At One of many our Soft Power principle number one is “First, replenish your energy” – and as a doctor, you might expect me to advocate eight hours sleep a night, regular exercise, or an energy-boosting diet.
Those things are all great. But most of us are already doing our best with them. There’s a more powerful question to dig into if you really want to shift the way we’re able to show up for the causes we love.
Where are you losing your energy?
For most of us, there are two big areas where we find ourselves “leaking” energy:
Saying “yes”, and saying “no”.
Let me explain.
Energy leak #1: Saying NO
For some of us, saying NO is costing us a huge amount of energy.
I remember this most vividly from drama school. The school I attended had this amazing motto: “Good humans make good actors”. So as you might expect, as well as the skills training to learn to act there was a lot of personal development type stuff going on.
Initially, I found myself resisting it. Even though I’d made the bold choice to quit my medical career and attend, there was still a part of me that felt really out of my comfort zone. Eventually, I realized that it was actually taking me more energy to say no, explain why I wasn’t going to do something or why I didn’t do it, and to try and hold myself back from the experience than it would to actually just say yes and have a go.
Can you relate?
There’s often a part of us that works really, really hard to protect us from making a mistake, or failing, or looking stupid, or whatever our biggest fear is.
So you might say no to new experiences because you’re worried about failure.
Or about what other people might think – your colleagues, or your partner, or your parents, or your kids. Maybe you’re even worried about what you might think about yourself.
If that’s the case for you, I invite you to ponder this:
How much energy is it taking you to say “no” to opportunities that involve some perceived risk, as opposed to just letting rip and getting it “wrong”?
(The wonderful thing is – you can get it wrong. You’ll learn, and grow, and try again.)
You might be bringing so much energy to saying “no” to things, you’ve lost sight of the fact that it’s actually easier to be a yes. Especially at the beginning of something, when you’re not yet in momentum, yes can be everything.
So if you’ve been saying that you want to start writing your novel, or learn a new skill, or get back into yoga, it might be that one tiny yes is all it needs.
Don’t wait for things to be perfect.
Write for half an hour after the kids are in bed, or stretch for 10 minutes before your morning coffee. Just do what it takes to bring that “yes” energy in and see what gets freed up when you’re no longer resisting.
Energy leak #2: Saying YES
Now, once we start saying yes, then comes the next problem. Because for many of us, when we start saying yes to things we find ourselves expending way too much energy on all the things we’re agreeing to.
Someone says, “Can we have coffee?” You say yes before you even thought about it.
Can you handle this extra project?
Can you take the minutes at this meeting… can you drop everything and pick up the kids from school… can you sort out the car’s MOT
… it never ends, right?
If you find yourself saying yes to everything and ending up completely overwhelmed, it’s time to bring some no in.
You’re showering energy everywhere rather than your vision – no wonder you’re struggling to find the mojo you need to make a difference.
The simplest question in the world
So here’s what we’ve discovered.
Some of us, in some contexts, need to bring more “yes” into our lives.
Some of us, in some contexts, need to bring a lot more no.
Knowing which is where your discernment comes in.
So here’s a super simple exercise to start off with – this only needs to take 5 minutes, but it can bring you a huge level of insight into where you can tweak things to free up your energy.
Grab a paper and a pen, and think about the different areas of your life which are not currently satisfying you.
You can have a look across a few different areas, but start off with one.
The question to ask is this: Do you need more yes energy or more no energy?
Write for 5 minutes, just freeflow without censoring, and see what comes up.
What would the Queen do?
The Queen is the Women’s PowerType we use to delve into questions like this. The Queen’s always mindful of how she spends her energy, and since she trusts herself implicitly, and knows in her bones how irreplaceably valuable her time and energy are, she doesn’t second guess decisions.
So if you’re finding answering the question challenging, you might want to try stepping into your “Queen” energy.
You could literally imagine placing a crown on your head, try walking a little taller or listen to a piece of music that helps you feel confident and in charge.
Turning insight into action
Once you’ve established the direction your pendulum needs to swing in, it’s time to take action.
If you could do with an extra hand, we have a free guide to making powerful decisions around boundaries that are depleting your energy.
Click here to download your free Enough is Enough PDF guide to creating unshakeable boundaries.
How about you?
Are you the Queen of powerful boundaries, or more of a “say yes first, ask questions later” kind of gal? Share in the comments below – between us all, we’ve got all the bases covered!
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