I had the privilege of returning to West Point this week to serve as a senior advisor with the Thayer Leader Development Group. Every time I return to my alma mater, I’m struck by the living embodiment of Duty, Honor, and Country that West Point represents to me. What better place to learn about leadership?
Over the course of 5 days working with 60 executives in that amazing setting, one of the key challenges that emerged in our discussions and problem solving exercises was the sheer energy required to deploy all the leadership tools we were learning – and still keep the other balls in the air as we go about our lives…
During one of our conversations, the question arose,“How do world class leaders do it?” And then someone else asked, “Don’t you have to sacrifice balance in your life to become a great leader?”
It was clear to me at that point that these questions highlighted a real misconception about the whole idea of balance. I certainly didn’t have much balance early in my career, but I have since learned that balance is directly related to energy.
How do you go about finding the “leadership balance?”
First, you have to identify your core values. What’s important to you? As a person? As a family member? As a leader? Find a quiet place and spend 15 minutes and write them down.
Next, think about where your sources of energy come from. As you probably know, there are 4 components of your energy:
Physical (eating right, moving around, getting some sleep)
Mental (reading, learning, spending a few minutes each day reflecting)
Emotional (communicating with people you love and care about)
Spiritual (spending time in prayer, meditation, and thought)
But this process of generating energy has to become habitual. You can’t do it for a week and declare victory…you have to commit to generating and sustaining your energy. You must focus on the sources every day. What do you do to fuel your energy, in every component?
When you spend your time focused on doing the tasks which support your values, and you generate and sustain your four levels of energy, magic happens. Your life comes into balance. Others see it, your team reflects your behaviors, and good people want to be with and follow your lead.
In the West Point leadership model I revisited this week, I renewed my understanding of the values of Duty, Honor, and Country. Duty is what we do. Honor is how we do it. Country is why we do it.
What are your values? What habits do you follow to nurture your energy? How do you establish balance in your life, and among those you love, respect, interact with, and lead?
You can develop these tools to achieve real balance, and the Level Five Associates Team can help.