Resilience And Wellbeing For 2020 And Beyond With Andrew Deutscher
We have always gone through adversity, even before the whole COVID-19 pandemic started. Still, there is no better time than now to start thinking about developing practices that build resilience and promote wellbeing despite whatever life may throw at us. We need to start thinking of ways to practice self-care to show up better as role models and leaders in our business and personal lives. Katherine Twells delves into this timely topic with Andrew Deutscher, a worldwide keynote speaker, author, performance expert, and the Founder of Regenerate™. In the years he has spent working with top brands, Andrew has mastered the art of human development, focusing on enabling greater health and wellbeing, individual engagement, motivation, and team performance among his clients. We have faced the crisis of self-care long before this pandemic hit us. However, the current state of events has forced us in an unprecedented manner to really think about doing ourselves a favor and taking active steps to avoid burnout, create energy and build the strength to meet all the demands and obligations. Join in and take notes on how to use these practices to work and live better for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
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Resilience And Wellbeing For 2020 And Beyond With Andrew Deutscher
Developing Practices To Weather Any Storm
I’m excited to share this conversation with you because now more than ever before, we all need the tools to manage our energy levels and total wellbeing. There’s no question that 2020 has challenged us all and how we manage change and adversity. We all need to develop new perspectives on how we will work together to cocreate a better future. My guest on this show is Andrew Deutscher. Andrew is both a friend and someone I truly admire for his commitment to the space of human development. As a worldwide keynote speaker, author and performance expert, Andrew instills the most critical skills of self-awareness empathy, resilience and perseverance in the face of ever-increasing demand and stress. I can’t imagine a time where this is more appropriate than what we’re going through now.
Andrew is the Founder of Regenerate, a human capital consulting firm designed to inspire progress and implement best in class people development content and experiences to enable greater health and wellbeing, individual engagement, motivation and team performance. He’s also the author of Typecast, a book that captures the essence of story and purpose to overcome obstacles and achieve sustained excellence. Andrew’s increasing popularity as a speaker combined with his corporate and entrepreneurial background has attracted companies such as Apple, Intel, Coca-Cola, Accenture, Edelman, Genentech, GE, American Express, and many others.
Grounded in real-world business case studies, individual achievement, personal experience and a growing science of high performance, he’s helped thousands improve their overall health and wellbeing, deepen their relationships emotionally, cultivate absorbed and flexible focus, overcome obstacles and ultimately live lives with deeper meaning and purpose. Who doesn’t want that? As we’re all evolving through this, the ability to take a look at ourselves and how we manage our time and our energy and how we show up to each other are critical as we navigate the dynamics. Without any further ado, I hope you’ll truly enjoy and gain benefit from my conversation with Andrew Deutscher.
Andrew, it is so wonderful to have you on the show. I have wanted to have this conversation for a long time because you’ve known me for a while. You know that this is a passion point for me in the conversation we’re going to have about managing energy and self-care. I believe the conversation we’re going to have is going to be so helpful to our audience. What I’d like to do, even though I had the introduction to this show, is I want to ground everyone who you are and a little bit about your origin story before we dig into the conversation. With that, will you share with everyone a little bit about yourself?
I’ll start with a short story because of the nature of the topics that we’re going to talk about. It’s good to place people at a moment in time. I have two boys and I’m married to a great wife and partner. We live in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m not from Atlanta. I grew up in the Northeast. It was right after college, I graduated from Syracuse, where it struck me after about a year of working in Manhattan and about $18,000 a year and taking a bus back and forth from Queens that I was like, “Is this what adult life is like?” It was a bit of a rude awakening. I realized that the life and lifestyle that I wanted to have probably meant that I was from New York, but I wasn’t of it in that sense of that real achievement, go-getter and constantly be working and busy. I love New York. I love to go back there. I have family there, but that part of it didn’t feel authentic to me.
A good friend of mine, who also felt the same way decided, “Let’s move to Arizona.” It was an abrupt change, but the change we needed. In some way too, I was running away from a girl so that was helpful to me. That was cool. Over these four years, I was in Arizona, but I kept having this feeling deep down in a way to get back to New York. There was some aspect of, I need more in my life or more of my career. I felt I was retiring a little bit. There’s plenty to do in Arizona and you can make a life there. In fact, my good friend is still living out there, but I had this call. It was more around I realized my own need for having a success related to my identity. At that time, I was selling advertising for a TV station and met an incredible mentor, answered the call to action.
