Do you want to be an extraordinary leader? Of course you do, or at least you should.
Great leaders possess many essential skills and capabilities, such as emotional intelligence, clear communication, conflict management, problem solving ability, strategizing, time management, engagement, and productivity.
But, to be legendary, these influential factors aren’t sufficient alone.
Just because leaders possess these essential skills, doesn’t mean that they regularly put them into action. To do so, they need energy. Energy is the power and capacity to do work, which is constantly being affected by a host of internal and external factors. As energy is essential for accomplishing almost anything, it’s considered to be at the heart of what drives performance.
Cultivate “Healthy” Energy
The amount and quality of energy we have access to at any given time is critical. Nearly everything takes energy to achieve, and whatever blocks or diminishes our available energy will either slow down or derail progress toward our desired goal.
Anabolic energy, aka “healthy” energy, is expanding, healing, and growth-oriented. It is the energy behind creativity, intuition, cooperation, and compassion. It fuels our minds and bodies, positively affects our interactions with others, and helps us move forward and achieve goals. Anabolic energy is the cornerstone of high performance and is accompanied by a heightened sense of self-awareness.
Conversely, catabolic energy, aka “unhealthy” energy, is draining, resisting, and contracting, and often arises out of self-protection. It is unconsciously and appropriately evoked in short-term, stressful situations to enable a fight-or-flight survival response. Remaining in a stressful, catabolic state for long periods of time, however, can be mentally, emotionally, and physically destructive. Our self-awareness and ability to see potential options is diminished, resulting in missed opportunities.
If you’re interested in fostering innovative, high performing, yet sustainable workplace cultures, where teams work collaboratively and creatively to successfully tackle challenges head on, cultivating “healthy” energy should be at the heart of your work. To that end, four key influences—spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical—affect our energy, stress, and engagement associated with any given task, activity, or situation. These areas can enhance our energy and move us toward success. Optimization of these influences improve our response and raise our potential, by increasing engagement and decreasing stress.
Optimize Key Influences On Energy
Spiritually, energy is affected by our sense of purpose for, and meaning in, all aspects of our life. It’s what drives us to do what we do. Spiritual influences on our energy include, connection to purpose and alignment with vision, goals, and values. When optimized, we’re calm, fearless, highly creative, and operating without limits, as we create action from ideas, rather than feeling like victims of fate, excessively trying to control, ignoring our gut instinct, or failing to turn ideas into reality.
Mentally, energy manifests in how much brainpower we have available at any given moment to complete the task at hand. It’s about how we process our thoughts, not what we think about, and built on our ability to be present, so that we can harness our mental faculties for decision making, idea generation, performance,etc. Mental influences on our energy include, alertness, focus, clarity, concentration, as well as accessing intuition and creativity. When optimized we engage in proactive problem solving, concise communication, innovate with clarity and ease, and solve challenges in a direct and supportive way, rather than experiencing lethargy, lack of purpose, doubt and low self-esteem or, the opposite, operating in overdrive, trying to do too much.
Emotionally, energy is affected by the way we think about and manage our emotions, in ourselves and others. Emotions present critical data, alerting us to whether stress is on the rise or falling, which will enhance or detract from our energy toward the task at hand. Emotional influences on our energy include, emotional awareness, understanding, expression and control. When optimized we’re inclusive, empathetic, open, honest, less judgmental of others, and generous with help, rather than displaying a lack of emotional intelligence, trust and empathy for others, or feeling anxious, depressed, and perhaps hopeless.
Physically, energy is expressed by how much ability we have to move and take action—how well we’re able to prepare for and then create the physical acts that will best serve us to accomplish any given role, goal, or task. Physical influences on our energy include adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise and overall health and are typically easier to detect than the other areas of energy, because they’re usually visible, quickly seen in our presence at any given moment. When optimized we feel open, flexible and vibrant, and pain free, rather than experiencing fatigue and injury, or choosing to bypass our health and wellness routine for quick fix alternatives.
Increased Engagement, Sense Of Flow And Personal Satisfaction
When I’m working with clients to better know and grow themselves, they become consciously aware of their energy levels. They learn what drains and enhances their energy. As a result, they develop better control over their thoughts, emotions, and behavior, raise their overall energy, and increase their ability to achieve the results they ultimately desire from any given situation.
You know the ones, they’re the leaders whose teams you wish you were on. The ones you look at with admiration, because they’re able to get so much done, and seem to have a fairly enjoyable time while doing it.
My clients become aware of their false perceptions and limiting beliefs about what is possible to achieve as they learn new ways to work through blocks and obstacles. By reducing destructive, draining catabolic effects on energy and focusing on developing more expansive, creative, synergistic “healthy” energy, my clients will find it easier to work toward and attract the kinds of experiences and opportunities in life that lead to a greater sense of flow and personal satisfaction.
Not sure what types of things are affecting your energy? Next time you feel disproportionately out of sorts, stop and ask yourself, what factors are present? Insufficient sleep? Disconnected socially or emotionally? Poor nutrition? Lack of purpose? Inability to be present?
If you’re struggling to identify what your factors are, you’re not alone. Jordan had a coach. Federer has a coach. Tiger has a coach. It’s how you identify and address your blind spots.
Leaders who are able to tap into anabolic energy can provide the quality supervision and leadership required to engage and empower their teams and create sustainable workplace environments. As a result, engagement and satisfaction increase, with positive impact on innovation and productivity.