written by Erica Quam
We're taking a closer look at your daily habits in the following 3 areas:
- SELF CARE
Being a coach, means being a leader.
Being a leader means being seen. When you are out there in front of your group, you open yourself up to criticism, opinions, and feedback - both positive and negative.
What do you take in and what do you take on?
At one end of the spectrum is the highly-cynical coach - who doesn't allow anyone's opinion to penetrate their armor. They may even launch a counter-attack to shut down any future threats.
At the other end is the overly-sensitive coach - who takes every little comment to heart...they take it home to think about it and analyze it. They'll talk it over at length with anyone who will listen.
Like many of life's continuums, the ends are no place to live.
When you armor up to protect yourself from the negative stuff, you also take away your ability to learn from and connect with others.
When you take on all of the negative stuff, you give away your power to others and end up in a state of total collapse.
Look for that middle ground where you're open enough to hear what the critics say yet detached enough not to buy the whole story. When you're in this space you can make a more clear decision of what to take in and what to take on.
How to find this middle ground?
To get there...you have to first be aware of how your energy ebbs and flows.
1 - Pay attention to your energy. Observe yourself:
- What or who fills you up?
- What or who distracts you?
- What or who are your triggers?
- What or who do you avoid?
Awareness is the key. I've seen some dramatic shifts happen in coaches who have simply taken the time to observe enough to become more aware.
2 - Accept that you have feelings
Having feelings and caring about what you do doesn't make you weak or wimpy. It doesn't mean you need to fix yourself. It also doesn't mean you can be a drama queen and collapse on anyone who will listen. Here are some other things to try:
- Set up your schedule in a way that honors this more sensitive side of you.
- Be strategic about how you arrange your days, weeks, and months.
- Create some extra space for yourself during times of high stress.
- Don't go it alone! Hire a coach or find a mentor who you can talk to and who will listen while holding you accountable to your goals and intentions.
3 - Establish good habits, rituals, and routines
With everything coming at coaches today it's important to find the things that will ground you - and bring you back to center. Here's a list of things I recommend to the coaches I work with:
- pranayama (control of the breath)
- working out
- spending time in nature
- 8+ hours of sleep
I've worked with coaches who view some things on this list as selfish or outlandish. They see them as luxuries to save for when they're on vacation or during the "slower time" of the year.
Shift the way you look at these things. See them as part of a structured routine that you consistently practice to be the best leader you can be.
4 - What you eat and drink impacts your energy
Certain foods will help you stay focused and get things done. Other foods will keep you on edge, send you climbing the walls, or crash you right on your ass.
Sugar, alcohol, and processed foods that include MSG, HFCS and other excitotoxins can be debilitating if you have a sensitive system.
I'm not trying to deprive you, tell you what to do, or turn you into a health nut. I'm just saying to start to pay attention. Different things impact people in very different ways.
Notice how what you put into your body effects you - the next hour, later in the day, or even the next day. Then, you get to decide if the side effects are worth it and how much is too much.
This one may take awhile. Over time, you'll know what foods to toss down the toilet.
What becomes possible for you as a leader when you practice this kind of self care?
When faced with a confusing situation, a challenge or a threat, you may find you are able to stay present - instead going into fight, flight, or collapse.
At my coaching summits, we start each day getting grounded: close your eyes, feel your feet on the ground, be aware of your body, and breathe. Practice getting centered so that you know the feeling that you want to come back to when you get off course.
Which one of these four things would make the biggest difference for you and why? Share in the comments below.
Erica Quam is the Founder of the Coaching Experience, where she teaches athletic coaches how to think more strategically about coaching, how to balance the demands of their career, and how to create a life that they enjoy.