Ep #36: Executive Ahead of Time Part 3: Dialing Up Your Energy
This is such a personal episode.
I am a person with a LOT of energy, but it didn’t happen by mistake.
I have made it a point to prioritize my energy. In fact, I’ve been working on building up my energy, naturally, pretty much my entire life.
So, why is this relevant for YOU?
Being able to protect and increase your energy is a non-negotiable skill for senior executive leaders.
To put it simply: you need the energy to do the job.
In fact, you might feel anxious about getting a promotion because you’re already feeling on the edge of burnout.
In this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I share practical strategies for avoiding burnout AND ramping up your energy so you can step into a senior executive leadership position (and LOVE IT).
This is part three of a three-part podcast series entitled: Executive Ahead of Time.
In this series, I help you develop the essential skills you’ll need to get (and keep) your next big promotion.
So…what does it mean to become the Executive Ahead of Time? It means more happiness and job satisfaction in your day to day life, AND it means landing that next promotion in a more timely fashion because you're ready for the job ahead of time.
Listen in and start doing the work NOW.
I'm offering a free Live webinar series on "4 Steps to Scale Yourself to the C-Suite (No Matter What)" If you want to develop the skills I teach you on my podcast so that you can finally get the recognition you deserve, sign up at stacymayer.com/csuite and learn how. There are limited spots, so don't hesitate to sign up.
What You'll Learn:
- My personal journey to increasing my energy at work
- Why owning your career choices will make you happier and more energized (and how to do it)
- How the 50/50 rule will help you determine the best step forward in your career
- The three things that are zapping your energy at work (and how to avoid them)
- AND the three things that can GIVE you energy at work
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer.
So excited to be here with you this evening as I'm recording this episode. And I hope that you have been enjoying this podcast series as much as I have. I really think this has been such an awesome way to dive deeper into the work that I do with the executives every single day to get them promoted into senior executive leadership positions. And that's by teaching them how to be an Executive Ahead of Time.
So if you haven't already, I highly suggest after listening to this episode, go back to episodes number 34 and 35, where I talk about two additional ways that you can start to become the Executive Ahead of Time.
And what does it mean to become the Executive Ahead of Time? It essentially leads to more happiness in your day to day life. It actually leads to more job satisfaction and it leads to a promotion in a more timely fashion because you'll already be doing the job ahead of time. So that is why it is so important to start doing this work now.
Now, in today's episode, I'm going to be talking to you about energy. And I am really, really excited about this because I am a person who has a lot of energy. I'm also a person that really prioritizes my energy. And I've been working on my energy pretty much my entire life. I definitely have a lot of energy, naturally, but this is something that I really believe very strongly in and really prioritize. And I haven't been able to talk to you guys so much about all the different things that I've been doing in my life, my entire life. And I think that it's all going to come together for you in this episode.
So to just start out, I want to give you my frame of reference. So as far as becoming an Executive Ahead of Time, and when I'm talking about having the energy to be able to do the job. So you get promoted, and one of the reasons why so many corporate managers that come to me are really hesitant about getting promoted is because they're in the weeds. They're in the weeds all the time already, and they feel like: 'how in the world could I get promoted? Because I'm already kind of feeling like I'm on the edge of burnout.'
And so, that is one of the reasons why it's so important to figure out ahead of time how you're going to get the energy to do what it is that you need to do.
So one of the viewpoints that I'm going to be giving to you today is this idea of passion. Really enjoying what you're doing, loving what you're doing, feeling like it's something that is super valuable to the organization, that your work actually matters, that putting in all of the extra hours that work actually matter at the end of the day.
Because I know you. I know that you're a hard worker. You're a driven individual. You have zero desire to phone it in, and all you want at the end of the day is to be recognized for that hard work and that effort that you are putting into your job already.
So for most of my life, I have been a passion seeker. I started out in high school. I went to a performing arts high school. I was an actress in high school. And I actually decided that that was what I was going to be for a living. And I always wanted to be an actress. I was an actress for over 20 years. I lived in Chicago. I did improv in Chicago. I moved to New York City. I started my own theater company. So this is something that I've been doing for a very long time, is trying to find something that I love to do.
And when I look back at that time in my life, or just really any time in my life when I actually had success, there was a disconnect. So what I thought would make me have a lot of energy was doing something that I loved. So I thought that I would have a lot of passion and desire simply because I was acting, right? So I was an actress and that would just make me happy. That would be something that I would enjoy.
