How to Increase Your Energy Capacity in 2019
Written by Melissa Kessler, MA, PCC
Most of the leaders I work with are overworked, pushing harder than ever before, and running on near empty. Stress is inevitable in these VUCA times (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous), but it’s also not the problem. The problem is that most of us run at full throttle for extended periods of time without sufficient recovery. We don’t build in time to re-energize and re-charge our batteries. According to The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, athletes spend about 90% of their time training and only 10% of their time performing. In the business world, we do just the opposite, spending 10% or less of our time on training and building capacity. Athletes increase their capacity and endurance by stressing their muscles to the limit, and then spending adequate time in recovery. The average person is under-stressed physically, engaging in physical exercise less than 3 hours per week, but over-stressed mentally and emotionally.
Resilience is really a combination of endurance and recovery. Without either, we can’t go the distance or overcome obstacles and setbacks. Energy capacity is required to maximize our performance, bounce back from stress and hardship, and be fully engaged at work and in our lives. As human beings, we have 4 sources of energy to draw upon: physical (the most fundamental), emotional, mental, and spiritual. It is rare to find a person who has optimized their energy and performance in all 4 areas, meaning they are “physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned.” Most of us struggle to optimize in just 1 or 2 of these areas.
As we start the New Year, I invite you to take a look at where you can build in rituals for recovery, renewal and endurance in order to increase your resilience and energy capacity. Some examples are below.
- Eat healthy (eliminate processed foods)
- Get enough sleep (7-8 hours each night)
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day
- Drink plenty of water
- Exercise regularly (cardio, strength training, stretching)
- Develop emotional self-awareness (how you are feeling and why)
- Practice regulating emotions (emotional self-management)
- Develop empathy for others
- Nurture interpersonal relationships
- Increase self-confidence
- Practice daily gratitude
- Engage in meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness exercises
- Practice visualization
- Engage in positive self-talk (affirmations)
- Stop mental rumination
- Practice learned optimism
- Be clear on your values and live your values
- Find meaning and purpose in your work
- Do what you are passionate about
- Find ways to serve others
- Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment
May we all go into the New Year fully engaged, with a renewed sense of energy and focus. May 2019 be a year of increased energy capacity and resilience for all of us.
“Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.” – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement
“The longer, more continuously, and later at night you work, the less efficient and more mistake-prone you become.” – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement
“We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our normal limits, and then recovering.” – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement