Stop. Breathe. Appreciate.

Leading a company is tough work. You’re where the buck stops. You make the big (often tough) decisions. You mentally take your business home with you at night and wake up with it in the morning. You’re a perpetual problem solver, motivator, disciplinarian, mentor, policy maker, cash-flow manager, innovator, friend, strategist and more. Yup, you’re a leader, and you probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of the seldom-discussed issues of leadership is how the “business of leadership” can consume your thoughts, emotions and energy. You know what I’m referring to – it’s that feeling of being hard-wired into your business. It’s that need to keep pressing forward – to find those keys that unlock doors to new opportunities. I’m not trying to stress you out here. I’m just describing what all leaders internalize.

As leaders, we need to learn how to manage and cope with the pressure and stress or otherwise drift into burnout. We need to recharge our batteries by intentionally stepping out of the leadership pressure cooker. I’m not talking about taking vacations or long weekends; I’m talking about a few minutes of deep thought that lifts you above the turbulence that surrounds you every day.

Consider these three simple strategies to recharge your leadership batteries:

  1. Stop: I mean stop everything. Close your office door and put your phone on “do not disturb.” How about getting out of your business and going to a park or someplace where you can take in nature? I live near the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound where there are some spectacular places to just sit and take in the water views. It’s even better when I’m out riding my bike through such scenic places. The point here is to stop being “the leader” for a few minutes and be “you” – to decompress. Remember, you are not your business. Your business is simply something you created. This separation is necessary to achieve balance.
  2. Breathe: Take in a few deep breaths. This forces you to concentrate on your breathing rather than the thoughts swirling around that brain of yours. If you followed step one and really “stopped,” deep breathing will relax you and prepare you for step three.
  3. Appreciate: I mean really appreciate. “Appreciate what?” you ask. How about appreciating your business, your employees, your customers and all those who support and make your company what it is? No business is pure perfection, so appreciate its rough edges and imperfections. Guess what? By taking time to appreciate all of the good that exists in your business, chances are you’ll find a few of those keys to unlocking new opportunities you’ve been seeking. How about just appreciating life? Life is a pretty amazing thing.

I’m an entrepreneur. I get frustrated at my business too. And every time I stop, breathe and appreciate, I feel better and see things more clearly. I discover solutions and opportunities that I just couldn’t see when I’m up to my eyeballs in my own leadership pressure cooker. Give these three simple strategies a shot and you’ll see what I mean. I did this morning. That’s why I wrote this for you.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


1 Response to “Stop. Breathe. Appreciate.”

  1. March 14, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Dear Neil,

    Thank you for your good thoughts, as always. Taking a few minutes off, resting our mind is so important. I want to share with you a website that I like very much: Donothingfortwominutes.com.
    Gisela Brinker-Gabler

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