“We need to stop thinking of recharging as a reward we get for working hard and burning out.”- Ariana Huffington
While I could not agree more, I would add that identifying the issue is only the first step. Recharging isn’t a reward but a requirement for high performance in order for us to thrive. It isn’t enough to know this, we have to change our thoughts and actions.
It may be tempting, but do not try to boil the ocean. Before you swoop in and start making radical changes all over the place, pause and get some perspective.
I use a tool called the Peace Index to evaluate health levels and find opportunities for replenishment and growth. The Peace index looks at 5 life domains: Purpose, Place, Provision, Personal Health, and People. Scoring these areas lets us sort out issues from distracting noise.
If you think of the domains like spokes on a wheel, then finding your lowest score and acting there, on the flattest part of the wheel will give you the highest return on your effort and a smoother ride.
What this looks like in real life-
This summer I took stock and here is what I noticed. I was really out of balance. For me Place, Provision and Personal Health were all fairly good. Sure, there was room for improvement, but nothing terrible. Purpose was and is way off the charts- 100% which I could not be more thrilled about. But my People score was in the dumpster. Not surprising…I am an extravert that works from home with an empty nest. My 3 kids live hours and time zones away. Between Covid-19 and everything it shut down plus the fact that we moved away from friends during the pandemic, I probably see my husband and one other person in real life each day with a few more colleagues and clients in online meetings.
All of this added up to a huge deficit for me. I knew the score was lower than most, but when I put a number to it, I was shocked at how low it really was…. and how much it was pulling me down. Until I did the exercise, I had been focused on improving my Personal Health.
You can have only one top priority so, I decided that Personal Health should be maintained but losing the Covid-19 extra weight wasn’t my top priority and I created a plan to focus on People. Then I put it into action, because …
When you Plan the Work, and Work the Plan, the Plan will Work.
I gave up wishing I had new friends and community and decided to maximize my time with the people already in my life. I have a date-night with my husband every week now. I traveled to see my family. I scheduled Zoom happy hours with friends and family that I have not been able to see in person. Even though I still have a few items on my plan left to do, my score is much higher… The best part is I know it will stay high because I built habits around it. I didn’t just play catch-up and move on, I created a new normal that will keep me energized. Now, a few months later, I am going back to working on my Personal Health again because it is my lowest score.
Recharging is critical to staying at the top of our game. If we wait until we are crispy around the edges and far down the road to burnout, we will need extra replenishment to get us back on track. It is like rebuilding an engine because you chose to save time by skipping oil changes. Don’t wait too long to replenish. It could take more energy than you have!