The Actions of Leadership Series, #8: Feed Your Emotional Needs

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 18, Issue No. 10b
February 15, 2020

By Dan Coughlin


Business leadership is hard work. It’s time-consuming, energy-consuming, and emotion-consuming work.

The part that gets the least amount of attention is the emotion-consuming aspect of work. You are likely working 45-70 hours a week. You are pouring the best of you into your work on a regular basis. There are highs and lows on an almost daily basis. You can pour all of your emotions into your work until you are emotionally wiped out at the end of a week.

And that can lead to some very serious problems: being emotionally absent at home, addictions, affairs, divorce, burnout, health problems, and prolonged absences from work.

Emotional exhaustion is a very real issue in the lives of many business leaders. When it happens, it hurts the individual, the person’s family, and the organization where he or she works.

Please take this one seriously. If you want to be a successful business leader over the long term, develop a plan for replenishing your emotions in healthy ways and execute that plan just like you would execute a business plan. Take it seriously and stay focused.

Ways to Replenish Yourself Emotionally

Focus on your soul.

You don’t have to be part of any religion or even believe in God in order to focus on your soul. In my opinion, your soul is that part of you that is beyond your job, finances, physical fitness, family responsibilities, and your community commitments. Your soul is where your purpose resides.

Answer this question: what is the purpose of your life right now?

Answer that question every day for a week. Just pull out the question and write down your answer. In doing so, I believe you will revitalize yourself emotionally.

Talk with your spouse.

A day in any job is busy. You are both busy in whatever you are doing. Days becomes weeks, months, years, and decades. Before you know it you no longer know your spouse.

Talk every day with your spouse and really listen. Put a limit on how much you are going to talk about your work. Otherwise your spouse time becomes an extension of your work time. That’s not going to rejuvenate you.

Invest time with your children.

Your children are always your children. Whether they are in your house or across the world, spend some time communicating with them. Listen to them. Share with them. Our children can feed our emotions in healthy ways if we allow them to do so.

Do something creative for free.

We all need a creative outlet. What is the intersection of your passions and talents? Do something in that area. Do it for free. Don’t look at it as a revenue-generator. Look at it as an opportunity to feed your emotions.

Go to a movie.

Cecille B. DeMille had a famous quote: the greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling. I think watching a story can take us on a journey of the mind and the heart that can feed our emotions in really healthy ways.

Take emotionally-reenergizing vacations.

Some vacations are more exhausting than going to work so be selective in how you use your vacation time. Plan for at least one truly emotionally-fulfilling break from work every year. That can mean a lot of different things to different people so decide for yourself what you can do this year to step away from your job for a period of time and fuel yourself emotionally.


Your emotions affect your decisions at work. Your emotions affect your decisions at home, in your community, and in your personal life.

If you deplete your emotional energy, you could quite easily make decisions that you wouldn’t have made with greater emotional reserves.

Work to strengthen your emotional energy.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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