In Change, Leaders

“No is a complete sentence…I found developing the ability to say no expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it.” – Susan Gregg

There are very few things more precious in our personal and professional lives than energy. We have a limited amount, it’s easily used up, and we aren’t very good about remembering to replenish it when it’s gone. Unfortunately, we’re usually our own worst enemy when it comes to energy management.

Think about the things you spend your time doing. Don’t just think about work, but all day, every day. How many of those things are you doing because they truly provide someone (you or anybody else) with value? How many of those things are you doing that just aren’t in your wheelhouse, so you struggle and plod along, eventually producing a not-very-high-quality outcome? These kinds of things are all energy killers.

And what about people? Who do you spend time around that just sucks all the energy out of you? They’re called energy vampires, and they’re everywhere. All they do is take and take and take from you, and every time you’re done with them you feel exhausted. You know exactly who I’m talking about.

So why do we do this to ourselves? In some cases we convince ourselves that we’re doing something nice for someone else (even if we’re really not). More often we convince ourselves that there’s just no way out of it – somebody has to do this and it has to be me. The reality is that quite often nobody has to do it, and if it does have to be done, somebody besides you is better suited for it.

Try this: sit down and make a list of the five things you do that drain your energy. Now ask yourself if those five things really have to be done. Be honest. I guarantee at least one can either not be done at all or done by somebody else who would do it better than you.

Do the same thing with people (customers?). Who are the five people you interact with regularly that drain your energy? What can you do to minimize contact with them? If it’s somebody you absolutely must be around, ask yourself what situations with those people drain your energy the fastest, and see if you can avoid at least those particular situations.

I don’t know if there is any way in life to entirely eliminate everything that drains your energy, but we can certainly do better than we’re doing. And we have to do better. We can’t function at our highest level without enough energy. We owe it to ourselves, and everyone around us, to find a way.

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