Accessing Your Hidden Reservoir of Energy
What makes people shine at work (and everywhere else in life) isn't what you'd expect. It's not IQ, it's not the college you went to, it's not the family grew up in. It's not even the number of successes you've had. More than anything else, it's the level of energy you have. Energy is critical to success.
The most successful guy I've treated—someone who essentially runs the entertainment business in LA—went to a college I'd never heard of. He never thought that he was smart, and he suffered a million setbacks. But because this guy has more energy than the rest of us, he does more before breakfast than most of us do in a week.
As a therapist I wanted to figure out how to help my other patients increase their energy so they could not just meet life's demands but go after the things they'd always longed for, whether in work or some other area of life. What I discovered was surprising. You can build your energy by doing small things you think you don’t have the energy to do.
At the end of the workday, instead of avoiding a difficult email or phone call, make it. When you get home, instead of escaping into TV, play with your kids and have a conversation with your spouse. If you live alone and usually get take out, cook a meal.
When you do the things you feel you can’t do, you find hidden reserves of energy. And the more your energy system expands, the more successful you are in all areas of your life—at work, at home, in your community, etc.
We assume our energy is finite. If I start the day with 10 units of energy and expend 9 units at work, we go home determined to hoard that last unit. But the truth is we have an infinite amount of energy. I challenge people to test this out. Do things you don't think you have the energy to do. You’ll see, most of the time, you’ll find you have more energy than you thought you had. By expending energy you get more energy!
I experienced this myself decades ago when my kids were young and I was seeing as many patients as I could, between 10 and 12 a day. Just imagine what it's like to have that many people complaining to you all day long! It’s exhausting. I always felt bad because I wanted to bring the best to my family, like I had to my patients. So I decided to test this idea of limitless energy. I decided to walk through the front door and act as if I had all an infinite amount of energy. It felt like an act for 5 or 10 minutes, but after that it was amazing—I really had more energy!
I'm not saying people have an unlimited amount of physical energy—at some point you need to rest or sleep. But how do you know if you really need sleep, or need to tap into the infinite energy I’m talking about? Do an experiment.
I'm 63 now and sometimes in the middle of the day I get tired. But I often have writing I want to do, so to test if I'm really tired I set a timer for 10 minutes and write as if my life depends on it. If at the end of the 10 minutes I'm still truly exhausted, I'll close my computer and take a nap. And that's fine with me. But what I find is that 70 to 80% of the time just the overcoming of that block—just the willingness to try—actually brings more energy up from my unconscious and I get really involved in what I'm writing. The timer will go off and I'll keep writing for another hour.
The next time you're tired, give it a try. You can also combine it with the Vortex, our tool for tapping into a source of infinite energy. You'll be surprised how much energy is waiting to be found.
To hear more from Barry about how to be successful in work and life, listen to his conversation with Pete Mockaitis on the podcast How to Be Awesome at Your Job.