In a previous post, I talked about the importance of Focus. In this post I will be talking about the importance of energy and how you manage yours to ensure you achieve your goals. While both focus and energy are important, neither by itself is sufficient to produce the kind of decisive action organisations need most from their leaders. Focus without energy leads to poor execution or burnout. Energy without focus leads to ‘busy fools’, or worst case to a series of wasteful failures and lost opportunities.
High Energy High Performance
It is widely acknowledged that personal energy comes from 4 different energy sources:
Few people in business comprehend the importance of managing all four energies to perform at their peak. Should one or more energies be running at a deficit you will not perform to your best.
Physical Energy is the primary energy and the foundation of personal energy. Physical energy is regulated by diet, exercise and sleep. This energy is tapped regardless of whether the task is physical. Most of us do not do particularly physically demanding jobs, but physical energy is still incredibly important. There are tens of thousands of blogs, books and articles about how to improve your physical energy so I won’t dwell on it in this post. Suffice to say that it is fundamentally important to manage your Physical Energy and to be aware when you are running on empty. With low physical energy, you tend to draw more heavily on your other energy sources leading to ill-health or burn-out.
Emotional Energy is our ability to tap into a full range of emotions, i.e. feel happy when something joyful happens, feel sad when something bad happens.
People with a high amount of emotional energy will be positive, enthusiastic and happy. Low amounts of this energy are the manifestations of anger, despair and frustration. Emotional energy can be heavily influenced by others either positively or negatively. I’ve highlighted some areas for you to think about to maintain and strengthen your Emotional Energy.
1. Avoid ‘Energy Vampires’
We all know at least one Energy Vampire; someone who nags, complains or always involves you in their problems and never has anything positive to say. Energy Vampires suck the life (your Emotional Energy) right out of you. Ideally, you need to surround yourself with positive people. Spending more time with those who make you feel good about yourself or inspire you in some way will revive you.
2. Stop living to please other people
Trying to be someone who you are not is a drain on your emotional energy. We all have important relationships that we need to foster and nurture, but many of us try to be someone who we’re not just to please them. This expends significant energy and actually is counterproductive to building strong honest relationships.
3. Always have something to look forward to
Plan your next holiday or get a date in the diary to meet that friend you have been too busy to see. Looking forward to milestones and events stimulates people. It gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and that increases your desire to work toward your goals. Actually putting the wheels in motion (for example, calling the travel agent, sending a some dates to your friend to meet up) will also make you feel better .
4. Don’t live in the past
Learn from the past, by all means, but focus on the here and now and what you need to do to move forward. Although you can’t predict everything that will happen to you, you can make a flexible plan to accomplish your goals. Things like your career path, relationships in which you’d like to invest and how you would like to spend your free time are all under your control.
Mental Energy is our ability to intensely focus and perform complex mental tasks when needed but to also be able to let our mind rest and do nothing.
As many of us now work in knowledge based roles, we use a lot of this type of energy on a daily basis. This is the energy of creativity, decision-making, writing, reading, learning new information and much more. Most of us now rely on our mental energy to survive.
How effectively we use our mental energy will ultimately decide how successful we are in our lives. It is our mental energy, through our thought processes, that determines our values and goals and the actions we take, which ultimately determine what we make of our lives.
How well we maximise the use of our mental energy and powers will be a major factor determining how successful and happy our lives turn out.
Like our bodies, our minds need exercise, feeding and rest to get the most from it.
The simple act of reading can help to improve mental sharpness and energy. Reading is like brain exercise and it doesn’t matter what you read as long as you read regularly. You may even learn something! With the advent of smartphones, kindles and tablets, it’s easy to read almost anywhere and you can make the most of ‘dead’ time in your day.
Writing is good for your mind in a number of ways. It is a way to tell your memory what is important, so you’ll recall things more easily in the future. It is a way to clarify your thinking. It is a way to exercise your creativity and analytical ability. Diaries, idea-journals, blogging, note-taking and story-writing are all ways to use writing to boost your mental energy.
3. Take Time to Reflect
Often our lives get so hectic that we become overwhelmed without even realising it. It becomes difficult to concentrate because nagging thoughts keep interrupting. Spending some time alone in reflection gives you a chance organise your thoughts and prioritise your actions. You’ll have a better understanding of what’s important and what isn’t.
Spiritual Energy reflects our values, our meaning and our purpose for living the way we live. When we tap into our values and truly know our purpose in life we unleash our spiritual energy. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, purpose is a necessary ingredient to live successfully. Purpose fuels your spiritual energy, which, in my view, is the most important and most powerful form of energy. Purpose is a key to success and happiness and is often the key that will unlock all your possibilities.
Improving and replenishing your Spiritual Energy will be very personal to you, but here are some techniques that I use to help me keep my spiritual energy high:
1. Identify your “Spiritual” activities
Those that give you feelings of effectiveness, effortless absorption, and fulfillment. Find ways to do more of these. For me it’s walking in the mountains and connecting with nature.
2. Allocate time and energy
Make time for what you consider most important. For example, spend the last 20 minutes of your evening commute relaxing, so you can connect with your family once you’re home.
3. Live your core values
Nothing saps spiritual energy more than you doing things that are not in line with your core values.
Hopefully you now understand a little more about the importance of energy management! I hope you found this post useful and would love to hear from you on how you manage your energies.