How to Stay Motivated as a Leader

How to Stay Motivated as a Leader / Alessandra Edwards

Over my 16-year journey working with top-tier executives, I’ve found that the key to enduring success lies in the ability to sustain motivation, especially when faced with challenges.

Consider what drives you to your daily routines…

The simplest actions, like preparing a sandwich, are powered by underlying motivation, possibly hunger in this case. Now elevate that thought to leadership. How would you lead, innovate, and work hard without the backbone of everyday motivation?

But staying motivated can be elusive, even for the most accomplished leaders, especially as we hit middle age. In fact, loss of motivation (coupled with unwanted weight gain and loss of vitality) are the two most common challenges I hear from middle-aged executives, who are otherwise fit and healthy.

So what drives motivation?

There is a whole side of performance psychology that looks at the emotional drivers of motivation. However, through my biochemical and DNA lens, coupled with clinical observations and testing, I have found that self-motivation is a sophisticated interplay between genetic predispositions around dopamine metabolism, our internal biology and lifestyle choices that bolster dopamine production.

Dopamine, the well-known chemical messenger, is vital for reinforcing the desire to pursue goals. It’s not just about liking the rewards but wanting them enough to take action.

Without dopamine, there is no motivation. Full stop.

While genetics may give some a head start with higher natural dopamine levels, others can enhance this crucial neurotransmitter through targeted actions.

Understanding your own baseline of this neurotransmitter, what drives it and what depletes it, is crucial to preserve your motivation as a leader as you age.

The following have been shown to have a direct impact on dopamine and motivation:

  • Type of diet
  • Amount and type of exercise
  • Digestive health
  • Gut microbiome
  • Hormones
  • Light exposure
  • Meal timing
  • Specific supplements

For today’s musings, I want to spotlight a simple, free tool to help boost your dopamine levels: Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR).

Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR)

NSDR, uses classic relaxation techniques like focused breathing and body scanning to promote calmness. By decelerating your stream of thoughts and brain wave activity, it grants you and your body a level of deep rest. This profound relaxation not only revitalises your brain but also replenishes dopamine levels.

Endorsed by neuroscientist Prof. Andrew Huberman, NSDR serves as an effortless approach to foster neuroplasticity, alleviate stress, and amplify motivation.

While both a quick 10-20 minute nap and NSDR are proven to restore physical vitality and cognitive sharpness, NSDR stands out. It uniquely elevates striatal dopamine—essential for motivation and action—and hones your self-initiated relaxation skills, also leading to better sleep patterns over time.

Here’s how to integrate NSDR into your leadership toolkit:

Select the Right Guide: YouTube abounds with NSDR guided relaxations. Find the one that resonates with you.

Daily Ritual: Dedicate a ten minute daily slot to practice.

Measure Growth: Observe how NSDR aids your concentration, vitality, and motivation.

Incorporating NSDR is more than a restful pause; it’s a strategic choice to keep your dopamine levels optimal for leading effectively with renewed clarity, focus, and unwavering motivation.