Does it give or take energy?
What is your payout? Are you getting a return on your investment? Are you putting more energy into a task or relationship than you are getting out?
If you’re like me, you’ve had situations that drained you. You know, the ones that you don’t look forward to. The ones that you come away from with less energy than when you started, these are the ones that are sucking your vital energy. These situations may be a small interaction with one client or they can be your career.
How do you get your energy back?
First, you get sober to what is happening. Where are your biggest leaks? Get honest. It might not be that car that is a problem; it might be your work. When the economy was good it was easy to replace draining energy with a new toy. Now that you might not have the distractions, what do you do?
Create a list of the things in your life that are taking your energy. The following list will help direct you to the areas of your life where you might be losing energy.
What are your top three drains?
It might be easier not start with the most challenging item. You can start with an easier one to ramp up to the one that will give you the most energy. In many cases, you will be saying no to get your energy back.
The power of no
No can be the most difficult word to say. When I say no, I often risk losing a relationship. If you feel that fear, ask yourself, Am I getting my needs meant? Be honest, and then ask yourself who is the source of the problem. Is it the other person? Is it you? Or, are both parties responsible? To the extent you are the problem, start communicating your feelings and wants. To the extent it is someone else, communicate your feelings and wants. If the situation changes with communication – great, if it doesn’t change, you can then decide if you want to continue with it.
Saying no creates boundaries. Unfortunately, we are not taught or encouraged to do this as kids. There aren’t many healthy models out there on how to keep your personal and physical space safe and clean.
Be prepared to have people object to your requests. Often the ones who object the most are the ones who are sucking the most energy. While this sounds mean, a shift can occur when you allow yourself to possibly be perceived as mean. Even the bluntest person can find standing their ground for what they feel and want to be difficult.
Follow the pleasure energy
What gives you energy beyond the act of doing it? Marcus Buckingham speaks about championing strengths. Why give energy to what you don’t like or are not good at? Invest in what you enjoy and makes you happy. While this sounds obvious, we all become numb when we dream about what we want while not working towards it. What passion do you have that you aren’t pursuing?
Just the pursuit for your dream can give you energy. Remember the feeling you had as a kid of wanting a toy so much that you worked until you got it? When we work for what we want, the work is more fun and goes quickly. I suspect you may notice that sometimes the bigger payout wasn’t the reward, but what was experienced or learned while doing the work.
If you are not enjoying what you are doing, or if it is not immediately giving you energy, will it produce the thing that will? Think of it this way, In 30 years when you wake up from your task, will you be glad you started? Many years ago, a client who was a pediatric neurologist, announced during a session he was done with being a doc. He quickly left medicine because he realized it wasn’t his dream. Going to work every day was slowing killing him. Is something slowing killing you?
Photo: via Wikipedia