He had come into our TV station to sell us back then. It was Mad About You and Syndication. I was turned on by the whole business. I didn’t even realize it existed. I managed to stay in touch with him over time and then the opportunity to work for Sony for this big studio. They moved me to Atlanta. Many of those years were good. What I didn’t quite realize was I’m always chasing that corporate ladder and associated myself with, “I’m this big studio person,” but realizing the actual life of that was not glamorous. I was on the road 45 weeks a year, several years into it. It was difficult to sustain relationships and think about starting a family. When I was still in that environment, I was able to do that.
After I met Tara, we were married and then moved to New York. There I was full circle now back in this grinder. I remember back to how I started this conversation with you, but I was in Minneapolis. I woke up early in the morning to go for a run. I pulled open the blinds. It’s a cold winter day. I looked out and it’s still a little bit dark. I see the reflection and it occurred to me. It was like the message right to me from me, “I’m miserable.” I never put it in the way of depressed, but that’s probably what I would have said. I’m 35. I had my first son. I reached a lot of my goals. Why? It’s not supposed to feel that way.
I didn’t know what to do with that. I had been good about my exercise and stuff. I realized that was an important point to keep myself going through all that energy. It was a couple of years later that I had the opportunity to go through The Energy Project and see this from a totally different perspective. Right after that, I was laid off in 2009 when that whole new media surge swept over traditional media. I was a guy who was selling TV shows at a time when it was important. When you watched a show, it was at the time the show was on. We know how quickly that changed. That’s the origin story. That’s where I was. That was the turning point to live with greater energy, more meaning and more passion.
I appreciate you sharing all of that. There’s a lot of vulnerability in that story and there’s a lot of personal truth in that story. Richard Rohr talks a lot about the first half and the second half of life. Often in the first half of our lives, we’re building this identity. In many ways, we’re building identities that we think we are supposed to be not always defined by ourselves. Maybe defined by what culture says or our family said or whatever ideals we’re trying to live up to. Your moment, your reflection that said, “I’m miserable,” I often think about it as being out of alignment. You’re not in alignment with where you think you should be in your life. I have to imagine many people tuning into this conversation have had those moments. Some of them may be in those moments where they’re like, “I’m not where I need to be, but I don’t know maybe where that is.”
Crisis Of Self-Care
You were consistently following your intuitive guidance on when you needed to leave New York, but then maybe come back to New York. Much of our journey is this trial and error dynamic of where we find where do we belong? Where do we fit? It’s helpful. You found your way. You go through this crisis of identity, what you need and what you want. You find your way into this narrative about The Energy Project and what that means. I want to dig into that a little bit to give everyone reading some grounding on what that conversation is about. You’ve lived at first, and for many of us, I find it odd. There’s a crisis of self-care. We’re going to talk about the fact that we’re living through a pandemic. We’re living through a crisis in diversity and racial conversations. There’s an intensity that is off the charts. Even before 2020, we’ve had a crisis of self-care. Why do you think that is?
I appreciate what you said about the sense of people. We’ve all felt that feeling and sometimes it’s scary where you don’t know what to do with it. You know that something’s not right. That’s enough for now. That should be enough as a bit of a call to action to not then paint over that, gloss over that or bury it or push it down, but to sit into that. Here’s to your question, the crisis of self-care. We’re not taught. We’re not trained. Our culture doesn’t support the connectedness to that pain or anxiety. One of the biggest wake-up calls for me as I started to pay more attention to this and learn some of the strategies and what some other people were doing to navigate all of life’s challenges.
What is it we’re under the same stressors, challenges and expectations at even some of the largest organizations in the world or trying to grow a startup business? Some of those stressors are great and we’re supposed to expect to march right through it without paying much attention to our own needs. It’s not talked about that much. The speed and that hyper-connectedness, the fact that the promise of technology, this was the wakeup call for me. The promise of technology was that you would be more productive and that you would have work-life balance. Do you remember that?Live with greater energy, more meaning, and more passion. Click To Tweet
I remember that and how wrong that was. It added complexity to our dynamic.
When you think about it, the narrative made sense, didn’t it? You have this thing where you can get away from the office. You’ll be able to do it more quickly because it’s nearby. You’ll be able to have more time with your family. You’d be able to take a vacation. All those things were off like this BS is this greatest myth because it was inserted into our world. Tony Schwartz used to talk about this a lot at The Energy Project. It was inserted into a world of more and bigger and faster. As long as we continue that whole mantra, all we’re going to be doing is whatever we do is trying to fit into that. How do I respond more quickly? How do I get more done? How do I be seen back to the identity thing for my value?
