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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 • 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.

 

“How can I consistently be at my best and give my best when the definition of our ‘new normal’ seems to be constantly changing?”  

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

 In its 2021 Work Trend Index, almost 40% of respondents described themselves as outright exhausted. According to Britain’s 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’ve learned how to manage the day-to-day of our jobs and to look after ourselves – 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 “return to normal”, we’ve 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 “at your best” looks like 
  • Building strong daily habits that motivate and sustain you 

Over my 24 years as an executive coach, I’ve helped driven, passionate professionals to achieve and sustain their goals by specifically improving how they manage their energy. The key, I’ve found, lies in charging your five “batteries”.  

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 “batteries” 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 “indicators”, such as your habits, your perceptions, your lifestyle, and so on. What’s 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’s affecting you and what you could tweak. If you are struggling in certain areas, you can begin to ask, “How 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?” Consider these anecdotes to help you reflect further: 

  • Physical: The “convenience” 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’s 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’s made him feel unhappy about the situation and with himself.  
  • Spiritual: Yasuhiro’s truest sense of fulfilment came with seeing how his team’s 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 “more” or “better”. Yet, the question I invite you to ask is, “How can you optimize how you use your energy each day?”  

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 mini-habits”: small, beneficial practices that you can insert between existing habits – like brushing your teeth, making coffee, or opening your computer – to start the change that you want for yourself. 

To do that, I created an “Energy Check” 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

She is an executive coach with more than 20 years of experience and author of the book, “Recharge Your Batteries”. She regularly works with Frontline Humanitarian Negotiators (CCHN) and at IMD with senior leaders of global organisations.  

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