sometimes for two minutes, several times a day. I walk out the door a lot. I look at the sunshine. I relax.
I've given up alcohol for July (except one glass of champagne to christen the new Chicken Coop I'm so proud of this Saturday 😊).

I take every opportunity to look at what I need to feel great.

I've also taken charge of my schedule in a new way. I ask people to move appointments so that I have the time to hang out in my garden before meetings. It's embarrassing sometimes but it's suddenly more important to me than it was before.
Matt Church, my old mentor, used to say, state is more important than script. You need to make time and put in structures to be your best self. It doesn't just happen. And it has never been so important, is now.

The good part is: it’s a positive feedback loop

I don’t know how much of my recent success is linked to these changes, but they have certainly come hand-in hand. I would venture to guess that a lot of the positive things that have happened in my life the last few months are linked to this new focus on how I am feeling, to a real commitment to feeling good.
It does take real focus and intention. It also costs money, but not only am I enjoying my life more but my family are enjoying ME more… and that’s priceless.

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