That’s what we’re fighting for all the time. It’s like to be seen and to be valued. As fast as things are moving, especially now in this environment where you’re not connecting with people in person, the more you’re on email or the more you’re on video, that’s your way to do that now. It’s amping up that whole climate that you said so well existed even before. Now the flame has been lit under it. Now we’re more confined and constricted. It’s this weird sensation. We’re like atoms bouncing off the walls because we can’t even let it out through different experiences of transition and movement that we had before. The crisis is well put because we have 1 in 6 people that’s on some anti-anxiety or anti-depression drug. If you look at, even with Gallup, two-thirds of workers at some point say they are burned out. A quarter of which feel burned out more often than they don’t feel burned out. It’s something we need to pay attention to. We’re talking about the right things around that because it is a crisis.
Being in the middle of this global pandemic, even though it’s happened before in history, for all of us in this lifetime, we’ve never experienced something like this. The conversations I’ve had have been rawer, more personal, more real with people. What’s interesting is before COVID, people were always going through adversity. The stats that you mentioned that Tony quotes on workers that are burned out and frustrated, that’s always been there, but it’s been maybe personal adversity that you might not bring into the workplace depending on who your team is. Now we’ve been at a place where it’s collective. We are all experiencing collective adversity. It’s given us permission.
There are always silver linings. It’s given us permission to talk about what’s going on in the collective adversity. I’m hearing this with people. Everything from people, not feeling comfortable, even with the open space. I know when I listened to your TED Talk, you’ve talked about being versus doing. Part of this in establishing our identities is if I do all these things, if I show you my value, my identity, my worth, that somehow gives me this external validation versus the space, the place to be able to be, and get in touch with that intuitive compass that you referenced in your origin story. Talk to me a little bit about how you see that dynamic and maybe how this time gives us an opportunity to explore that inner space and readjust our compass on where we want to go when life returns to that quicker pace again.
For me, I have to tell you, I was never a be-er. There was no time for that. It was do and be a doer. Even to this day, everyone says, “Meditate.” It’s a great practice. It’s proven. All the benefits from it. I struggle with it. I’ve tried different types of meditation. I found some that work better than others. For me, I’m better if it’s guided versus I have to sit there and think. I feel like many times when we try to access that more being state. We hear it’s good for us or we think that we will benefit from it. We may try a couple of things. It doesn’t work for us or it’s, “I don’t get this,” but other people seem to. You get frustrated by it.
What I found for me to get in better touch with myself is sometimes it’s even through exercise. Sometimes it’s through how I’m listening to people. Most often, it is a regular practice where I try to introduce some aspect, even if it’s a small change in my life, of how I’m moving and exercising, of paying attention to how I could get better quality sleep, of how I’m tuning into others. To your question, in a specific point about what this whole environment has done, that has been a complete silver lining. If you think about not taking advantage of this opportunity to deepen personal connections and your loved ones, that to me seems like a missed opportunity.
The opportunity for self-care, we can’t say it’s not there. Not many people at least from what I’m hearing and the people that I talk to are working in some cases even longer hours. The anxiety and stress make it hard for them to find the motivation for the exercise. In fact, the things that we’re giving up or we’re pushing out because either we don’t have time for, or they seem like a big lift, all those things are what we get energy from. It’s like part of it initially is willing yourself into that practice and then trying different things. Overall, being is a tough state. Not to punish yourself with when you try to quiet yourself and reflect, but to know when the difference between when you’re agenda oriented and driven versus when you can let someone else lead the meeting or what can you let go of to delegate or how can you be more receptive? Those are the things that in everyday life outside of a meditation practice help me be more intuitive.
The contemplation, if you’re going through your life, head down, flying down the road, having that awareness, we’re going to talk about how this applies to leadership specifically. To not be able to be the awareness behind that doing, you lose out in your ability to evolve. Your practices and yourself, and to think about the impact that you’re having on others throughout this journey. We met years ago when I got exposed to The Energy Project and you know a little bit about my story. I had some crisis when I was in my twenties that required me to also regroup as you did in your reflection to think about how I was approaching my life and how I was managing my own self-care. What I found interesting as I learned about The Energy Project work and started facilitating it or talking to other people about it is when you talk to highly ambitious doers, the best intentions, suddenly they want to fix everything and do every ritual.
