Let’s face it, the high demands of work and home life can quickly snuff out our pilot light and flat-line our energy compromising the highest version of who we want to be personally and professionally. We live in a society that highly values energy conservation to protect our beautiful planet yet fail to put it into practice in our interior world.
Do you want more energy in life? Energy is your capacity for action. For a continual flow of energy to be a constant in your life the art of healthy boundary setting is essential. Think of a boundary as the drawbridge to your interior world. Too often you leave your drawbridge down and your interior castle becomes compromised by energy suckers in life. What the heck is an energy sucker? You tell me. What steals your energy, knocks your lights out and leaves you groping around in the darkness of sluggishness? When was the last time you felt like a fish swimming through jello? When did the weight of the world feel so heavy that you could barely get out of bed?
We each have different elements in our lives unique to our personality, goals, belief systems and insecurities that render us vulnerable to energy leaks. Explore and write down the energy suckers below that frequently restrict your capacity for action. As you shine the light of your presence on those things that compromise the most vibrant version of you, you take back the power you give to the source of your own self-destruction and position yourself on higher ground where you can identify and adjust your perspectives and behavior for energy conservation:
- Fear of Missing Out: results in over commitment to other people’s goals and initiatives that are outside your department and responsibilities. Am I casting myself as a lead role in other people’s performances? Am I a “stage” bomber? Jumping on other people’s stages so I don’t miss out?
- Not-enoughness: fueled by the shiny object syndrome: In order to completely love and accept myself I have to have more; do more and be more, if I don’t keep going who would I be?
- Disease to Please: My sense of worth and value is tied to how well I can please you. Over-care and enabling walk hand in hand with the disease to please: “Oh let me do that, and this and even more of that.” Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
- Drug of Approval: I will keep on dancing whatever the dance as long as you keep applauding…heck, I’ll dance all night, who needs sleep? I’ll even abandon my own dance and dance your dance.
- Martha Syndrome: If I don’t do it, it won’t get done right. Sit and prayerfully refresh? Ain’t nobody got time for that I have people to meet, places to go and things to do. It’s easier to just do it myself…and then complain that I do everything around here by MYSELF!
- Time Thief: Poor time management is fueled by the fear of missing out. I will often start off my day with good intentions to prioritize those high important items first thing in the morning and by mid-afternoon I have added on several less essential tasks fueled by Facebook email checking addictions, which have become time thieves. Rushing into the end of the day strangles out any left-over energy I might have had if I pulled up my drawbridge and honored my highest initiatives and intentions to create a power house day.
Your capacity for action expands when you feel a sense of intrinsic motivation and engagement. Intrinsic motivation or the drive to get off the couch and take action flows from your innate need to direct your own life, to learn and create new things, and to do better by yourself and the world (Pink, Drive, 2009, p 10). To be engaged with a task or experience means you feel safe and connected to something bigger than yourself: a mission, a goal, an initiative that sparks your inner knowing that what you bring to the planning table has value along with purpose, usually for a higher good for all concerned.
As a human being, your energy flourishes in the presence of acknowledged worth, value and a sense of purpose: I am seen and I matter. As you anchor your sense of worth and value, your energy is restored and you now are in a position to share it with those around you: your team members, friends and family all benefit in a positive way. You can’t give out to the world around you what you do not take time to nurture and celebrate within. Are you in a leadership position? Do you want an energetic team? Recognize the value you bring as a human being with unique gifts and talents to your leadership position and then champion those people entrusted to your care to do the same.
Are you a parent? Do you model healthy self-care behaviors to your children? Actions speak louder than words. When you take care of yourself, spending time each day doing at least 1 or 2 activities that push the refresh button for you spiritually, emotionally and or physically you model the importance of self-care to your family along with restoring your own capacity for action.
Studies continually reveal an increase in productivity and life satisfaction around those companies that require vacation time for their employees. Why is this the case? Refreshed employees make happy people which results in higher intrinsic motivation and engagement. Whenever you are in the HALTS (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired or Sick) your capacity for action is highly compromised. Burn out walks hand in hand with the never-enough and the fear of missing out belief systems. Your capacity for action will diminish every time you ignore and push through your interior voice that says: pause…rest and refresh.
The world screams like a spoiled child for your time and attention and you are the only one who is capable of pulling up your drawbridge. When you give people and circumstances continuous free access to your interior world your energy gushes out your front door. Even Jesus took time in the midst of a demanding ministry each day to retreat to the mountains to seek prayerful refreshment. Here is a fun experiment: The next time you have a hot 85-90-degree day, turn your air-conditioning on and open up your front door and observe how much energy and money it takes to cool down your home, do it long enough and you will burn out the entire unit.
Your body is a gift that you can easily overlook in a hot pursuit of selfish ambitions. When cancer overcame my body my capacity for action came to a halt. The next time you feel depleted, over-committed and over-whelmed pause and push the refresh button by setting healthy boundaries and giving yourself permission to delegate, down shift, and say no when your plate is full.
Lauren E Miller, M.Ed, Specialization in Human Resource Development, is a stress relief educator/coach/trainer and international motivational speaker and best-selling author. Lauren equips people and teams globally with mindset skills and sustainable behavioral shifts to de-stress their lives, regain inner clarity and step into personal excellence and wellness. To explore more of Lauren E Miller and personal excellence and wellness products and services please visit her at:
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