People often say they need something specific to generate more energy and are disappointed when they never seem to have enough of it. I suspect this gap occurs because we focus on the things that gives us energy instead of the processes we set up.
Think about it: How often have we been asked, “What gives you energy?” How often have you been asked, “How do you produce energy?” Maybe it’s the “how,” not the “what,” we should seek. After all, we have more control over the “how.”
As I reflect on this, I want to share a few ways you can create positive, helpful energy:
Identify your best processes. My most productive time is mid-morning. My most productive environment can be described as quiet, uninterrupted, and focused. I also do better when someone else is working near me – even if they are doing something totally different. My Mom says I’ve been this way my whole life. Of course, this only works as long as the person next to me is working and not playing. Still, this environment is where I find the most energy and it allows me to produce more energy.
Acknowledge distractions. At the beginning of each meeting she facilitates, Amena Chaudhry of Zarafa Consulting asks a check-in question: “What is occupying your mind?” or “What’s on your mind?” These questions invite attendees to say what is filling our mind and to set it aside for the moment. This allows us to then address the meeting’s agenda. It is a beautiful way to open a meeting.
These check-in questions don’t mean that attendees spend the next hour talking about all the other things that are filling our lives. Rather, it’s a brief acknowledgment, an understanding that we are whole human beings who have a lot going on. By naming these other commitments out loud, we can set them aside and focus our energy on the agenda at hand for the next hour. This is a great example of how to lead the group forward with energy properly placed on the agenda.
Master perfection. On its own, perfectionism is neither good nor bad. What matters is how a person intersects personal actions within perfectionism. Their ability to be exact and precise is what allows us to trust surgeons, pilots, and engineers. These qualities entertain us when athletes make incredible plays. If perfectionism gives you energy and moves you forward, embrace the positive way in which it works for you. If it begins to cause fear and isolation, it’s time to take a new approach.
Make the most of what you have. Focusing on how you can generate energy keeps you from being stuck in a constant state of wanting more. Your energy is inside of you. Learn how to prepare yourself for a project, a meeting, and a task at hand. You don’t need more drinks, more time, more balance. You need a personal understanding of how to unlock your own potential. You need to know how you best perform.
Find professional partners who bring you energy. Having a work partner who fills your bucket, balances your strengths, allows you grace, and accepts your shortcomings is a must. This is a person who understands your working situation with very little context or backstory. This person helps you see yourself at work and within a project challenge most clearly. This person can feed your energy and the process by which you maximize it. I’m ever so grateful to have this in my business partner, Rachel.
Helpful energy is necessary to complete good work. It also makes your work more fun. Taking time to discover how to create it is worth it.
Your partners in leadership.