Renewing The Energy To Thrive
I’m like, “I’m going to sleep eight hours and I’m going to do this.” Trying to conquer the world in self-care, and there’s such an irony, let’s take it one step at a time. I always loved the concept of Kaizen, which is that Japanese concept of you make small incremental changes that over time start to amplify into real change. The Energy Project is a full day of understanding, learning and reflection. There’s a lot of offshoots of that. We certainly can’t accomplish a full grounding in this conversation, but can you provide some headlines? If you’re tuning in and you’ve never known about this, what are the energy centers? What are some of the things that we talk about with The Energy Project that we need to pay attention to?
Let’s talk about a couple of key principles and then we could even flow that out to what does that look like practically speaking. One of the most powerful principles and what I have found to be so helpful for many, even the most senior leaders down to factory floor is the understanding that there’s more than one resource that you have to assist you and to help you navigate your life. The Energy Project does this beautiful job of getting in the back door in a way that looks at your work and your work performance. What it’s doing is helping you live a better quality of life. That’s absolutely in your facilitation. What motivates it? That’s the real purpose. If people have a higher quality of life, they’re going to be better workers.
That value proposition is pretty clear. It doesn’t come with this very specific ROI. We know it when we have it. We know when we don’t. The two resources primarily are time and that’s the one we’re mostly using. When we have to get more done, I’ll stay up later. I’ll push this thing out. I will hunker down and do what it takes. Whatever your strategy is, it’s rolling up to your borrowing time. It might be a sacrifice with your family, your own sleep, your exercise. When you realize that, unfortunately with demand so high in our lives and the fact that it tends to naturally continue to go higher, if we’re not focused on that piece of ourselves, which again comes more internally, which is your energy, how could you expect to rise to meet that demand?
You can’t spend more hours. That’s finite and that’s limited. You can look to an alternative resource when not only you need to get more done, but to be more sustainable. That has great power because unlike the time, that’s outside of you. Energy is inside of you and thereby it’s renewable. We can expand that capacity. We all know if we’re talking about this in practical terms when things are working for you. When you’re putting together days where it feels like I’m in a groove. I have momentum. I’m getting things done and it feels great. Other times where it doesn’t matter what you do. You want to think about, how do I gather my footing again and get back on track? Sometimes I think we expect while we’re falling, tripping and we’re in those vicious cycles that we’re supposed to turn that into a full speed run rather than maybe you should fall there for a second.A life well lived is partly the work that you do and partly the enjoyment that you get from rest. Click To Tweet
Slow down, find your footing, start to walk again, regain your momentum. That power of renewal is that concept of if we’re going to spend a lot of energy, which we know we are as achievers and performers, then is it fair to say you’re going to need to renew that energy? If you know what energy is made of in the human system, those dimensions that you were talking about, your physical energy and emotional energy, how you’re able to cultivate emotions that you need, the mental energy to sustain focus, attention and concentration, that spiritual energy to do all that in the service of something that matters to you, that gets you out of bed feeling excited about. Those are some of the core principles. We can talk about how that comes to life for people more practically speaking, but that’s the main idea that energy over time.
The other thing that resonated strongly with me when I was first exposed to the work was this whole idea of our rhythms. The fact that we fight against our rhythms and we think, “I’m going to power through it. I’m made differently than everyone else. I can be superhuman here.” We’ve all either experienced that ourselves or know people who have been powering through to a point where maybe something else forces you to stop. It might be your health or relationship breakdown, something breaks down that says, “You can’t operate this way.” If we look at nature, nature is such a teacher for us. In nature, there is a time for everything. There are all sorts of sayings around that. Even the rhythms, the way we breathe and the waves of the ocean, everything pulses. Everything has its way of being. I thought one of the most powerful practices that I took away from that was this 90-minute timeframe. Can you talk a little bit about the rhythms of that and how that affects our day when we take those little breaks, even if they’re brief?
We know sometimes if we’re feeling fatigued or maybe a little bit more irritable than we often feel like we do or, “Why am I reacting that way?” Sometimes it’s as simple as you’re out of that 24-hour cycle that governs all of those behaviors and processes that you’re talking about. It’s that circadian rhythm. There’s another rhythm, a subset of that, that’s called the ultradian rhythm that suggests that human beings do work best in periods of 90 minutes of time. When we would start anything, ideally, it’s after a healthy breakfast. If you didn’t get a lot of sleep and you don’t eat a healthy breakfast, you’re going to start at a lower level. That’s going to be depleted quicker.
