7 Practices to Manage Stress and Be a More Present Leader

7 Practices to Manage Stress and Be a More Present Leader

When my clients are feeling overwhelmed or are missing out on things that go well because they are only focusing on what’s next, those are the moments I encourage them to step back and refocus on the present.

As a leader, it’s essential to step out of the day-to-day business responsibilities and become centered to perform at your best – for yourself and your staff. This practice of being in a place of alignment or grounded frees the mind to relax and allows new ideas and possibilities to form.

“There’s a center of quietness within which has to be known and held. If you lose that center, you are in tension and begin to fall apart.” – Joseph Campbell

I have the good fortune to work with amazing international leaders who consistently provide high-quality products and services to their customers and clients. They have a true focus and care of creating and sustaining good relationships inside and outside of their companies. Because of these standards, they are very successful in the markets they serve. I also noticed that there are many similar practices they take in tending to themselves, which makes them more present in their professional and personal lives.

Here are seven similar practices I recommend incorporating throughout your week to become a more present leader:

1. End each workday with 15 minutes of reflection.

Here are some prompts to get started reflecting:

  • Identify what went well.
  • Were there specific ideas that sparked imagination?
  • What conversations lit you up?
  • List what you are most grateful for.
  • What were the activities that truly moved your goals forward?
  • Note what you want to focus on tomorrow that will make the biggest difference for you and others.

Click here to access my vision planner, which outlines a daily action plan to help you move personal and professional actions forward. It also includes specific commitment reminders and a close of day assessment.

2. One random act of kindness.

Find a way to make a difference for others in a quiet way that doesn’t draw attention. It may be as easy as picking up the trash on the floor, donating anonymously to an important charity that helps another employee, or sending great feedback to someone without signing your name.

3. Laugh every day.

The number one sign of intelligence is humor. The ability to laugh creates relaxation in your body, opens up the brain to new ideas, and increases endorphins in your chemistry. I notice that all my clients have a great sense of humor and love a good or practical joke.

4. Walk.

Whether it’s walking up steps in your home or office or around the block … just get up and walk at least 15 minutes a day. Research shows it literally “wakes your whole body up,” even your mind, may quicken reaction time, improve decision making, and boost creativity. Take a break to recenter, get clear, breathe, and gain a new perspective.

5. Turn off technology for a day.

If you find you are constantly on your phone, glancing at it, checking for “likes,” or responding immediately to texts, then your phone is not a tool for you. You are being run by the tool versus using the tool on your terms in the direction of your goals and dreams. Lots of activity does not equate to lots of results. Use technology to support those you love and your hopes. Take a day off, power down your technology, and see what appears.

6. Show yourself compassion every day.

There is a practice of remembering you are human, and mistakes are the genesis of creativity. If you make a mistake, forgive yourself, if you say the wrong thing, give yourself compassion and if you neglect to try something you want to do, give yourself a pep talk. Let your inner voice for yourself be as kind, supportive, and loving as it would be with an innocent child.

7. Listen.

Check-in with your heart to see what feels true and in alignment with your hopes and dreams. Take time to listen to the quiet voice within that is constantly providing you with insight and direction. Listen to it, trust it, and follow it.

What I have learned from my clients is that leadership is more than the ability to work with and through others to achieve a common dream. It is also about tending the heart of the leader. To me, authentic leadership is not only to be a dream builder but to also take care of the dreamer.

Continue to dream bold dreams and be you!