Our second guest contributor is Leadership Coach Robbie Swale, who offers some vital tips on how to renew our four types of energy to get the best out of life.
Inspired by Interview Series Waking Up The Workplace, and in particular consultant Tony Schwartz’s Energy Project, Leadership Coach Robbie Swale explores how we can better understand our own energy reserves, and find ways to renew them.
‘The key principle of Schwartz’ work on the Energy Project focuses on that inevitable fact that we all have the same amount of time in the day. In the end, we run out of time, and in the modern world, with more pulls on our time than ever before, that happens all too quickly. We then have a choice: we can try to spend more time working on things, or we can think about productivity. And what we need to be productive, is energy. The energy we have affects not only the quantity of work we can get done in a certain amount of time, but the quality of that work. In workplaces which prize quantity of hours over quantity and quality of work, such a culture might encourage 18 hour days. But would you rather have 18 hours of someone working at 20% of their capacity, or 10 hours of someone working at 80% of their capacity? The answer is obvious.
We need, therefore, to refuel ourselves, and Schwartz and the Energy Project give us a powerful guide for how to do that. Broadly, says Schwartz, humans need to refuel four types of energy to be at our best (and most fulfilled and – if you ask me – most happy). Indeed, as he says in that interview, ‘The only resources that last are the ones we learn to renew.’ Since listening to this episode in 2012, and particularly since leaving my last employed job three years ago today (congratulations, me!), I have used these types of energy as a way to stay fuelled and enable myself to work better and feel better while doing it.
In the moment we are all living through right now, with all our routines broken and our stability taken away, our practices for looking after ourselves have become doubly important. So, in your mostly home-bound life, consider: how can you refuel each of these, every day.
Physical energy: this affects the quantity of energy you have. Look after your body.
Emotional energy: this affects the quality of the energy you have.
Mental energy: this affects the focus you are able to bring to your energy.
Spiritual energy: this affects the purpose you put your energy to.
To recharge your physical energy, ask yourself: am I looked after? Find the ways to look after your body: exercise, sleep, eat well and more.
To recharge your emotional energy, ask yourself: am I valued? Find the ways to look after your emotions: connect with people however you can. Connect with yourself, work on positive energy both for yourself and others.
To recharge your mental energy, ask yourself: am I given the opportunity to express myself, especially focusing on one thing for a long period? Give yourself those opportunities to focus for a long period. That could be on something which expressed your unique gift, but including meditation, reading, running.
To recharge your spiritual energy, ask yourself: am I part of something bigger than myself? Connect yourself to something bigger, whether that is nature or your family or the reason you get up every morning and do the work you do. Find meaning in your work, your life.
These things are always vital but, as the old zen saying goes, ‘I meditate for an hour a day, except when I’m busy. Then I meditate for two hours a day.’
I need this advice as much as anyone: right now, if you are in lockdown and struggling with isolation, double down on the ways you recharge your energy. At least, do your best.’
Author: Robbie Swale
I’ve known Robbie for over a decade now, firstly as a colleague and then as a coach. For anyone feeling stuck in their lives or careers I’d recommend reaching out to him, you’ll find a kind and inspirational mentor. https://www.robbieswalecoaching.com/