Did you get up this morning refreshed and ready to roll…
Or did you drag yourself out of bed, dreading the day and wishing it was the weekend?
By the time you leave work today, how will you feel?
Will you be ‘good’ tired from a day that was, for the most part, well spent? Or will you have lived for leaving time all day… and walk in the door craving your post-work sanity drink?
Once you’re ‘free’, will you actively pursue your loves – your hobbies and interests, whatever they are – or slump on the sofa, and tune out ‘til bed-time?
Are you investing or squandering your energy?
As a coach, I work with peoples’ energy every day, and for something that sounds so ‘out there’ and intangible, it’s very real, often palpable – and absolutely fundamental to our lives and happiness.
We all know this; we share a common language on energy. We talk about feeling flat, drained or running on empty. There’s no fuel in the tank – no oomph, drive or joie de vivre.
I see this with clients all the time, when they’re in the wrong job, company or career. More than that, I remember feeling exactly this way in my previous life in HR…
For me, Industrial Relations work felt like someone had cut my power or removed my batteries. It was like wading through treacle; slow, torturous and exhausting.
Recognise that? It’s not a given; this is not how work has to feel.
Fast forward to today, and I know from my own experience, just how energising the right role in the right space can be; it’s properly life-changing. Do what’s right for you and you grow your energy; fail to, and you’ll never have enough.
When you build a career where you use your favourite skills and strengths in service of something you value – something that’s personally meaningful to you – then you spend your day charging your batteries, not draining them.
And if you spend time with those who genuinely love their work – as I had the privilege to, last week – you can feel the buzz in the air. People get animated talking about their work – they come alive discussing it. It’s a part of who they are. Who wouldn’t want some of that?
If you do, your timing’s perfect. With the end of the year approaching, there’s no better time to step back and think about your own energy. Specifically, it’s a great time to review and reflect on your year, and to get really clear on what in your life energises and depletes you.
Once you clarify that, it’s so much easier to align your time – that most precious of resources – with what feeds you.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Where do I get most enthused and animated?
- What things am I doing when I feel most alive?
- Where am I – and with whom?
- In short, what do I want more of in my life?
- What places and projects leave me feeling flat?
- What tasks do I dread or put off routinely?
- What people drain my batteries?
- In short, what do I want less of?
Reflect on your year, month by month, and project by project. Then start paying attention to your days…
When does your energy peak, and when does it dip? What are the patterns – and what are the common denominators? The tasks, people and places that give or take energy away?
Like keeping a food diary, writing it down can be very revealing – and often surprising.
Before you can consciously cultivate, conserve and channel your energy, you need to “connect with the source of your vitality”, as author Thomas Moore so beautifully puts it. You need to know what recharges you – and then do it – if you want to break the cycle of Sunday-night dread and nightly slumping on the sofa.
Start at work, or start at home – it doesn’t matter; the wins you have in one, will only benefit the other. Just remember, as we head into a new year…
It’s up to you to build a life and career that’s full, not flat.