Riding an emotional Yo-yo

This is the “Y” installment of the series “Alphabet for Leaders.”

Emotional lows inevitably follow emotional highs. Nagging stress pulls you down like a lead weight. In addition, monthly physical cycles, duties you’d like to avoid, unexpected failures, and reoccurring problems lower your defenses and drain your emotional energy.

On the other hand, unexpected successes, individuals who exceed expectations, positive outcomes to ugly tasks, and affirming feedback lift you. They fill your emotional tank.

Admittedly, some leaders are more susceptible to emotional ups and downs than others. However, every leader feels the ebb and sway of emotional highs and lows. If you aren’t careful, you’ll ride an emotional yo-yo.

Eight ways to deal with the emotional yo-yo

#1. Make investments in your emotional well-being. You may become consumed with serving others, completing projects, and solving the next problem. Do a quick inventory. Are you rejuvenating your emotional well-being? If you aren’t careful, your emotional tank will run dry and you’ll get stuck on empty.

#2. Tell a trusted advisor you’re running out of steam. You may enjoy presenting the façade of invincibility but eventually it will destroy you. Sharing frustrations, disappointments, and stress may re-energize you.

#3. Develop processes and procedures that create higher levels of predictability. For example, create check lists for repeated tasks that free your mind to focus on achievement.

#4. Get some rest.

#5. Do the dirty deeds you’ve been putting off. Procrastination drains you. The dread of doing hated tasks is more draining than actually doing them.

#6. Watch your diet. I find eating fewer carbohydrates and more protein helps level the emotional playing field.

#7. Leverage rituals. I eat lunch nearly every day with my wife. It’s a point of energizing sameness.

#8. Give yourself something to look forward to.


What techniques can you offer that refuel a leaders emotional tank?

Can you think of other “Y” words for leaders?


Leadership Freak,

Dan Rockwell