Being a leader can be tough. You have to lead the team as well as attend to your own needs. Challenges and crises mount up and you are left bedraggled and burnt out. Most of the time, these trials are external to you. And your focus is on how to deal with them and get on top of them. But you also need to pay attention to what is happening inside your mind, in your personal space.

Power BoostersHere are some deceptively simple Jedi mind-games to get you back on that leadership horse and enjoying the success you deserve.

1. Use your strengths.

You were employed for your strengths, not your weaknesses.  Remind yourself about what you are good at. Don’t fret over the things you don’t do so well. You can’t be good at everything. Delegate tasks you are not good at to others. Let everyone know what your strengths are. Discuss your weaknesses with your supervisor, so you can manage situations together. Know what your strengths are and use them. All the time.

2. Take a new look.

You are confronted with a problem or a challenge. In your mind, you go through all the possible things that can go wrong. And you get dragged down into a pit of despondency. Look at the problem in new ways. Consider what can go right, rather than go wrong. How can this be turned around for a positive outcome? Look for the different points of view, the startling, different insight. More importantly, change the script that’s paying in your head.

3. Stay inside the circle.

You are regularly buffeted by negative conversations and situations. Draw an imaginary circle around yourself. Refuse to allow the negative stuff into your circle. If you find yourself lapsing into the negative, push the thoughts outside your circle. It helps you keep unconstructive thoughts at a distance and stops them from wearing you down. It keeps your energy up. It’s like your own bulletproof thought vest.

4. Breathe.

Try this next time you are in an anxious situation. Pay attention to your breathing. You’re likely to be breathing in short, shallow breaths. This is great if you want to run away from a tiger, but not so helpful in a long, tough negotiation meeting. Then try breathing deeply and slowly a few times. You will immediately feel back in control. Oxygenated blood will flow to your head, rather than your long muscles. You will be ready for the long haul.

5. Look powerful.

Image and body language are formidable tools for a leader. Watch yourself. Are you bouncing one leg nervously? Are you rubbing your head or fidgeting? All these actions portray awkwardness. Does your voice trail off nervously at the end of a sentence? If you are sitting, settle yourself deep in the chair. If you’re standing, plant both feet firmly on the ground. Keep your hands still, and your head up. Watch videos on body language and practice.

Pay attention to how you dress. You should not confuse dressing for power with vanity or foppery. Underdress and you will be perceived as inconsequential. Overdress and you will be regarded as superficial. Dress simply and elegantly, appropriate for the organisation and the event. It’s a good idea to see what other leaders in your organisation are wearing, and model on them.

6. Focus on feelings.

From time to time check in with yourself. What are your feelings? Put words to them. Once you name your feelings you start to develop a sense of objectivity. If your current feelings are different from the way you would like to feel, define those preferred emotions. Think of times when you experienced those positive emotions. Undertake to fill your mind with those sorts of emotions. A bit of deep breathing comes in helpful here too.

7. Keep a journal.

Journals are very powerful. Set aside a few moments every day to write down your thoughts. Capture positive feedback you have received. Write down your successes. Journaling helps improve your mood by helping you prioritise problems, fears, and concerns. You can track issues day-to-day so that you can recognise negative patterns and learn ways to better control them. A journal is an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviours. Come back to your journal from time to time and note how you have grown and matured.

8. Visualise what you want.

Athletes and sportspeople use the technique of visualisation all the time. It’s a way of taming that persisting, repetitive voice in your head. In your mind’s eye, see the negotiation or the interview progressing the way you want it to. See yourself as competent and in control. Get that feeling of success and achievement (those feelings again!). Label the positive emotions you want to experience. Take that visualisation with you into the meeting.

9. Relax.

Don’t wait for the weekend before you relax. Take mini relaxations throughout the day. Walks around the office. Go outside and sit under a tree for a moment. Sit back in your chair, close your eyes and empty your head. Breathe deeply. If you are in a meeting, get up and stretch your legs. No one says you must stay seated all the time. Besides, standing up is a good demonstration of your personal power.

10. Keep perspective.

Of course, you are facing some tough situations. And they do seem overwhelming. Take a moment to put your situation in context. There’re some big stuff happening in the world now. However bad your situation is, some folks are far worse off than you. Practice a little gratitude. Think of your situation as an opportunity for personal growth.

Good leaders are positive, empowering and inspiring. They can do that because they pay attention to their inner selves so that they can bring their A-game every day. When you are better on the inside, you are better on the outside. As you work towards developing and improving your leadership skills, pay attention to these simple techniques that will make you more resilient and stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.

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