living lighter working smarter

#35 Living lighter working smarter with Tim Vermeire & Rudi Francken

In today’s podcast, I had an amazing conversation with Tim Vermeire and Rudi Francken. They have just written a book called AQ. In this book, Tim and Rudi will give you five principles to work smarter, find more balance, and increase your energy. I asked them why they felt the need to write this book and this is what they told me. 

Tim and Rudi both noticed that in our society and education, there is no real concept of time-, energy- or focus management. It has always been taught to us that you have to do what is expected of you and that you can rest when the task is finished. The problem is that nowadays, we have so much work to do that this fixed mindset no longer works because we simply forget to rest and manage our energy. This takes a toll on our physical and mental health, which is of course not good for our society. 

With this book, they want to give leaders the right methodology to figure out for themselves how they can develop an adaptive mindset and find a good balance in their lives and organizations. They do this by teaching you the five principles you can apply to your life in your own way. The principles are the following.

1- Energy

The first thing you should master is managing your energy. Knowing what gives you and what costs you energy is the first step to managing it. If you want to be energetic, you will have to start saying no to things that cost you too much energy and focus on the things that give you energy. That way, you will feel better and have an improved mindset to tackle challenges and acquire new skills. A small tip Rudi and Tim gave me is to simply go for a walk every day. It creates space for you to reflect on yourself, to come up with ideas or to deal with frustrations so you can become mentally stronger. It only has to take fifteen minutes, but it makes a huge difference.

2- Essentialism

In today’s world, there are opportunities everywhere. The problem with the leaders today is that they want to jump on every opportunity, but this is simply not possible. In order to find a good balance, you need to ask yourself what you really want.
What is my personality? What fits with my personality? What are my values?
Then start living your life towards these essential elements and eliminating or minimizing other things. Do not forget that the word “priority” is always singular, if it were not, it would be contradictory 😉. So focus on what you really want and live accordingly.

3- Focus

Even if it is clear as glass what is essential to you and you have learned to manage your energy, we still live in strange and fast-changing times. With all the distractions and opportunities flying around, it is of utmost importance to keep your focus. In order to do this, you need to design a certain structure that works for you, without forgetting to plan recuperation moments for you to breathe and relax. Another small tip you can use is called the Pomodoro technique. Many studies show that the average human cannot focus on a task for more than 30 minutes straight. With this technique, you set a timer of 25 minutes and start working. After those 25 minutes, you take a five-minute break from your task and go back to work. After three to four cycles, you can take a longer break. Try out this method and see what results you get with it!

4- Balance

There are a lot of leaders who have mastered the previous three principles and have achieved great things with their work but still neglect their family, their friends, or themselves. The fourth principle you will have to master as a leader is balance. By balance I not only mean a good balance between your work and your other roles in life, but also a good balance between your work and your personality. Because if your personality doesn’t match with what you do for work, you will never get enough energy to grow in your mindset and acquire new skills. So the tip I give you now is to build your job around your personality and your other roles in life.

5- Growth mindset

The fifth and final principle a leader should master is developing a growth mindset. As you all know, the world around us is in constant disruption. It is changing incredibly fast and being able to grow and adapt your mindset is vital to keep being relevant and to stay happy with the work you do. New technologies and methodologies are being developed every day and to keep up with those innovations, you need to be mentally and physically prepared to adapt your mindset every day. It is incredible how our brain is able to rewire itself to learn new things. If you are flexible and used to learning new skills, you are prepared for the future and the changes it may bring.

These five principles are discussed in detail in Tim and Rudi’s book AQ, which will be published in January in Dutch and later on in English. But what does AQ actually mean? Our personal mental intelligence is called IQ and our ability to read, listen, and collaborate with other people is often measured by our EQ or emotional quotient. If you have a good IQ and EQ, you have a very good starting point, but in our fast-changing world, there is a third element that is vital to us: the adaptive intelligence or adaptive quotient. 

Being adaptively intelligent means that you are stable and flexible. It is not about being agile, but about being flexible and open to change when change is required and being stable when stability is necessary.  The idea of adaptive intelligence is being able to navigate between stability and flexibility when needed. 

If you want to learn more about AQ, be sure to check out Rudi and Tim’s website in the link below! I am curious what you learned from this podcast and how you will implement it in 2021. Subscribe to the podcast and leave a review! It would mean the world to me.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

qileader authentic leadership

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