There is one word that, over and over again, seems to come up for me wherever I go. Whether it's with my clients, in workshops, or just someone recounting their day, it's maybe the #1 concept that I hear. And that word, ladies and gentlemen, is energy.
We all refer to it, and in a multitude of ways. From, "I feel so drained from having to work with that person/place," to "She really just lit up the room when she walked in." Energy is something that we're all constantly monitoring and adjusting our lives around and our language has evolved to subtly express these experiences in a way we all immediately understand.
So here's the thing we mostly get wrong about energy: there is no such thing as positive or negative energy.
At any one time, we all have a combination of these energies influencing us. In some tough situations, you’ll find yourself feeling like nothing in the world could get you off your couch and out of your pajamas (lethargic inaction), whereas other times you’ll be irritable and picking needless fights over the smallest of things (conflictive action). In other inspired moments, you’ll find yourself taking responsibility for your actions (stoking the fires of forgiveness), and in others you’ll find yourself inspired to create a non-profit to help the disadvantaged (compassion and non-judgement). There are levels to this and higher energy you have, the decidedly less it’s about you and the more it’s about others.
To be able to fully acknowledge your energy levels and then choose where you want to be are the two most powerful things you can do in your life. In that moment earlier, when I was feeling drained and SPENT, I did something that may not make any sense: I gave of myself and spent more energy. In doing so, I made it less about myself, tapped into my inner-values of helping people (which is a key area of where I get energy), and BLAMMO: I'm ready to do five gajillion more coaching calls, vacuum the house, hike the trail down the street, and then channel Julia Child/my inner francophile and make something ridiculously good for dinner
The next time that you're in a similar situation, where your energy is gone and the only thing that makes sense is to collapse on your coach and binge-watch Netflix, answer these questions first:
- Where Are You? Identify how you're feeling and where you want to be, energetically.
- What Are You Bringing to the Table? What are your greatest strengths and inner-most values?
- How Can You Be You? Those strengths and values are connected to what makes any situation meaningful for you. USE THEM. ALL THE TIME. They are like that giant ring of keys the janitor had in High School: It opens up any door you need. Find a way, immediately, to express that strength and/or value. Here's a helpful hint: the more it is about contributing to someone else, the more energy you will find.
The goal here is to be able to recognize where we are and constructively dismantle the draining, victim energy that’s blocking us. Because THAT’S what blocks our goals, stops our dreams, and saps our self-worth. Because kicking ass is why we’re all here, right?