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When career mojo is stuck in a snowdrift

Posted in Careers, Leadership, Mentor Minute

When career mojo is stuck in a snowdrift

Globe and Mail Careers Section, C2, Wednesday Feb 20, 2008

THE SCENARIO

Maybe its mid-winter lethargy or just a phase I’m going through, but I seem to have lost my mojo at work. What can I do to re-energize myself, to get the energy back into my career?

THE ADVICE

Ah yes, the mid-winter blahs. It happens to all of us sooner or later. The key to avoiding and getting over these slumps is energy renewal. Authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz wrote on this subject in their book The Power of Full Engagement. Its premise is that we must effectively manage our energy through intermittent recovery, to consistently perform at a high level in our work-obsessed world. There are four types of energy that need to be renewed. Physical energy Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? Are you exercising regularly? Are you drinking enough water (versus alcohol or caffeine)? Are you taking regu- lar breaks throughout the day to refuel and rest? Yes, this may all sound very basic, but it is critical to renewing physical energy and staying engaged in your work. To get started, simply focus on the idea that the body needs a break and healthy refuelling every 90 to 120 minutes. Do only this step, and you will see dramatic increases in your physical energy.a

Emotional energy

Our emotions can make or break our day. Focus on the emotions that make you feel positive and energized. Manage the emotions that cause stress, fear, guilt, depression and anger. How? Do more things that bring you joy and pleasure on a regular basis. Whether its singing, dancing, skiing, dinner out, reading or simply sitting quietly in front of a roaring fire, get committed to activities that create pleasure and positive emotions.

Make them immoveable from your weekly schedule to provide a steady source of emotional renewal.

Mental energy

Remember recess at school? Well, our minds need regular breaks, just as our bodies do. You have to shut it off: the e-mail, the voicemail, the decision-making, and the crazy timelines. Evenings, weekends, and holidays are critical times for regular renewal (and need to be e-mail-free zones). They need to be kept sacred. Our bodies and minds also need regular breaks. Force yourself to leave your desk often – walk a flight of stairs, go chat with your colleagues at the water cooler, walk around the block, juggle a few balls (literally) to get your mind off work and to give it a chance to renew.

Spiritual energy

This is not in the religious sense of the word. Think of it in the sense of what makes you tick. Are you living your values? Are you aligned with your purpose? Does your work have deep meaning for you? Are you doing what you are meant to be doing with your life? You can’t successfully renew your spiritual energy if your life and work do not align with what you deeply believe. The bottom line is that, in our overworked world, we must treat intermittent recovery as sacrosanct and learn to disengage strategically on a regular basis.

Katie Bennett is head of Double Black Diamond Coaching in Vancouver.

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