“I haven’t got time for breakfast,” snapped Jane as she grabbed her bag and ran out of the door. She threw her bag on the back seat, strapped herself in and sped off to her first appointment. It was a busy day ahead with back to back meetings. Most of them online. Before she knew it she was heading home in the car, feeling somewhat hungry and faint as the lack of breakfast was matched by just a coffee at lunchtime. She knew she lacked energy. She was interrupted from her thoughts with the ‘ping’ from the dashboard and the ominous orange fuel low light. Fortunately, it was near to her local garage and as she placed the petrol pump in the car, it dawned on her that she had been running on low in life as well as in fuel in the car. She led a significant department at work, helping them innovate and yet she struggled to think of the last time she replenished her own thinking. She loved podcasts and TEDtalks but she had let this slip for the radio in the car. She loved reading about leadership thinking but the dust was thick on the books on her bedside. She knew she couldn’t keep doing it this way.
Jane is not the only leader who runs on empty. Leading others is time consuming and before you know it, it seems we are so busy that it is hard to find time to inspire yourself. We need to be clear that the myth of, ‘I cannot afford to take time for inspiring myself. I just need to get on with it and keep going.’ It is a lie and a deception that leads to burnout. You cannot afford to not give time to inspire your thinking. You will become stale in your thinking. So, how do you do that?
Our series of blogs outlines that is is CRISP
C - Clarity of Purpose
R – Rest & Reflection
I – Input
S - Surround yourself
P – Practise what energises you
This week, explores how we ensure we have input. Simply put, it is ensuring that we develop our thinking. There are two things that you need to consider 1) What works well for me? 2) How can I work it into my weekly routine?
What works well for me?
There are so many ways that you can do it:
The key thing is finding the one that works for your way of thinking and helps you.
There is a raft of great thinking around leadership. Take some biographies eg Nelson Mandela, Alex Ferguson, Michelle Obama. There is also great leadership development books. We highly recommend Brene Brown, Patrick Lencioni, Matthew Syed. All of these are authors who explain leadership clearly. We can also recommend my new book coming out in July called, ‘Everyday People, Everyday Leaders’.
If you are not a great reader, then you can still gain from it by tapping into audio books.
TEDtalks are a great place to start. Talks by Simon Sinek, Brene Brown, are great places to start
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcasts come out each month and he has a great back catalogue of topics. Our Everyday Leader Podcast – Leadership Lounge, comes out each Friday of the month. Our June edition is on this topic of 'inspiring yourself as a leader' – so a great place to start.
This can be formal qualifications eg L&M in business or NPQ’s in education. But equally some training, seminars & lectures can help you. Everyday Leader offers a great range. https://www.everydayleader.co.uk/online-training We are helping Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce with a seminar on Problem Solving on 30th June. https://stowmarketchamber.co.uk/online-seminars/ Anyone can join us for that for the price of a cuppa!
This gives you time and space to reflect. A trained coach can help you understand what you want to improve, different ways of solving it and the best way forward. Everyday Leader can help you with that. https://www.everydayleader.co.uk/coaching https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=248419519781675
Which do you lean towards?
How can I work it into my weekly schedule?
This isn’t about what you have to add into your already busy schedule. It is about what am I going swap in?
Reading – can I swap some TV time or social media time?
Watching – can I swap some TV time?
Podcasts – can I listen to some on the drive to work or when walking the dog?
Training – can I allocate some work time to this? Is there some online material that I can work on instead of some TV time or social media time?
Coaching – can I give myself 2 hours every 6 weeks to meet with a coach? Can I swap it with something else in my diary that doesn’t bring me as much energy or replenishment? Can I allocate this in my work diary?
Remember, you cannot afford to run dry. Refuel yourself. Pick one of these and take one step to swap it into your weekly diary. You'll be inspired and inspiring!