Your Power Tool for Sustainable Success: Mastering Your Energy
By Sally Anne Carroll at Whole Life Strategies Coaching
Imagine tapping into a transformative resource that’s always available and proven to help you center your well-being and successfully navigate the inevitable change that life and work bring. Meet your greatest renewable resource: your energy. This inner well of power is within our control, and often, an overlooked tool at our disposal.
Learning to manage your energy well and consistently is a critical foundation for sustainable success, bringing well-researched benefits such as:
- Capacity for stronger, more positive relationships
- Better boundary-setting and decision-making
- Less unhealthy stress and risk of burnout
- Improved subjective wellbeing
- More flow, focus, and productivity
- Feeling engagement and fulfillment in your work
We know when we’re feeling low on energy, less motivated, or overwhelmed. What isn’t always clear, though, is what specifically is draining and what’s replenishing your energy throughout the day – and what to do about it. As you reflect on a typical day, you might have a sense of what’s depleting and what helps you to reset, but the best way to truly understand your energy is to map it. For at least one week, record your activities and energy levels. Be sure to note patterns or anything that feels relevant.
Our mental, physical, and spiritual energy is highly individual and it’s always shifting. As you become intimate with yours, you can learn to adjust in real-time and curate a toolkit of go-to revitalizers. To balance your energetic demands healthily, it helps to have plenty of experiences, activities, and habits that fill your tank.
Energy builders typically fall into three areas:
- Foundational habits are proven to benefit overall wellness, such as rest, nutrition, and exercise
- Opportunities to develop your strengths, such as building relationships, problem-solving, or leading a team.
- Alignment with core values, such as time with family and friends, creative pursuits, justice, or giving back.
Energy drains also come in several categories. They might be connected to overusing or working outside your strengths, unfulfilling activities, or values conflicts. An energy drain might reflect a boundary, communication, or relationship challenges. It could be an incomplete task.
Commonly, we think about removing drains and revitalizing ourselves. That’s part of the picture, but a more nuanced and effective approach is to think creatively about how you navigate energy drains. We’ll always encounter them, and they’re often opportunities in disguise and need thorough resolutions so they don’t reoccur. The answer may be a simple fix like outsourcing; it may also be learning a new skill that will equip you to handle a situation in a more nourishing way.
Optimizing Your Energy
A holistic evidence-based approach to optimizing your energy also incorporates behavioral science. Instead of overhauling your whole day, start small with incremental, strategic changes. Look for simple shifts that make a big difference. Reflect on what you need to be your best and identify small adjustments to get there. You can also build in simplicity and balance by choosing one energy-giving shift for your mind, body, spirit, and environment.
Once you’ve created a customized energy plan, take time to integrate your new habits before adding more changes. After a few weeks, what do you notice? Are you feeling more energized? More productive or creative? Sleeping better? What needs adjusting? You may find that another energy-giver is a better fit, or that you need to manage an obstacle that’s in your way.
As you stay tuned in to your energy patterns, you’ll soon develop the self-trust to identify and implement what you need to keep yourself in balance. Enjoy the newly energized you!