Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are You a Leader Addicted to Adrenaline? Think About This.

Daily life needs rhythm, periods of activity followed by periods of renewal and rest where adrenaline levels can return to normal. Our minds and bodies need a healthy lifestyle to support sustainable effectiveness but you might actually like the perpetual adrenaline high from hurry and work and end up paying a heavy price for it. You might even be addicted to it.

Don’t get me wrong. Hard work is not bad. Stressful work isn’t bad either if it is met with the right approach. But addiction to it isn’t good.

Facing the daily stress of responsibility pumps adrenaline to get the body up for action, and adrenaline is a drug. It gets us off and going and responding to the challenges of the day.  But experts tell us too much of it on a sustained basis can be harmful.

Some leaders and professionals can be every much as addicted as any other addict.

God has rhythm. He created a pattern. It’s good to observe His patterns because they were designed for our benefit. His pattern is six and one, six and one. In six days, He created. On the seventh He rested. 

You and I need to have rhythm as well. And that consists of periods of activity and intensity followed by periods of renewal and rest. Intensity, rest, intensity, rest. Don’t get so focused on the numbers 6 and 1 that you miss the principle of rest.

If you are a busy leader or executive, I don't pretend finding that time for renewal will be easy at first. You have some ingrained habits that may be hard to shake. I know. I did too. But you know, like I do, that time out is a key component in preventing burnout.

It is in rest and renewal that we find time to once again enjoy the company of others, do non-workday activities, reflect on our situation, laugh and talk with trusted friends and gain the council of those who care about us.
It is in those times of rest and renewal that we see work situations with a more distanced objectiveness. We gain new perspective on demanding people and intractable attitudes. We discern organizational culture that does more harm than good.

In short, while we rest we actually step back from stressful situations and people and see them for what they are. It is then that we have a much better frame of reference to make decisions about how we will handle those situations in ways that contribute to well-being and vitality at home, in the day to day demands of work and in the provision of leadership.

Adrenaline follows its natural cycle and we benefit. In turn, those we lead gain because of our increased ability to make good decisions, role model healthy self-care and respect and lead the organization along new and better paths in more insightful ways.

Don’t you owe it to yourself, your family and your organization?   

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