But it wasn't always the case. I had my ups and downs. There were some days that I was miserable at the work that I was doing. And then there were some days that I really, really loved it. But the difference was, and this is what I'm teaching you here with this podcast, and this is really what I want you to take away. If you're somebody that is looking for the outside to solve your problems of having a purpose, feeling happy at work. The biggest difference for me in terms of happiness and energy was really owning my career choices. That was it. It didn't matter if I was being an actress. I was also a yoga teacher. I've also been a meditation instructor. I've also worked at a hedge fund. So did it matter what I was doing? It didn't even matter the people that I was around.
What mattered and what actually equaled happiness for me is when I was owning my career choices. When I actually felt that I was in the driver's seat. When I was actually making solid decisions. So even when I started my theater company, that was something that I really owned. It was a choice that I made that I no longer wanted to wait in the cattle call lines. I didn't want to wait for casting directors to accept me. I was actually going to take my acting career into my own hands. That is what you need to do if you want to find happiness.
So many of you are looking at leaving your company or getting a different position, and that will bring you happiness. But so often, all you need to do is look at what you're doing today and actually start owning those career choices.
So that is what I'm talking about, Being the Executive Ahead of Time, is how you can actually find that purpose and drive with what you're doing today. Not after you get promoted, but today. And when you go back and you listen to episodes number 34 and 35 talking about going out and getting that influence. Talk about going out and making the impact that you want to be making at your organization today. That is what is going to give you the energy to be able to succeed once you do get promoted into the C suite level. You will have passion, you will have drive regardless of what type of company that you're working for or what your external circumstances are.
Now, I want to go into a little bit of a misconception about my work. So I coach corporate managers to get promoted into senior executive leadership roles. And as I mentioned, many of those managers are often hesitant to get promoted or to go for a promotion because they're worried about burnout.
Another thing that often comes up for people like you is that title doesn't matter. In a lot of ways, that's true. Right? Title doesn't actually define you as a person and your ability as a leader, because we've all seen a lot of crappy leaders at the top. And you are not a crappy leader, so I understand why you might say that to yourself. So since today I'm in this episode, I'm getting totally personal. I'm going to talk to you about a little bit of an analogy of the type of people that I work with and my point of view when it comes to getting a promotion and actually going for a promotion.
So you may or may not have heard of the musical Hamilton. This was something that I thought everybody had heard of until it actually came out this summer on Disney Plus. And then I realized, oh, now Hamilton is actually widespread. Now, a lot more people have heard of it. I mean, in my world, because I'm surrounded by theater people and my Facebook feed is full of theater people, I just assumed that everybody knows about Hamilton.
So I'm going to give you an analogy from that musical to kind of paint a picture of my point of view of going for a promotion. So you probably have heard of if you haven't seen the musical, you've probably heard of Aaron Burr. So he's the villain in Hamilton. He's also the villain in the real world of the Hamilton saga. And he is the person who (spoiler alert) shoots Hamilton. And all throughout the musical, at least, he is talking about wanting to be in the room where it happens. He basically wants to get promoted. He wants to get promoted for all of the reasons that you don't want to get promoted. He wants the title. He wants the credibility. He wants to be validated. He wants this external validation for his work. He wants somebody else to recognize him. Yes. I want all of those things for you. I want you to have influence. I want you to have recognition.
But I know that your drive and your ambition for having success in your career is coming from a different place. It's coming from that place of truly wanting to be happy. Wanting to have the energy to do the work that you want to do. So the analogy continues. And you probably have heard of the Schuyler sisters. So Eliza Schuyler was actually married to Hamilton, and then her sister, Angelica Skylar. So I was thinking about her in this musical. And she is the type of person that I get promoted into senior executive leadership positions.
She is extremely talented, extremely hard working. But she doesn't look like the rest of the room. At the time of the Hamilton musical, it wasn't even possible for her to be in the room where it happens. The good news is today, no matter what your gender or your ethnicity, your color, no matter what your sexuality, no matter what, you have the opportunity to be in the room where it happens. It's just because of your own, really, honestly, it comes down to communication. And that is always what I'm teaching on this podcast. Is if you learn the communication skills necessary to get you into that senior executive leadership position, you will have an enormous amount of success.
And you also need the confidence to just say yes to it. You need the confidence to actually take the steps necessary to start owning your career, to start making choices about your career that actually matter. And that brings happiness. I know from personal experience.
I literally was going back through my life and over and over and over again, I was like, what actually made me happy? Was it my husband who I married? Yes, he makes me very happy, but actually the real happiness came from the fact that I chose him, I chose to marry him. The real happiness comes from really owning your choices.
Now, here's the other thing about getting a promotion and thinking: 'Well, a promotion, a title, is not going to make me happy.' It's true.
