THE LAW OF REVERSE EFFORT (Relaxation)
One of the most important leadership skills may surprise you, but this skill is the key to unlocking all the other important leadership skills like: planning, problem-solving, and decision-making.
This skill makes you a better innovator, communicator, and motivator. And it's the path to becoming more mindful, empathetic and grateful.
So what is this skill? It's “relaxation”.
Relaxation is the key to facing uncertainty, managing stress and avoiding burnout.
If you can't relax, you're going to think emotionally, act impulsively and sabotage yourself. But it's hard, because there's this misguided notion that relaxation is a “nice-to-have” and not a “have-to-have”. It's viewed as a luxury of success, and not one of the keys to success.
But consider this...
There's a psychological principle called “the law of reverse effort”, which says that sometimes, less is more. And that's because some things can't be fixed with more effort. In fact, there are times when more effort actually becomes counterproductive!
This principle gives you all the permission and scientific proof you need to view relaxation as an important part of your leadership toolbox.
It doesn't discount the value of hard work. In fact, it assumes hard work to be your natural response to challenging times.
But the harder you work, the more important it is to relax. Because if you don't take a step back, distance yourself, and reflect on the situation, you're going to miss things.
Remember, a relaxed mind is more powerful and infinitely more productive, than a mind that's stressed, emotional and impulsive.
Relaxation is needed the most when you're in the heat-of-battle. It calms your nerves, opens your mind and heightens your senses.
Hard work and relaxation are opposing forces. They're the yin and the yang of leadership and life.
The British philosopher Alan Watts said that “muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” And he's right!
Here's another way to think about it. Race car drivers maintain control at maximum speed by easing off the gas and tapping their brakes as they head into turns; then they accelerate their way out of the turn.
Business is full of twists and turns, too. And if you're always running at full throttle, you're going to crash. So relax, especially in the heat of battle, and especially when your throttle has been running full out.