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Developing the Leader Within: Choosing Your Energy
Have you ever experienced something that changed how you think, feel, and behave? Learning how to become more aware of your energy — and how to shift it to serve you better — can do exactly that. Read on as I share my journey of learning about my energy and how it has impacted my life.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to pursue a professional coaching certification. I wasn’t necessarily looking to become a coach, but like many things that have been most impactful in my life, coaching found me. The certification course I completed was Core Energy CoachingTM through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).
iPEC and its founder, Bruce D. Schneider, have done extensive research on energy and identified that all people are continually experiencing energy in one of two ways: catabolic or anabolic.
Catabolic: Energy that is destructive, draining, or resisting and works against a person. Many people get stuck in this type of energy, falling victim to worry, fear, doubt, anger, and guilt. This energy results in responses and reactions that can sap productivity and create division across teams.
Anabolic: Energy that is constructive, expanding, fueling, productive, and creative. This type of energy fulfills us while shifting our performance, perceptions, and interactions. People that embrace this energy are apt to inspire others, more open to innovation and possibility, and better able to pursue goals and lead teams.
By increasing awareness of which type of energy is showing up, we are better able to identify why it is there, how it is serving us, and how to better regulate or shift it. As identified in our leadership core pillars, such self-awareness and self-regulation are essential components of emotional intelligence, a key characteristic of great leaders.
Within catabolic and anabolic energy, there are seven levels in which we all move through. It’s normal to cycle up and down the energetic spectrum as one experiences life, but it’s also important to remember we are a mix of different energy levels, never just ONE level. There is no "good" or "bad" energy, and each level has advantages and disadvantages. These include:
It was eye-opening for me to learn about these levels of energy, and as I did, I became much more aware of my energy, how it was serving me, and just as important, how it was impacting those around me. During stressful situations, which we all face, I was challenged to stop and think about how I was feeling and why, really focusing on a specific emotion and where thought created the emotion. I had to dig deep to identify assumptions or judgments I was making that impacted my thoughts and feelings. By doing this, I became more self-aware, but it was, and still is, a work in progress.
Learning to Shift
Becoming more aware of my energy has been enlightening but learning how to shift it … now that’s where the magic happens! Learning to identify and shift your energy takes practice, but here are a few questions to get you started.
- What emotion am I feeling? Emotions are neither good nor bad; they’re just emotions. By acknowledging the specific emotion you’re feeling, you can then begin to uncover why it’s there.
- Why am I feeling (the emotion)? Explore what thought may be contributing to the emotion. Our thoughts directly impact the emotion we feel.
- How is this serving me (or those around me)? If the energy I feel is not productive or is draining me, it’s not serving me well. And I’m probably not much fun to be around!
My journey has taught me one very important lesson — I get to choose — how I respond and react, how I think about situations, and how I own my energy. No one can make me think, feel, or behave in a certain way — that’s all on me.
Being equipped with an understanding of energy and how it shows up for me has allowed me to raise my awareness, improve my self-regulation, and live more consistently with higher levels of anabolic energy in all aspects of my life. It’s also made me a better wife, mom, and friend while allowing me to connect my passion and purpose in my career.