So another woman that I am a huge fan of, Brooke Castillo, she has an incredible podcast called The Life Coach School, and I'll link to it in the show notes. But she is actually an amazing teacher and she talks about how life is 50/50. And so here's the deal. A promotion itself, the title change will not make you happy. A promotion will not give you more energy. It will not help you love the work that you're doing. Because, and this is the only reason why, is because life is 50/50. Life is 50 percent good, and life is 50 percent bad.
So whenever we're going for something and we're thinking of that thing, that end result is actually going to create happiness. What it does, is it just changes our situation in life and we find ourselves continuing to be in the 50/50. Right. We continue to be somewhat happy and somewhat annoyed and somewhat frustrated and somewhat all of the negative emotions that there are. So a promotion itself doesn't give you happiness. It doesn't give you energy. But here's the deal. This is what is so fun about this work, is that: if life is 50/50, then you choose what you go for. You actually choose: 'Do I want to stay where I am and have a 50/50 life, or would I rather go for a promotion and have a 50/50 life? Would I rather make more money, would I rather have more influence at my organization, would I rather make a bigger impact as well at my organization? If life is going to be 50/50 no matter what, then you simply choose exactly where you want to be. Where you want to be on this scale. So that's my offer to you, is: let's become the Executive Ahead of Time.
We know that you're not in it in the promotion just for the title. We know that you're not somebody who's very ego driven and just wants the power and to just feel really important. And I want you to just own the fact that your work actually matters, that it matters to have you in an executive leadership position.
And now I'm going to share with you how you can start having that energy right away at your job today, how you can become the Executive Ahead of Time and start managing your energy, managing your happiness, finding purpose and joy in the work that you're doing today so that you can finally get the recognition that you deserve.
So these are three things that are going to be zapping your energy at work. I'm going to start breaking down like what takes away our energy and then what we can do to get more energy.
So the three things that are probably taking the most energy for you right now at work is people, the work itself, and confusion.
So people, obviously. So I want you to think about if you have any sort of annoying situation at work right now, think about how much time you are spending, thinking about that person or thinking about that situation or being frustrated or annoyed or even just like whatever it is you are spending so, so much energy. And it's one of the funny things. Whenever I work with clients, the first thing that we do is we get that stuff under control. And they just say how much energy they have. They didn't even realize the weight that was on their shoulders because of this person. So you have got to learn how to start to manage your emotions and stop worrying about the people around you and start actually affecting change at your organization.
The other thing that zapping your energy at work is your actual work. Like, you're spending a lot of time working and one of the challenges for a lot of leaders, especially very ambitious leaders that want to be having more influence, that want to think more strategically, that want to operate at that higher level, is that they're constantly thinking about how annoying it is to be in the weeds all the time. They know that they're not supposed to be so tactical. They know that they're supposed to be acting like more of a leader, but instead they just find their self putting out fires, reacting to problems all the time, and they can't find a way to get themselves out of the weeds. And that's exhausting. It's exhausting. So when you're in an individual contributor role, it's very manageable because you don't you don't have direct reports. You have no expectation of being a leader, of coming up with strategy. But once you start mixing the two and you start to move into leadership. So if you're already in a director or a vice president position and you find yourself constantly being in the weeds, nuh uh uh. This is zapping your energy. It is making you feel very frustrated. And it's not letting you be the executive that you're supposed to be in your role.
And the third thing that is sucking all your energy out is confusion. So many of the managers I work with are constantly like: 'but I don't know. But I don't know if this is going to work. But I don't know the answer. But I don't know.' And so I'm always reminding people: 'but what DO you know?' Let's focus on what you do know, I'm not telling them to make up something and say: 'oh, yeah, I know that answer. I'll get back to you or whatever.' No. But you do know something. And when you start thinking in that way, you realize you know a heck of a lot more than you think you know. And whenever you know something, you feel more confident, and when you feel more confident, you're able to take more action. So if you're one of those people that's constantly worried about making the wrong choices, about having everything together and staying in that confusion, it is zapping your energy. It's sucking your life force out. And you have to get it in check so that you can have the energy for when you do get promoted into those higher executive leadership positions. That is how you're going to know that you can actually succeed once you get to that level.
So here are the things, the three things that actually give you energy at work. That actually replenish your energy at work. What are they? Very similar to the three things that zap your energy.
Number one, people. People give you energy. The culture of your organization gives you energy.
Number two, meaningful work. Does my work actually matter to the organization's bottom line?
And three, purpose. Where am I headed? What am I doing with my life? What did I want to be when I grow up? Does my work actually matter? Do I care about what I'm doing?
So how can you start to get more of these things, get more energy out of each of these items so that you can become the Executive Ahead of Time right now.
