The subject of energy is not often discussed at work. We like to use terms like engagement and motivation, but rarely do we explore energy. If we talk of energy, it’s mostly associated with statements such as “she’s got positive energy.” Yet, energy comes in many forms and is affected by things both in and outside of work. In my discussions with executives these days, many seem to be depleted. This lack of energy shows up in various forms. Sometimes, it’s just the look in their eyes. Other times, it’s visible in their posture or movement, or again it comes through other less perceptible behaviours.
- few if any smiles
- no ‘spare’ time for others
- a lack of generosity
- poor sleep patterns
- relying on extra coffee (or stronger) to get through the day
- falling behind in communications
- taking one too many drinks in the evening
- a lack of desire to explore new things or meet new people
- a weakening social life…
Hidden barriers and fateful narratives
These are people who, without even realising it, may be running straight into a wall. They might think they’re happy or able to “tough it out,” but the sad fact is that the real toll is up ahead; and it isn’t just on them. It starts to affect all those around them (at work and at home).
Among the justifications or narratives that accompany these depleted souls are comments that ring hollow, such as:
- “I’m passionate about my work.” But, in reality, they don’t have a solid answer about why they’re passionate that is both profound and personal. Only when it’s personal does it truly return the energy expended.
- “I’m excited to be living through these dynamic times.” But, in reality, they are more in survival mode, burning excess energy.
- “I’m deeply curious and love learning.” But in reality, the thirst for learning is misguided if not overarching. They will inevitably run out of steam for learning without a purpose.
- “I love change.” But, in reality, they don’t know what they’re changing into. The risk is entropy.
- “I love the people I work with.” But in reality, they don’t like the business they’re in. Worse, they don’t like their boss. Poor leadership and ethics are ways to sap energy.
Boosting your energy
The biggest single way to make sure that you have an incandescent energy is to know and be close to your ‘why’… You can’t ever be 100% aligned, but without knowing what it is in the first place, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get alignment. Once you have your ‘why’ in place, you’ll know why you are doing what you do and that activities that align will fire up the neurones in your brain and you’ll derive positive energy. Then, it’s a question of working on other more technical aspects, such as to be conscious of the ways to be healthy, sleep well, learning to be present and to surround yourself with positive and reaffirming people. This is a deeply strategic activity. Make sure to give yourself the time to explore. Keeping asking yourself why you doing what you’re doing and how it is aligning with your deeper self!
So, what’s your energy like? How are you measuring energy — not just motivation and engagement — in your business?