Let’s say you’ve got everything going for you. You come into it poised, refreshed and renewed. Even with that, you have 90 minutes and this is assuming that you are focused and spending energy on a given task. You’re not doing all kinds of multitasking. Think about that. That’s a long time to stay single-minded and focused on a given task. How much could you get done if you weren’t interrupted? This is where the human capacity is a marvel to me. With that, we can get so much more done in so much less time than we even think is possible. Our capacity is 90 minutes there. For most of us, we would need to work up to that. It’s not going to be available to you if you’ve trained your body and your mind, otherwise. That’s the full container. That’s what we can work up to.
At which point, we need to renew or at least change the channel. To sustain that intensity and level of energy are almost imagining if you were sprinting. You’re going to need to stop and then do it again. The subset of the 90-minute rhythm is to think about how you can organize your day into those parts, where you have clear starting points and stopping points so that you can spend energy and then refuel energy. Here’s the main thing, not to wait or try to work past 90 minutes or go to the 2 hours to trip yourself up into a place where now you’re going to be working against diminishing returns.
To stop when you’re in a place where maybe you were flagging a little bit, but you’re not sitting down too long. You’re not like, “I’ll do this last email or I’ll make that one more phone call,” because you know either mistake is going to be made. The quality is not going to be as good. Your attention’s not going to be there. We want to be superhuman, but we need to remember we are just human. If we’re going to get to that superhuman, then at least let’s give what the human body needs to make whatever highest capacity is possible for us.
This got out of hand in the early days of the pandemic. We would be sharing about how is everyone doing and adapting to shelter in place. All your day is on Zoom meetings and computer. At least before, you had some natural changing of the channels. You might get in the car, go to lunch with someone, you’re moving around. All of a sudden, people are sitting down if this is the type of work that you do, you’re camped in front of a computer. I would have conversations to build like, “Next thing I know, I’ve been sitting here all day. I haven’t moved. I haven’t properly gotten a snack or taken a moment to do something else.” That adjustment was huge. We talked about technology.
The whole ADD conversation has been around for a long time. Regardless of whether you are diagnosed as an ADD individual, I don’t even remember where I heard this saying like, “Weapons of mass distraction,” with technology. Certain notifications on some things can’t be turned off. There are certain things within our system that you get these notifications. Even in your 90 minutes, something is calming up, distracting you and fragmenting how you’re thinking. We talk a lot in The Energy Project about multitasking is a total myth. We think we can do all these things at one time. My twins are very similar in age to yours. We’ll watch a movie. They’re on the iPad or their phone, always two screens. I’m like, “Are you watching this?” Maybe they’re like, “We’re watching it.” I started to think that maybe their brains are adapting to multitasking. I started digging into the research. What I’ve learned is you can’t short circuit that. They’re not, but I wonder about that next generation if they think they can do all these things at one time and they can’t.
From the research that I came across, and we were looking deeply into this because it would come up a lot in our sessions, is it would probably take 100 generations, even with all of that intentional effort of multitasking and doing all that, to rewire a brain over the course of the time it took for us to get here in that nature. We’re not overriding that anytime soon for better and for worse.
I’m going to talk about leadership, but one other question as we think about work-life and there’s that term work-life balance. Whether it’s pre-COVID or now as we’re learning how to work in different ways, I’ve never believed that balance was the right term. It would assume everything was maybe equal in order to be balanced. You’ve used the term compatibility, like work-life compatibility or harmony. How do you think about the whole self and the whole life as you balance all the domains that we need to take care of as humans?
As you point out, there’s a lot of conversation in different terms and phrases that people use. There are a lot of different perspectives on this. I’ve heard a lot of different things. I get it. We want to try to create a life that works. At least for the workers and for the workplace, we want to create a workplace that works in the context of a life that works. One of the things I’ve come around to with the whole work-life balance notion to your point is it means that one is getting something while the other is not. It’s a direct trade-off either way. This is one of those opportunities to listen down deep to your gut. If you’re looking to solve for that, what it means primarily is you’re probably not satisfied in one of those areas in a way where the two are amplifiers for each other. Compatibility is great because that would suggest seamlessness.
There’s a whole other level there. I’m trying to remember the name of the author, but the book is called Rest. He talked about how work and life are two sides of the same coin. I’ll say even a little bit different as he said it. It was like, “Work and rest are two sides of the same coin.” In all of the ancient traditions and our ancestors long ago, they recognize the value that the whole piece of a life well-lived is partly the work that you do. It’s also the enjoyment that you get from rest. The two in many ways are integrated. The examples are even from great philosophers and painters. Even in the non-creative realm, those pursuits where your work and your life are so inextricable and working so well together. You feel like you have that meaning and you have that purpose.
