Workplace pundits from every walk of life are offering various tips and techniques for coping with the unknown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the best career move you can make right now is to adopt an “energy mindset.” This is an attitude of sustained commitment and level-headedness in the face of uncertainty.
Six months ago—which feels like six years ago—50 Fortune 500 executives and successful entrepreneurs were interviewed about what they thought it would take to succeed in 2020. Many of them said that with the increasing complexity and uncertainty of the world around us, “winning” in 2020 would require extraordinary speed and agility. All of them said that energy would be one of the most important factors required for success.
Since then, the pace of technology and business has accelerated significantly and is causing a higher level of pressure. The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in an exponential increase in complexity and uncertainty. The waves of change have been relentless and require tenacity, commitment, and the ability to paddle fast, stand up quickly, lean into the momentum, and enjoy the ride.
Having an energy mindset is the new mandate for achieving long-term career success.
So, where will you commit your energy?
People with an energy mindset are deeply connected to themselves, to others, and to the greater good. They also have an attitude that enables them to balance their energy to contribute to all three domains, despite external obstacles. Here are three ways to get there.
Practice self-awareness and commit to self-care
To practice the self-awareness and commitment to self-care required for an energy mindset, you must first have a clear view of what you value most. Take stock of what moves you. It may include things like beauty, honesty, justice, peace, generosity, family, community, creativity, challenge, or ingenuity.
But, what are your highest priorities? Once you are clear about what’s most important to you, you can anchor your actions and decisions in those values. You can be intentional about preserving your values and maintaining a personal sense of security and stability, regardless of what’s happening around you.
Second, you must have a true understanding of your superpowers and your Achilles heel. These are the attributes and skills that make you a hero and those that can be considered a weakness or vulnerability. With this realization, you can play to your strengths and work humbly to address your weaknesses, which will give you a sense of confidence and power, even in the most challenging times. To do this well, you need a 360-degree perspective that includes not only your own point of view but also candid and constructive feedback from others.
Finally, stay connected with your passions, the things you can get lost in for hours. Find the activities that feed your soul (you don’t have to be good at them, you just need to love doing them) and make time and space to accommodate them in your life. This will keep you fresh and focused.
Engage and inspire others
It takes energy to be mentally and emotionally present with your team members. Whether or not you are a team leader, you need to understand what your colleagues think and feel, so you can inspire them to be their best. Use your superpower to contribute to team morale, whether it is humor, compassion, intelligence, or another attribute altogether. Once you’ve achieved self-awareness, you will be able to recognize and harness your special powers.
Particularly now, in uncertain times, you’ll need to devote a significant portion of energy to lifting others up, listening, empathizing, and connecting with others.
Contribute to the greater good
Make sure you have a clear sense of your purpose and vision for what you’d like to contribute to the world. Your greater good might mean supporting a cause or supporting a community. It might mean supporting your family or it might mean helping to further the goals set out by your employer or industry. Only you can define what your that will be. But, once you do, you can create an action plan for putting your energy toward it.
Energy mindsets require regular re-calibration
While it’s important to devote energy to yourself, others, and the greater good, it’s also impossible to commit 100% of your energy to every domain, every day. There will be days, weeks, or maybe even years when one domain will take precedence over the others. The key is to have the self-awareness and commitment to check in periodically on your balance across these three domains, so you can evaluate and recalibrate throughout your career.
As we continue to navigate through these unchartered waters, it’s essential to keep an eye on the long term. How will you define career success in five, 10, or 15 years? Where will you commit your energy to continue moving forward?
Having an energy mindset can help you balance short-term action with long-term perspective, and drive results while creating the future. If you practice self-care, engage with others, and contribute to the greater good, you’ll have the vision, confidence, and presence required to shape a better tomorrow—starting today.
Christine Andrukonis is the founder and senior partner at Notion Consulting, a global change-leadership consultancy.