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What Are Your Rituals?


When I ask a new client, “What gets you back to your center?” most responses have something to do with church, time with family, working out, a hobby, or spending time outdoors. What I enjoy most is not necessarily what they do; rather, it’s how they say what they do. When a client says something like “going for a run,” the expression on their face, their tone of voice, and their body language truly express the positive force these activities have on their lives and how they feel. Some call these activities habits; we call them positive energy rituals.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of “The Power of Full Engagement,” define positive energy rituals as “precise, consciously acquired behaviors that become automatic in our lives and are fueled by a sense of purpose.” The distinction between a positive energy ritual and a habit is that the ritual is conscious: we do it because we are aware of the benefits of doing it, and we continue to do it easily (the fueled part) because it’s connected to what’s most important to us (purpose and values).

So now you might be wondering, what do positive energy rituals have to do with leadership? I was reminded of the answer to this recently during our weekly team meeting (reminded is a softer way of saying ‘hit over the head’). I’ve been feeling stretched and stressed over the last few weeks and decided to spend some time over the weekend getting ahead. Unfortunately, I realized on Monday morning that I wasn’t as ahead as I wanted to be, and I was irritated with myself – for forfeiting working out, walking the dogs, reading, and spending time with my husband, all for catching up, which never really happened. The result: I took it out on my team. (Fortunately, I work with a team of people who forgive and forget quite easily.) The learning? The positive energy rituals I gave up are precisely what fuel high performance, including effective emotional intelligence and self management capacity – a/k/a leadership!

All of this is in the forefront of my mind as we get ready for this year’s second LeadFORWARD retreat. We’re going to be talking about positive energy rituals that fuel us spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally, the rituals that fuel high performance so that we can lead with greater impact than ever before. I can’t wait!

Keep Leading!

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  1. Sue on March 20, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    So true, so true. I cannot agree more that I often give up my energizing rituals to catch up or be more prepared. There are times when the short term pain with consciously giving up a ritual makes for a better next day, but not always. This was a timely, helpful article for me. Thank you.

  2. Rina Corigliano-Hart, OneGroup on March 21, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Hi Cindy – I really enjoyed this one!

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