While work becomes enjoyable and that’s amazing, a lot of the over workers that I consult with or talk to are like, “No, I love my work. It’s all good. I don’t take care of those other energy dimensions, but I’m so passionate about what we do.” I love that. Not everybody has that. Everybody deserves that, but it’s not sustainable. It’s simply not going to get you the results that you want on willingness and passion alone. Where’s it going to be the capacity to carry that out over a long period of time? I think about the work-life piece as whatever you want to call it. It gets confusing, but work and life should be working together to amplify not to be a tradeoff.Create a life that works. Click To Tweet
Andrew, we are meaning-making machines. We decide what things mean. I love your concept of amplification. What I’ve loved with the change in 2020 and working at home is you see people’s whole self, their humanity, their children walking into the room to show a piece of art that they drew or their puppies on their lap or a spouse comes into view. That used to be like, “If I’m working at home, I can’t let anyone know that I have a personal life.” I want us to take that post-COVID into like, “We all have all these things going on.” Whether it’s partners, children, pets, or whatever’s happening in our lives, that this is our whole selves. We create stories about a lot of things. We create stories about what it means to work hard. Whether we’re proving ourselves, going back to that identity, that sense of worthiness, as we’re establishing our value in the workplace. Even semantically, the term workforce is a different way to think about working versus the purpose.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a job, that is aligned with your gifts. To be able to feel like, “I’m doing something for the greater good. I’m doing something that’s on purpose,” what a great gift that is. Often our stories define work as drudgery. “I must be exhausted because I’m going to work this hard.” This is a story that we can more easily create for ourselves is a wonderful opportunity to give and utilize our gifts in this domain and come back in and return to your point of amplification, all of that positive energy that we’ve created right back into our relationships in our family. I know whether it’s meditation or taking an afternoon run.
After I do those things, I feel such a huge difference in the energy and the presence that I’m bringing into whatever I do next. When you do that enough, you start to internalize the value of these rituals that we create. We all fall down because I’ve had the day for planning, back-to-back all day not thinking thoroughly enough about, and you feel the difference in that. There’s such compassion in this narrative to say it’s a practice. You don’t say, “I get this now. Now I’m going to live this way.” You practice it by continuing to live into what you’re learning and how to manage this in a powerful way.
Not to feel guilty, that’s where a lot of people fall down. It’s like it didn’t work and then they feel guilty. They’re like, “I’m back to that whole same square one thing again.” They beat themselves up over it rather than the power of recommitting to what you described so well. It’s a practice. There’s a reason they call it that. The recommitting is where the inspiration is. Not that you are going to get it and it’s going to be locked down. It’s not a straight line up. It doesn’t work that way.
Leadership In Crisis
I wish we could get it and it would be locked in, but that’s not the way we work at all. We would for sure. Let’s talk a little bit about leadership. Some of our audience are in direct leadership roles and others, I would call it’s about personal leadership. It’s leading your life, but as I’ve thought about my own leadership role during COVID and how do I show up for people. Why is this even more critical if you’re setting the tone for other people and leading other people? Why does this idea of self-care and modeling become even more critical for that?
I don’t know that I have the complete answer other than what it was even before, which is that whole significant influence factor and the under-appreciation that most leaders have about how their actions impact others in every way. We look to our leaders for many things, good, bad or indifferent. Call it what you want. If you’re a leader or on the other side of it, it’s the nature of when you work for someone. They hold a lot of important stakes for that person. Oftentimes, it’s because leaders are so saddled. It used to be that leaders had the job of leading, which meant we’re going to motivate, to influence.
We’re going to focus on what needs to be done. We’re going to get out of the way and you’re going to do it. Not many leaders operate that way. Not necessarily through their own fault or that they haven’t either learned that or the work that they’re doing. In many companies, they have their own tremendous workloads on top of trying to lead others and grow other people. We saw this ridiculous sad statistic. Two-thirds of leaders felt like they barely had enough time for their own workloads, let alone what’s their primary job to lead. It’s important this piece of self-care as leaders start to think about that capacity building, that energy, that performance and that total health aspect is a leadership skill.
I believe that is a leadership skill. It’s something that companies aren’t saying, “We expect you to do this.” They’re supposed to show up with it. It’s more important now in some ways than ever. The technology is such that people are back to back. Their eyes are being drained on the screen most of the day. That screen time makes it hard to settle in and fall asleep at night. It means less time even outdoors when you’re doing that. It means more sitting, which is as dangerous as smoking. We know that. Those areas for people’s health and for that, as you were talking about before, the nature of their relationships with others and for their own performance, it’s important that they’re going to be modeling this for themselves first. Through that, more explicit now than before, they can’t see them in between all this stuff. Talking about it proactively and what they’re doing like you did, what are you doing? It’s doing that for yourself.
