11 Disciplines that Deliver Energy to Your Team

I completely agree with Bill Hybels.

The best thing you can bring to your team as a leader is your energy.

This is true not just for your team, but for your family for your friends…for life.

Great leaders seems to have a reservoir of emotional, spiritual and relational energy that’s contagious.

And yet, if you’re like me, you struggle with your energy level on a regular basis.

I think everyone does. I’m not sure there are exceptions.

So how do you become one of those leaders who has energy on more days than you don’t?

A few simple disciplines can turn the situation around for you quickly…starting today.

To really bring your best every day, try these 11 things:

1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night

Most of us need far more sleep than we’re getting. You will be tempted to sleep less because you have so much to do. Do the opposite. Get to bed on time, and you will wake up refreshed.

Something that would have taken you 3 hours to do in a dazed state might only take you an hour when you’re fully alert. You’ve actually saved time by sleeping more.

Not convinced? Michael Hyatt even makes an incredible case for the utility of naps in leadership here.

2. Exercise regularly

Yep. I fought this for years too. But not anymore.

The summer, I’m doing an average of 5-6 hours a week cycling. I realize that’s just over half a work day…cycling.

But it makes me a better thinker, and the ideas I generate on those rides are often far better than the ideas I generate watching a blinking cursor behind a screen. Since a big part of my job is generating content and thinking, I find exercise directly makes me a better leader.

Plus I’m down 30 pounds from 6 years ago. That alone makes me attack life with more vigour.

3. Eat better

I resisted this for years too, but I’ve made big changes in my diet.

For me and for many others, what I eat has a direct impact on my energy level.

I recently cut added sugar out of my diet and experienced a direct energy boost. No more sugar crashes. I’ve also cut out grains and other high glycemic carbs. (If you want to know what regimen I followed, it’s the Whole 30 plan.)

4. Start your day with God

Your first hour or two matters so much. I start my day with the Bible and prayer…and cultivate a closeness with God that is with me throughout the day.

When I miss it, I feel it.

I realize the night hawks will struggle with this, but to me starting a day with Christ anchors it in Christ. So personally, this is a real help.

5. Have some fun

Fun is work for me. It is for many leaders. But you need to pull yourself away from the keyboard or office and enjoy life.

Have a picnic. Hang out with great friends. Do something active. Cycling is fun for me, so is taking pictures, going for hikes, travel and being around family and other fun people.

You need to figure out what’s fun for you.

6. Develop a hobby

This is a close cousin of fun. Many people who lack energy lack a hobby. You need something to turn your attention away from work so you can go back to work refreshed.

I write this blog as a hobby and cycle.

7. Spend time with people who energize you

Be honest, some people energize you and some people drain you. The challenge with leadership (and especially ministry) is that you can end up around a lot of people whose needs leave you drained at the end of the day.

It’s a good idea to make even a short list of people who energize you and then make sure you get around them regularly, whether that’s for coffee, breakfast, or even a phone call.

Only spending time with people or issues that drain you leaves you feeling drained.

8. Schedule white space

I realize I write about creating white space a lot. White space is simply space on your calendar with nothing but time to think and work on your ministry, not in it.

But I write about it because so few leaders set aside time to think.

When I have white space, I can run back into the every day of leadership again with renewed energy and passion.

9. Confess your sins

Bet you didn’t expect to see this on the list. But it should be.

Often I can get upset with other people which interferes with my ability to relate to them. Often, I discover I was part of the problem (surprise). If I confess my sins regularly, I am more able to step into the day with a fresh, generous and open perspective.

Surprisingly, the bible makes a direct link between unconfessed sin and a lack of physical energy.

10. Do your most important work first

One of the reasons you get agitated later in the day is because people knock on your door needing something, and all you can think of is “but I have to get X project done”.

Well what if you did X project first thing in the morning?

If you get the most important tasks for the day done first, then the interruptions that come later will feel less like burdens and more like opportunities.

11. Take a quick break

Get up and walk around. Go for a quick ride at lunch. Go for a walk. Grab a coffee.

I find that when I have a day of meetings, breaks like this (even if they’re only 90 seconds or 5 minutes) allow me to tackle what’s next with renewed energy.

I’m still learning about how to bring my best energy, but I do know this: when these 11 things are present in my life, I bring much better energy to whatever I’m doing.

>>Here’s a challenge. Why not implement three changes starting today, and see if you notice a change within 48 hours. Maybe it’s just going to bed earlier, or ditching the soft drink, or getting out for a walk or getting up earlier to have some time with God.

But watch what happens to your energy as a result.

Go ahead. Pick three and try them out.

In the meantime, some of you have ideas too.

How about you?  What fuels your energy?

Read more from Carey here.

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Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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