Over the past month, I have been fortunate to be a part of my company’s leadership development program. It is designed not just to teach ways to be a better leader, but more of a journey on self-discovery and clearing the way to be a better person. The process involves a 360 assessment, work within co-horts, and individual sessions with an executive coach. In one of the first exercises, we were asked to conduct an “energy audit” on where time is spent and what takes us away from the real work. With this eye-opening exercise, I realized my multi-tasking and ability to easily get distracted has been keeping me from diving deep into my work and developing the real trust in those I work with, to move forward.
The Energy Audit is a simple test. You click on statements that are true for you in four areas: Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual. Some questions are:
- I don’t work out enough (meaning cardio at least 3 times a week).
- I don’t have enough time with my family and loved ones, and when I’m with them, I’m not really with them.
- I have difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, and I am easily distracted during the day, especially by email.
- There are significant gaps between what I say is important to me in my life and how I actually allocate my time and energy.
There are four questions for each of the four areas. You add up the number of statements checked to get an overall score. Anything between 11-16 checks puts you in a “full-fledged energy management crisis.” If it were not for the Physical area, I would be in this crisis.
After a couple of sessions with my coach, I discovered it wasn’t the distractions or multi-tasking that held me back. What was truly holding me back is fear. Fear of failure. Fear of being “found out” as an impostor. Fear of letting others down.
In those times of fear, I’m easily distracted. I’ll pick up another task, take a walk, or go to the phone or internet. Maybe it’s a little Facebook or Instagram. Maybe there is a few minutes of Snapchat fun or some networking on LinkedIn. Or, most of the time, it’s Twitter.
So I did my own distraction analysis on where I would go spend that time. I primarily looked at social media because this is my main conduit to news and sports. I following my favorite teams, news outlets, and publications. After looking at this, I found that Twitter has been my main energy zapper. It is literally taking the most energy and power out of my phone. Yes, I looked at my battery usage and Twitter takes the prize.
In order for me to conquer my fears and avoid the distractions, I’m going to do a little experiment. As I previously discussed the Suffering Equation (suffering equals pain times resistance), I need to remove the resistance to the fear. One of the main source of “resistance” has been the distractions and Twitter. In this experiment, I’m going to deactivate my account for 30 days.
Admittedly, this will be tough. With March Madness just getting started, I’ll miss the news and interactions during this time. I’ll miss the Twitter chats with the SHRM crew and all of the great interactions between the HR tribe. But I won’t miss the negativity. I won’t miss the political commentary and one-sidedness that has become the social media landscape.
This is not some “digital detox” or a post from my soapbox about all the evils of social media. Twitter is just one distraction and I need to make sure it is not replaced by another distraction. The goal is to face the fear. Let the pain sit in and become comfortable with it. It’s a post about me identifying the resistance that is keeping me from showing up as my best self.
So here’s to 30 days away from Twitter. I’ll still be writing from time to time and sharing on other outlets. I’ll just be sparing my followers from posts on pancakes and how many miles I’ve run. That’s what Instagram is for!