It’s leadership, whether it’s in the business domain or you’re leading as a parent and modeling for your children about how to live their life. This is the skill, Andrew. It is a practice. The other thing that I’ve learned from my own leadership is to share that practice with your team or with your family, if it’s in the personal realm. I’ve talked about this in other episodes of this podcast. There is this dynamic of, “I’m the leader. I need to have everything together all the time.” There are some expectations. You’ve reached this role. You’re leading other people so you know what you’re doing. For everyone, it’s an evolution. What I’ve found too is to be able to share it by practice. This is a ritual I’ve tried and it’s helping or this is something that’s not working for me. You have open conversations.
I remember I was on a panel at a women’s conference in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. One of the questions was about work, life, compatibility and balance and all those things. I shared my favorite saying, which is the hot mess bad-ass continuum and that we all exist within those two states all the time. I was sharing with the audience the days where I was like it’s all working. The days where the Jenga tower crumbles down and you think, “I thought what I was doing, that it was bad.” I can tell you that I had many people come up to have sidebar conversations after that. What I heard them say is, “I always thought that if you’re on stage or you’re doing a talk or leading, that you figured it out already.” I haven’t. We have to go, “No one has figured it out. It doesn’t matter who you are.” For our audience, no matter how cool they look on the outside, nobody has it figured out.
You know this for yourself when you went into those things. Nothing is ever as it seems from the outside looking in and we all have our stuff. Another thing that you’re talking about there for leaders is important. It’s to try to be as real you can about that where those struggles are. I won’t name the organization, but one of their biggest challenges was the succession of the level of talent development when the mid-level was looking at the senior level. They were like, “I’m not interested in that. I see what that is and I’m not willing to go there.” They’re going to see it in the way that even without having as much physical interaction, they’re going to hear it in your voice. They’re going to feel you and experience that. For organizations that want to have people that are feeling inspired and pulled to doing great work, being aware of the environment that you’re setting up for them to see what their future holds. That’s devastating and costly that you could be developing people and they get to a point. They reach this plateau and they see a little further up and they’re like, “No, thanks,” or “I’m going to go to this other company and do that.”
It’s true in many of these things. I mentioned the stories or the constructs we build about in order to do this or lead at this level, you have to give up your health and wellbeing. What we’ve learned during this pandemic is there are different ways to work. This time will forever change the way we work as we start to go back into offices and still integrate the video technologies and the home office. We’re on the threshold of an entirely new way of thinking about blending our work and our life. It’s exciting that maybe we can use these tools in a way that liberates us and frees us as long as we have that discipline and practice to set the boundaries that are needed. The blending is a beautiful thing going back to when you said that initial story around technology. That is a gift. The boundary setting is what keeps that from overflowing in all of the wrong areas, but don’t you think we’re right at the threshold of a new way of being?
It’s well put, Kathy. Without us putting in that boundary, because of the new ways of working, technology is not going away. We need technology now more than ever. What’s keeping this market afloat right now is technology stocks. It’s not going away. Understand and appreciate it for its value and for where it could burn you. You’re right though, in terms of the new way we think about back to this concept of renewal, the efficiency with which you renew becomes important. Even if it’s what herbs or relaxing things you could put into your tea in your morning, maybe a little lemon and turmeric, or you don’t have coffee every morning or you try something different or a little GABA at the end of the day.We all have the opportunity to connect to that dream to who we want to be and what we want to do in the world. Click To Tweet
I’m not coming down on coffee. I’m totally a believer in coffee too. I’m a regular drinker of coffee until it builds up for me and I need to take a little bit of time off. Even things like a cold shower in the middle of your day to re-energize your body, a ten-minute workout. If you can’t work out for a half-hour, that’s fine. I would challenge anyone to go for ten straight minutes of getting their cardio up. If that’s not enough time for you, let me know. I’ll put a video on you and let’s give that a shot. Those are some of the things that we’re trying to be creative with my clients. Even for me to think about myself of what are some things that I can think about in 5, 10 minutes? What are easy things that I could make to keep my brain with a new recipe or something that’s simple but can also feel me that way? If you were a French press person, meditating over pouring the water over. There are all these opportunities where you don’t feel like you have to step outside your day to renew in that efficient manner.
