Fuel and Nutrition for Leadership

Two weeks ago, Ashton wrote on values, reminding us to ground ourselves in what we hold most dear. Then, Dan spoke to the importance of allowing space to rest and recover, especially as many of us – including parents with children at home full time – continue to try to juggle more than we can sustain. This week, I encourage you to look at the next key ingredient to leading with your best self: your fuel and nutrition.

What gives you energy?

When we walk into the grocery store, we have an array of options. Everything (edible) there offers calories. Some items for sale also offer excellent vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, good proteins. Other items are mostly just… calories. We can consume any of it to stay alive, or we can experiment to discover the combination of foods that fuel us for clear thinking, optimal energy, and long term well-being. Successful experimentation yields great physical rewards.

Similarly, this season of another surge in COVID cases, election news cycles, and earlier and earlier sunsets can tempt us towards all kinds of coping mechanisms – or towards truly energizing experiences. Gain awareness of, or perhaps recall, what truly gives you energy in life.

I’ve heard many great answers from clients lately when I’ve asked them about their life equivalent of superfoods: refreshing walks, meaningful conversation with a dear friend, watching a master chef excel at their craft (yes, some TV shows can be truly inspiring), listening to a thought-provoking podcast, or a little banter and healthy competition.

Jot down a list of what sparks your curiosity and leaves you feeling invigorated on the other side. Start your morning that way if you can. Prioritize it throughout the day to maintain your energy and presence. (Consider it a thoughtful way to repurpose the time that you previously spent walking to lunch or moving in between meeting rooms!) Then, note what feeds into negativity or lethargy – what drains your energy – and reduce or eliminate it if you can. Choosing your fuel and nutrition wisely will allow you to tap back into your creativity and perhaps even engage in diffuse problem solving to return to life with a fresh perspective.

Successful experimentation can yield great relational, emotional, and professional rewards. Embrace the fuel and nutrition that offers the energy you need to lead with your best self.

  • One of the most important things in your writing today is the energy we get from making choices on behalf of our self. At a time when many people feel like the world is closing in on them, we still have choices.

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