Rest Smarter – Lead Smarter

Leadership Rest Beyond books and seminars and courses, the best road to becoming a better leader is self-reflection. As 2009 comes to a close, I’m looking back on my year to find the biggest leadership lesson I’ve learned.

The Answer? I need to rest smarter.

It’s been a full year at work and home. At work we soft-launched our new brand and debuted several new services. At home, the arrival of our daughter in June literally doubled the number of children in our home. Among the added responsibilities, more than once I felt like I was not enough.

Too often I filled the gap by cheating on my rest. I’m not saying the occasional late night or early morning isn’t warranted – or even necessary. It’s when lack of rest becomes the norm and not the exception that your efficiency and effectiveness as a leader begins to diminish significantly.

Bottom line: when I don’t rest well, I’m not the best leader I can be – at work or at home. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about resting:

1. Rest your body. Get the right amount of sleep: not too much, not too little. Maintain your schedule as much as possible: if you travel for short periods of time, stay up late or get up early to maintain your rhythms as much as possible. Keep exercising: you’ll sleep better!

2. Rest your mind. Rest isn’t just the absence of physical work – you must rest your mind as well. Quiet all your scheming and planning. Don’t check your email. Take a break from worrying and thinking. Build a reliable system to hold your thoughts and trust capable people to handle things while you are away. You’ll return mentally refreshed and ready to think!

3. Rest your heart. How you think and act as a leader are important, but – at its core – your leadership comes from your heart. Like your body and mind, your heart needs exercise and rest to remain healthy. How you rest your heart is unique to you. Some need time alone, others need time with friends or family, still others pour themselves into a hobby. However you do it, make time to rest and restore your heart. You’ll need it to lead well!

What have I missed – what tips do you have for resting smarter?

4 thoughts on “Rest Smarter – Lead Smarter”

  1. I don’t think you missed much on resting smarter here Geoff. My only minor addition is that we daily achiever/leader types often struggle with guilt over rest. I get restless while resting!!! “What can I do to move forward today? What else is on my list that i can get done? What if I fall behind while I’m resting?” I sadly need to know that my rest is earning me points in some way!

  2. I’m totally with you, Lee. It takes a lot of trust to believe that completely investing in your rest will pay dividends when you’re “on” again – but it will. To motivate myself to rest I like to remember that the choice to rest is what divides free people from slaves. That always gets me!

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