To be able to change our constructs around efficiency and whether it’s taking a moment to be super present while you’re doing French press coffee, how does slowing down enhance our efficiencies? We’re suddenly more present and mindful of what we’re doing and how we’re showing up, or even how we’re writing an email. Once you start practicing these things, you realize that the space between is as important as the actions. That action upon action is not quality, but the space gives us quality. Would you agree with that?
I’d agree. It’s a great way to hammer that home.
I do have one final question, but before I get to that question, you are a coach and a guide in the space. Not only have you lived it, but you continue to refine your knowledge and your practice. If people want to get ahold of you as a guide, what’s the best way to? Is it a website to get a hold of you?
I would say email. From there, a conversation is where I bring people into the fold. It’s Andrew.Deutscher@Regenerate.works.
From knowing you for many years, both in this narrative, talking about this and personally, how you have navigated your life, pivoted and the twists and the turns, you are definitely a valuable guide forward for all of us as we talk about this. One last thing as we close out our conversation, and this isn’t necessarily on the topic of energy and renewal, but as you think about your journey and all the experiences you’ve had, what’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learned as you think about sharing wisdom with people on this show? What have you learned that’s wise?
More in the life sense overall. You were describing before the second half of moving from real stress and more survival to regather my footing and putting myself on a path to change is something we mentioned before, which is about that aspect of recommitting. I feel like one of the things that pain me in many of the things that come up or conversations or you hear from people is the nature of giving in, giving up, giving out. It’s a hard world we live in many ways. One of the most valuable things for me has been about understanding that I’m capable of more. I deserve to be doing things that excite me that also give back. I feel like it doesn’t matter how old you are. We all still have the opportunity to connect to that dream, to connect to who we want to be and what we want to do in the world.
I’ve had the missteps that I’ve recommitted every time. I don’t expect that life is going to stop throwing some things at me. I’ve learned to build the capacity to withstand that, build the resolve and keep going as positively as I can. This too, not to be dragged down by the masses or by that negative spiraling information. Do your own research on information that’s going to be important for you. As we’ve seen lately, brought into the melee and information isn’t always right, valuable, or good for you or has the right meaning for you. You have to be the one to still all that.
As I think about what you shared and what it brings up for me, it’s this recommitting. It means we’ve already talked about the first half of life. The second half of life is coming into a place of trusting in the process and trusting in the journey. Because it’s a practice, every day we get to be in the experience. In that experience with compassion for ourselves, that we’re all evolving and we’re all figuring it out together. If there’s a lesson from the year 2020, if hindsight truly is 2020, we’ll all take such valuable growth from this challenging time that we’ve all been through and continue to navigate and will through the coming months. It’s going to make us better. I hope for all of us in this collective conversation that we will recommit to a better way of self-care, taking care of each other and evolving to a place where our stories are empowering, regenerating and positive for all of us. There’s lots of optimism about that happening.
I feel it as you say it and you’re doing great work. You’re carrying that forward. I appreciate the nature of this show and how you bring that to people’s lives, how delightful and your energy. I’m always moved by what you do and how you do it and what you create, the time and space for the things that matter to you.
Thank you for saying that, Andrew. I appreciate your friendship and your guidance throughout all of this. Thank you for the conversation and for all the wisdom you shared with our audience. I appreciate it and to be continued for sure.
Thanks. I loved it.
About Andrew Deutscher
As a worldwide keynote speaker, author, and performance expert, Andrew instills today’s most critical skills of self-awareness, empathy, resilience, absorbed focus, and perseverance in the face of ever- increasing demand and stress. The emerging science of high performance proves definitive links to today’s most engaged, profitable, and progressive companies.
Andrew is the Founder of Regenerate™, a human capital consulting firm designed to inspire progress and implement best-in-class people development content and experiences to enable greater health and wellbeing, individual engagement, motivation, and team performance. He also is the author of ‘typecast,’a book that captures the essence of story and purpose to overcome obstacles and achieve sustained excellence.
His increasing popularity as a speaker combined with his corporate and entrepreneurial background have attracted companies such as Apple, Intel, Coca Cola, Accenture, Edelman, Genentech, GE, Lego Systems, DPR Construction, American Express and many others to his speeches and trainings.
Grounded in real-world business case studies, individual achievement, personal experience, and a growing science of high performance, Andrew has helped thousands improve their overall health and wellbeing, deepen relationships emotionally, cultivate absorbed and flexible focus, overcome obstacles and ultimately, live lives with deeper meaning and purpose.
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