Fists were banging on the table while expletives were being used as verbs. It was late and everyone could feel the stress, worry, and anxiety in the room. I left the scene and started walking the streets alone. It took me quite a long time to calm down. I called a friend and vented to him releasing all of the responses I kept corked at the fubar dinner meeting.
Everything changed for me that night. Deeper than the chaos, deeper than the unruly behavior, I uncovered a few pivotal questions,
“Aaron, what depletes you?
What erodes you from the inside out?
What sucks the Life out of you?”
Before this moment, I never took the time to intentionally define exactly what depletes my emotional energy. The only vocabulary I knew to express my internal disconnect was “Stressed, anxious and overwhelmed”. That night, I started writing them all down.
- Fast pace of life
- Yelling and screaming
- Endless email inbox
- Difficult conversations
- Business travel that lasts more than three nights away
- Working fourteen-hour days
- Being over scheduled with meeting after meeting after meeting
- Being in leadership
As you read my list you might think they are overly simple, they are. The simplicity is the power. There is power in naming what sucks our energy away. There is power in knowing ourselves well enough to recognize when we are in a situation that we know [insert little cartoon bubble appearing above your head] “this is going to drain my emotional energy.”
Energy Management Strategy
By developing a personal energy-zapping punch list, I can now name the root causes of my stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. I now have situational awareness and understand why I’m experiencing discomfort.
In turn, I now understand the importance of creating a strategy for emotional calorie replenishment. I can appropriately account for the depletion of emotional calories and begin seeding in nutrients to regain my emotional energy strength.
Life can get better.
We’re not robots we are human.
Our emotional energy powers everything good in our work, life, and play.
Start by paying attention to your emotional energy levels and name what or who sucks the life out of you.