How we manage our mental energy and how the mental economy is managed in companies and societies are often overlooked. As an executive coach, I have a question for you to reflect upon and some techniques that can boost you and your organisation. Join me for an experience designed to inspire and ignite through inspirational speeches and good food!

You are invited:

The Executive Boost Event hosted together by Top Chef, Henrik Jyrk and me.

Where: at Henrik Jyrk’s restaurant – Ibu on Vesterbrogade 56
When: October 8th at 16.00 – 17.30
RSVP: Purchase your Executive Boost Event tickets here. Bring a colleague or business partner. The event is in English.

The Executive Boost Event programme

  • 16.00 – Welcome
  • Clear or Hooked? Inspirational speech by Executive Coach, Josefine Campbell, on managing personal and professional energy
  • Food boost. How you can use food to boost energy and recharge your batteries by Top Chef Henrik Jyrk.
  • Serving energy-boosting food
  • Networking
  • 17.30 – End of programme. You are welcome to stay and can book a table for dinner.

In this video, Henrik and I share a bit about what we are planning for you.

You might know Henrik as the TV chef from Go’ Morgen Danmark or from his previous restaurant, KUL, that received a Michelin star. This event takes place at his present restaurant, Ibu that specialises in Asian fusion, located on Vesterbrogade 56 in Copenhagen.

IBU Copenhagen
Ibu Copenhagen

Also, I mentioned earlier that I had a question for you…

The question is, am I hooked or am I clear?

Am I hooked or am I clear? This is an intelligent question to ask oneself from time to time, especially when under pressure, lacking sleep or when your nutrition or diet is poor. Whenever you experience fatigue or stress, the more sophisticated parts of the brain become vulnerable and can get hijacked by the primitive, yet powerful reptilian brain. When the reptilian brain takes over it ignites the oversimplified responses of fight, flight or freeze. This can be disguised in emotions and thoughts that we automatically identify with.

The cost? Bad decisions, which can lead to bad results or bad relationships. The most powerful leaders and top athletes, it happens to us all. Sometimes we are too low on mental bandwidth or energy, and our brain gets hooked. Once it is hooked, that counter-productive internal dialogue can take over. How to counter this? You can read more on this topic from my article on agility.

“It doesn’t happen to me”, some might say. But, what about your people? And, what is the cost for you on that account?

Harvard Published author, Susan David writes,

Leaders stumble not because they have undesirable thoughts and feelings—that’s inevitable—but because they get hooked by them, like fish caught on a line. This happens in one of two ways. They buy into the thoughts, treating them like facts (It was the same in my last job…I’ve been a failure my whole career), and avoid situations that evoke them (I’m not going to take on that new challenge). Or, usually at the behest of their supporters, they challenge the existence of the thoughts and try to rationalize them away (I shouldn’t have thoughts like this…I know I’m not a total failure), and perhaps force themselves into similar situations, even when those go against their core values and goals (Take on that new assignment—you’ve got to get over this). In either case, they are paying too much attention to their internal chatter and allowing it to sap important cognitive resources that could be put to better use.

David, S. & Congleton, C. (2013) Managing Yourself – Emotional Agility. Harvard Business Review. Available from: https://hbr.org/2013/11/emotional-agility

Learn more at the Executive Boost Event. I hope to see you there.

Tickets can be purchased here.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me at hello@josefinecampbell.com.

This article is about developing your agility and leadership.

Navigating uncertainty with coolness, keeping a calm mind, being fearless and dealing with any discomfort you experience – this is what it feels like to be agile. Lars van Hauen is Chief Innovation Officer of E.On. Denmark, a European energy company with 43,000 employees. As an innovation leader and officer, I consider Lars to be more agile and innovative than 95% of other leaders I know. With tips from Lars, I will share what it means to be agile and how to develop your agility and leadership.

Agility and leadership advice from the agile and innovation leader, Lars

Currently, I am preparing for a speaking tour this autumn in agility and leadership for Lederne, The Danish Management Association. I will use Lars as an example of an agile leader to illustrate some points on agility and leadership. On several occasions, I have noticed how unbiased Lars is. When I asked Lars for advice on he keeps an open mind, he told me, “Go to a rock concert! Or make sure you frequently get a new experience, expose yourselves to new impulses. I truly believe in this”.

Lars is right! Exposure to new things and new people enhances your emotional agility. Emotional agility is the ability to not react immediately to emotions, but instead to just observe them. This means taking time to understand the possible causes of emotions and using intention to decide how to manage them. Emotional agility is key to having an open mind. Spending time in unfamiliar situations, with new people, and in new places, will help you become more tolerant and accepting of your own discomfort. This increases the confidence in your ability to navigate ambiguous situations, which is something that is essential for innovative leaders. Fusing emotional agility and leadership will turn you into a better listener, strengthen your interpersonal skills as well as develop your empathy. Essentially, these traits will create a more flexible mind.

Thoughts for growth and the science behind this advice

In the Harvard Business Review, psychologist Todd D. Kashdan writes about the mental benefits of vacationing somewhere new. In a study conducted with 485 adults in the United States, Kashdan explains how exposure to foreign travel links to a greater ability to direct attention and energy. This is important because it helps people function efficiently in diverse situations and enables the appropriate use of verbal and nonverbal emotional signals. Visiting more countries (breadth) or experiencing immersion into local culture (depth) enhances these effects. These positive benefits also remained after the study subjects returned home.

So, when Lars and I recommend going to a rock concert or trying something you have never done before, you too will obtain some of the benefits described in this study. This will in turn enhance your own agility and leadership development.

Decrease bias and increase empathy

There are even more benefits to going somewhere new. When you move to a new city or travel somewhere foreign, your bias decreases and empathy increases. In the study mentioned before, those who had travelled abroad showed a greater ability to delay their judgment. They could look beyond the surface qualities of age, sex, race, or ethnicity. As a result, they became more capable of recognising whether another person’s actions mirrored deep-seated personality qualities or if it was situational factors influencing their behaviour. Researchers in China found similar results in a survey of 197 adults before and after travelling. The study reported that those who had travelled to multiple countries developed a greater tolerance and trust of strangers. This had a positive influence on their attitudes toward strangers as well as colleagues and friends back at home. Additionally, they became more appreciative of people with new knowledge, philosophies, and skills.

Learn more ways to decrease bias to help you make better decisions; It will transform the way you think about your own leadership.

Travel, rock concerts or something alike – agility and leadership growth

In other words, try new things! It doesn’t need to involve traveling somewhere foreign or going far away. Attending the upcoming Roskilde festival to listen to new bands you have never heard of might be a way to get a new perspective of the world. This is where Lars plans to be next. If you don’t want to venture too far out of your comfort zone, there are many other ways to explore and experience the world. I encourage you to visit somewhere new or listen to opinions outside of your own closest circles. You could also taste a new type of food or challenge your body with some physical activity. Curiosity for new adventures and a willingness to listen to perspectives which differ from your own will improve your agility and leadership. Stepping away from the familiar can actually expand your view.

Discover how you can strengthen your leadership.

Stay connected

To stay up to date with new articles and videos, sign up for my mailing list. There are many advantages to being on the list. You will receive invitations to events in the Leaders Saloon where you get new inspiration in reflection with other leaders, HR specialists and leadership developments professionals. You can also learn more about me here.

Good management in high-performance environments

We are constantly updating software on our smartphones. Imagine your brain as a computer that can be upgraded. As you grow your awareness, you get a stronger operating system that can handle heavier programs and more graphics. A software update is the metaphor we use to explain conscious management. Conscious management is a way of good management, especially in high performance environments.