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Recharge batteries

Management

Coaching Corner: the five batteries to keep charged to be at your best

Published 8 November 2021 in Management ‚ÄĘ 6 min read

How understanding what energizes you can help you build up daily habits to sustain yourself when faced with changing contexts and rising uncertainty.

 

‚ÄúHow can I¬†consistently¬†be at my best and¬†give my best when the definition of¬†our ‚Äėnew normal‚Äô¬†seems to be¬†constantly¬†changing?‚Ä̬†¬†

As an executive coach, this is a question I keep hearing from my clients.¬†We are used to¬†demanding a lot of ourselves.¬†That‚Äôs¬†normal when the way you got to where you are¬†took¬†ambition, discipline,¬†and dedication, and it‚Äôs critical when your role¬†involves being responsible for¬†others. Yet, the pandemic¬†we‚Äôre living¬†through has challenged so many of the practices that got us to where we are, and¬†from Zoom fatigue¬†to¬†being ‚Äúalways on‚ÄĚ and¬†more, we‚Äôve all felt drained more often than we‚Äôd like to admit.¬†

¬†In its 2021 Work¬†Trend Index, almost 40% of respondents described themselves as outright exhausted.¬†According to Britain‚Äôs¬†Office for National Statistics, one in five¬†adults experienced¬†some kind of depression¬†in early 2021, up from around 10% pre-pandemic.¬†And on the other side of the Atlantic,¬†surveys¬†show¬†that the percentage of Americans reporting an anxiety or depressive disorder¬†has risen¬†to 41.5% from 36.4% between August 2020 and February 2021.¬†Over the course of our professional lives,¬†we‚Äôve learned how¬†to manage the day-to-day of our jobs and¬†to look after ourselves¬†‚Äď if perhaps not always as much as we wished we did.¬†But then¬†the pandemic came along,¬†disrupting¬†the rhythms¬†we¬†learned to work within and,¬†at the same time,¬†offering¬†an opportunity to stop and reflect.¬†From going fully remote to hybrid to trying to ‚Äúreturn to normal‚ÄĚ, we‚Äôve all done¬†what we can¬†to make the best of a situation that we cannot change.¬†

In some areas, we may have gained a new level of agency; in others, we’ve found ourselves continuing to struggle to find a balance that allows us to flourish.  

Maybe you’ve felt that despite the abundant stream of self-help tools, resilience tips and stress-reduction techniques that are available, you are still looking for how to integrate these various strategies in an effective and flexible routine. 

When you look at how to strengthen your resilience and wellbeing, I’ve found that what helps the most is being able to clearly focus on: 

  • Identifying what you need to be at your best¬†
  • Establishing what being ‚Äúat your best‚ÄĚ looks like¬†
  • Building strong daily habits that motivate and sustain you¬†

Over my 24 years as an executive coach, I‚Äôve helped¬†driven, passionate professionals to achieve and sustain their goals¬†by specifically improving how they¬†manage their energy.¬†The key, I‚Äôve found, lies in charging your¬†five ‚Äúbatteries‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†

Future of healthcare - Man sitting on wood deck in front of a lakeYour energy is like the battery in your phone: you want to keep it charged to use it when you need it.

Your five batteries 

Your energy is like the battery in your phone: you want to keep it charged to use it when you need it.  

¬†In the Professional Energy Management framework,¬†we like to break it down into¬†five ‚Äúbatteries‚Ä̬†that drive and sustain you¬†in tangible and practical¬†ways.¬†They are:¬†

  • Physical:¬†your health, stamina,¬†and vitality¬†
  • Mental:¬†your clarity, focus,¬†and intellectual agility¬†
  • Emotional:¬†your resilience, creativity,¬†and emotional self-regulation¬†
  • Spiritual:¬†your values, motivation,¬†and sense of purpose¬†
  • Social:¬†your¬†relationships,¬†surroundings,¬†and professional environment¬†

Each dimension is recharged or drained¬†by¬†10¬†specific¬†‚Äúindicators‚ÄĚ, such as¬†your¬†habits, your¬†perceptions,¬†your¬†lifestyle, and so on.¬†What‚Äôs important to remember is that each dimension is always¬†influencing the others,¬†which means that changing one has the power to both benefit us by reinforcing another, and that bigger issues in one area often boil over and affect others.¬†

When you start to break down energy into the five batteries, you begin to have a clearer, more granular sense of what‚Äôs affecting you and what you could tweak. If you are struggling in certain areas, you can begin to ask, ‚ÄúHow have my habits, perceptions or context changed? How are they currently helping or hindering me?¬†¬†What can I change? What do I need to accept for now?‚Ä̬†Consider these anecdotes¬†to help you¬†reflect further:¬†

  • Physical:¬†The ‚Äúconvenience‚ÄĚ of working from home¬†left Jakob feeling more sluggish. He never realised how much he relied on the rhythm of his daily commute to get him moving.¬†
  • Mental:¬†With the day beginning and ending with¬†her laptop‚Äôs blaring screen, Simona¬†feels drained by the monotone trawl of¬†attending meetings and sending emails¬†without a moment to really disconnect.¬†
  • Emotional:¬†Gustavo¬†loves his work and his¬†family but¬†being at home all the time has made it harder for him to appreciate¬†both of them,¬†and it‚Äôs made¬†him feel unhappy about the situation and with himself.¬†¬†
  • Spiritual:¬†Yasuhiro‚Äôs truest sense of fulfilment came¬†with seeing how his team‚Äôs projects affected communities. With everything remote,¬†his sense of purpose has waned as his contributions have felt more abstract¬†than ever.¬†
  • Social:¬†With rigid, regimented Zoom meetings the norm, Tamara lost the relaxed¬†moments between in-person meetings¬†that¬†allowed¬†her¬†to speak with members of her team in an organic way, leaving her feeling disconnected.¬†

When we feel stuck with our energy, we often start trying to figure out how we can get ‚Äúmore‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúbetter‚ÄĚ. Yet, the question I invite you to ask is, ‚ÄúHow¬†can you¬†optimize¬†how you use your energy each day?‚Ä̬†¬†

It takes building new habits, and it starts with understanding where you are right now. 

Whatever your situation may be, understanding how you are managing your energy is the first step to kick-starting new habits to help you consistently be at your best.
- Francesca Giulia Mereu

How optimally are you using your energy? 

Whatever your situation may be,¬†understanding¬†how¬†you are managing your energy is the first step to¬†kick-starting new habits¬†to help you consistently be at your best.¬†Through Personal Energy Management, we do this through¬†‚Äúmini-habits‚ÄĚ: small, beneficial practices that you can insert between existing habits¬†‚Äď like brushing your teeth, making coffee, or opening your computer ‚Äď to¬†start¬†the change that you want for yourself.¬†

To do that, I created an ‚ÄúEnergy Check‚ÄĚ to help you establish where you stand and where you can go from here¬†by showing¬†how you take care of your energy through fifty key indicators.¬†

Click here to take the Energy Check. After taking this anonymous, brief assessment, you will be able to download a self-debriefing report featuring questions, further information, and effective steps to get you on your way to creating new Mini-Habits aligned with where you want to feel change the most. 

How can you consistently be at your best when work and the world around is constantly changing? Understand what energises you and use that knowledge as a resilient foundation to prosper past this pandemic and beyond. 

Authors

Francesca Giulia Mereu coaching corner

Francesca Giulia Mereu

Executive coach

An executive coach with more than 20 years’ experience, Francesca Giulia Mereu is also author of the book Recharge Your Batteries. She regularly works with Frontline Humanitarian Negotiators (CCHN) and at IMD with senior leaders of global organizations.

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