The first thing that you're going to do is start to focus on who are those people who light you up? Who are those people who motivate you? Who are those people who inspire you to be a better version of yourself? If they're not at your job currently, that's OK. It doesn't mean you have to leave that job. It just means that you have to go out and find those people. This is why people belong to clubs, executive clubs, organizations. Right? Things like that. This is why people get mentors. This is why people have a coach so that they have somebody that they can rely on, somebody that challenges them, somebody that inspires them to be better, to work harder, to do something different, to think more innovative. So those are the type of people that you want to surround yourself with.
And the second half of this equation does focus back onto your job. It's more about the culture. So if you're asking yourself and you're feeling like your job just isn't a great fit, it might be because of the combination of all the people around you. And they're sucking your energy. And so how do you go out and you actually create that culture at your organisation? Well, you can look for different culture pockets. And I've seen this happen over and over again at larger organizations, or even mid-sized organizations, where there's different types of like subset cultures in the organization. Right. And so you're going to actively look for those best fits. You're going to interview your next leader. You're going to want to work for somebody who really inspires you to do better and who wants you to do more.
The second thing they're going to do to get more energy is you're going to find meaningful work. So first of all, you have to know where you're headed, like what type of work really drives you, what you're really great at, what your expertise says. A great way to access this is through assessments. And a lot of people say that assessments don't matter because I'm sure you've probably taken Myers Briggs or disk assessment or done some other form of personality assessment at work. And it just sort of fell flat. You just did it. And you're like, OK, yeah, that describes me, but it doesn't mean anything. All that means, the only reason that it fell flat, is because you didn't have guidance from an expert to guide you through the next steps. So one of the really cool things about being a certified instructor of these types of personality assessments, like I am, I actually take my clients and into the application phase of the assessments and how do we actually start applying this material to our lives. So don't knock the assessment. Just know that you haven't learned how to actually apply it yet. So that is how you're going to find out what is the meaningful work? What is the work that not only lights me up, gets me excited, but that I'm really qualified to do the work that I do really great. And I'm just like awesome at. And really go out and find those projects, find those opportunities at your organization or wherever, so that you can feel like you're doing that meaningful work.
And the third thing that you're going to do is you're going to understand your purpose, you're going to understand where you're headed in life. So you might be somebody that's right at that midlife point. I get a lot of clients coming to me in their late 30s, early 40s, and they're like: 'oh, my gosh. I still have 20+ years until retirement. What am I doing with my life?'.
And it's totally natural. It's totally normal. Because what did we do in our 20s? We had all these people around us telling us what to do. And then somehow we started working and then life happened. And then we just felt like we had to figure it all out ourselves. No, I want you to figure it out with other people. Put yourself in community of other people that can help support you to figure out what those next steps are for you. So you're going to have mentors, sponsors, a coach, a network of people, organizations that you belong to, your own personal board of directors that can really drive you and motivate you to get to that next level. And that's how you're going to understand what your purpose is.
Now, notice that none of these things that I talked about today had anything to do with where you worked or how much you liked your boss. It all has to do with you owning your career choices and owning the choices in your life to really take the steps necessary to become that Executive Ahead of Time, to make that impact that you want to be making at your organization. Never look back. Really understanding what motivates you and really owning that and saying, I am in control of my energy.
I am in control of what happens to me at work, and I will no longer be a victim. I'm going to go out, I'm going to get the resources and I'm going to make this happen. And you will, in fact, be happier at work.
Before we go, I want to point you to one more quick resource. So Tony Schwartz, an amazing author, he wrote the Energy Project, and he talks about executive leadership as a high performance athlete. He has an incredible body of work. I will link to it in the show notes. But I wanted to just read to you this paragraph from a New York Times article called Why You Hate Work.
"The way we're working isn't working. Even if you're lucky enough to have a job, you're probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning. You don't feel much appreciated while you're there. You find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished amid all the distractions. And you don't believe that what you're doing makes such a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you're pretty much running on empty and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep. Increasingly, this experience is common not just to middle managers, but also to top executives."
Don't let this happen to you. You can find a way to make a bigger impact at your organization. You can find a way to have influence at your organization. And you can find a way to have more energy to do what it is that you love and to show up every single day and do your best work. It's all about becoming the Executive Ahead of Time.
And if you do that, I guarantee you will be happier. You will enjoy your job more, and you will get promoted to that senior level executive position in half the time.
Thank you so much for listening and I look forward to seeing you next week.
About Your Host
Hi, I’m Stacy Mayer, a Leadership Coach for emerging executives who are ready to take their career to the next level or seeking more fulfillment in their current organizational roles.
I help corporate managers reposition themselves to advance their careers, build confidence in their ability to solve problems in real-time, and step into their higher leadership potential so they can make a bigger impact in their organizations.
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