We humans have become very good at measuring things in the physical world. Money, size, growth, likes…
We have yet to really learn how to be aware of, measure and manage personal energy.
Think of it like this.
Just imagine that every day you received one hundred units of fresh clean energy. Think of these units like dollars, a measure that makes sense to us. At 2:23 A.M. in the morning 100 units of energy is deposited into your body, day in day out.
How do we spend our energy?
There are the obvious things, like the energy it takes to live life, to move, work, clean house, manage children, meet friends.
Then there is the energy we put into things..our pleasure activities, exercise, projects, work. And the energy we put into relationships and community.
Of our 100 daily units, how much do we spend on each?
Take a few minutes now and figure out the energy spend on an average day.
What about the energy drains? Energy drains may include the following.
*People who suck our energy, leaving us depleted. You know who they are. Whenever you think of them you feel tired.
*Activities that suck our energy, like doing things that we find hard, or where a high degree of focus is required, or that are against our natural design.
*Work that is uninspiring, repetitive, doesn’t challenge you in any way.
Think of the BIG energy drains. The issues in your life that are constantly on your mind. The one that you are thinking about all day and most of the night. They keep you awake, or cause you to wake too early. It could be a problem at work. Or a relationship that is going south, or has gone south, or an issue about money, or your health?
It may have been going on for years, or it may be recent. It may be simple, like a constant thought about yourself…..that you are not good enough, or, what is the point?..or it may be complex..like how do we solve world hunger?
The size and complexity is not what we are measuring here. It is the cost and consumption of our energy that we are measuring. It could be exceedingly obvious, or it may be subterranean, lurking vaguely below your consciousness.
How much of your daily energy input is this issue costing? 40% 60%, 80%, 120%? Really look at this and tell yourself the truth.
When I ask people do this, I often get responses in the high 80’s. Many times over the 100’s.
This energy is your life vitality. It is the twinkle in your eyes, the skip in your step.
If the issue or issues that you are allowing to suck the life force and vitality away remains, there will be a high cost, usually across multiple domains. At the minimum, at the cellular level, functions will become sluggish. Allow this to carry on for years, and disease will set in. Our depleted cells will break down. In the short term, our bodies will not be able to be as efficient when it comes to fighting bugs, and we will get any cold or flu that is passing.
We age faster when our energy bank account is in the negative day in day out. It’s as if we are running on negative energy, and in truth we are. We are seriously in the red and borrowing from cells that shouldn’t be involved.
Getting out of bed and engaging in life is hard work when we have such large energy drains. There is no spring in our step, or twinkle in our eye. All of our energy is going to the basics, like keeping our bodies functioning at sub standard. And even still, there is not enough.
Of course, our energy bank account is a little more complex than this. We can make extra energy deposits. We can do this by eating food that has vitality, and is made with love and thoughtfulness. Fresh, home made, using local ingredients…and made with care and eaten in the company of friends and family, celebrating the food and the people we share it with. This is an energy deposit. Even if the menu has things on it we may consider bad. Like high fat cream, sugar and carb’s.
When all the studies are done on food, very few studies have been done on the vitality of the food itself, and the care and love that went into the preparation, plus the celebration and love in eating the food. Not as an obsession, but for the joy of good food with friends.
Communities that eat their food in this manner do not suffer most of our Western illnesses anywhere near the degree we do. It is not a simple formula of low fat, low carb, low calories. We must start including the origins of the food, how much it has been handled, how much care and love was poured into the preparation (if any at all), and then how we are feeling when we eat. (Two great references for this is the great book, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel -also made into a movie; and the Slow Food Movement.)
Another deposit into our energy bank account is by spending time with people we love.
(***Note: There are people who are energy vampires. Their energy is gained by sucking ours, usually without conscious awareness. Are you one of these people? Do you get a kick out of criticizing, or complaining, or wanting to always be the centre of attention?)
When you spend time with people who are interesting, challenge us in positive ways, have their own inner fire, resonate with our values and beliefs and are inspirational, notice how your energy is positively charged. You are on a high. This is an energy deposit.
Doing things we love, or having experiences that exceed our expectations also will create a deposit into our energy bank account.
Getting good sleep, and as much as you need. Another great deposit into our energy bank account. Sleep is a big deal these days. Most people are seriously sleep bankrupt. How much sleep we need varies with what is going on in life. I know I need more sleep when my subconscious mind has things to sort out, or when I have been focusing on a project intensely. 8 hours at least, often 9. And then there are times when I have so much energy that I simply do not need that much sleep. Constantly going without enough sleep steals from our cells like quiet thieves in the night.
Moving our bodies and keeping them moving adds to our energy bank account. This may seem counter intuitive. Doesn’t exercise consume energy? Yes, in calories. But exercise and activity that we love, like dance, running, yoga, walking, hiking and endurance exercises, all add energy in the form of vitality. Sure, if we do too much we will be tired physically. But we can be very happy energetically. Our inner bodies will be dancing.
Doing work that we love adds to our energy bank account. Being engaged in our work, feeling on purpose, being creative, feeling fulfilled, as if your contribution matters…all this adds to your energy bank account.
Often times we do not consider the energetic cost of things when we initiate a new relationship with a person or project.
If you are in client services and you have a few clients that consume most of your energy, then consider…at what cost? You give them the energy, but your best clients, the ones you love who tell all their friends how great you are…these clients get the scraps of your energy because your energy is all chewed up by those few energy vampires.
Or if we go into a new venture, do we do an energy audit? Will this make our heart sing?
And the big one, when we have a staff member or relationship that is constantly causing a big black hole of energy loss, not just for you but for others as well. Months and years can go by with this situation in play, because of our fear of speaking up, or ending the engagement, or not wanting to be seen as the bad guy.
If I could count the hours people spend in hundred dollar bills for all the time they spend resisting ending an energy draining relationship I would be wealthy indeed. These relationships are too expensive.
What are you energy drains?
What are your inputs into your energy bank account?
Are you in the red, or the black?
How will you modify your personal development plan to account for energy input and outflows in your energy bank account?
Now would be a great time to do your own energy audit and get well into the black.
Vitality, aliveness, health, presence…all of these will be the side effects of having a purposefully managed positive energy bank account.