Greetings from Boston, lovelies. I’m here for a women’s leadership conference put on by my company, which means I’ve spent the day hearing incredible women speak about becoming better leaders, what they’ve learned along the way, and what they wish they had known sooner. What a gold mine. I could, and likely will, write several blog posts about things I’ve learned here, but there’s one that is just jumping from my fingertips to the page, so that one goes first. The concept is about energizing and depleting.
Here’s the basic concept: different activities will not “use up” equal amounts of your energy. Some activities may actually add to your energy (“energizing” activities) while others will use up your energy, some much more than others (“depleting” activities). The same activity can be energizing to one person and depleting to the next. When you realize and consciously notice which activities are energizing, and which are depleting, you can dramatically increase your satisfaction, stamina, and productivity in a few ways .The first is to deliberately plan your day around energizing and depleting activities so that you never drop too far down into a depleted, burned-out energy zone. So, if you start your day at a normal, mid or high-range energy level but you have several difficult things to do that day, instead of knocking them all out in a row (taking a difficult phone call, followed by completing a difficult task, followed by a challenging meeting) at which point you are completely burned out and essentially useless by the time noon arrives, you can be more strategic. Start your day by knocking out the difficult phone call, but the plan a fun lunch, or a workout, or a task that you enjoy to bring your energy levels back up to a mid or high point before you tackle the next difficult thing, so the trajectory is more up and down (but generally all still in the mid or high zone) rather than down, down, and more down until you are totally fried.
Of course, to do this you have to be self-aware enough to know what things are energizing and what things are depleting. I suspect that if you take a moment to think about it the answers will be evident, but if you’ve never heard this idea before it might be a revelation to you. The first time I consciously thought about energizing activities it totally changed the way I pursued work—that wasn’t today, but it was a huge moment for me. Because I realized that there are activities in my professional life that might be equally as “valuable” to my job and to my clients, but one is energizing to me while the other is completely exhausting and depleting.
Today, as we were having this conversation, I was thinking about coaching. In the last month, my energy, drive, and excitement have been extremely high—not just when I’m working on my coaching business, but throughout my personal and professional life. Adding an activity that stretches and challenges me in so many ways has improved my performance as an attorney, even though the two are seemingly completely unrelated. Beachbody coaching requires me to put myself out there in scary ways (talking frankly about my personal fitness journey and my decision to start this side business) and it requires me to push myself physically and try new things on a daily basis. When I said yes to coaching, it scared the crap out of me to talk about it in a public way. I need to post about this on social media!? Noooo thank you. What will people THINK about that?? But feeling the fear and doing it anyway pushed me to a new level. It taught me that doing something that I wanted to do, even if it was scary and even if people judged it, felt amazing. And I can’t even tell you what a difference that has made in my personal and professional life. Game. Changer. Coaching is also an added activity, that I would have thought could be draining. But the hours I’m putting in as a coach—exercising, checking in with my challenge groups, learning from experienced coaches—are adding so much more to my day than they take away. I honestly think that the benefit to my professional life as an attorney is so great that it wouldn’t really matter whether I ever found success in my coaching business.
BUT, as an added bonus, today I did achieve the first milestone in my coaching career. The broader team of coaches that I am on is led by an amazing woman who was a sorority sister of mine in college, and she has built a team of more than 175 coaches in the last two years. Every week, she recognizes the top ten performers from her team, and this week I was one of them! This was a big surprise to me, and I saw the notification on a break during our leadership session—what an incredible feeling. Talk about energizing!!
When I started coaching, I knew that I loved the workout programs Beachbody offered and that Shakeology didn’t make me sick (I didn’t yet know if I loved it, which I now do, but at the time I just knew I didn’t hate it and that was enough). But I couldn’t really answer the question of what I wanted out of it or where I saw myself going with it. I knew I didn’t want to quit my job as a lawyer, and many of the women who are really successful at coaching do quit their jobs. Extra income is nice, but I really didn’t get into it for the money. So…what did I want, exactly? It dawned on me during a run last weekend that what I really want is to be a kickass corporate leader, who also has an army of wellness warriors on the side. I totally want to find and grow my fitness tribe with bright, enthusiastic people who want to help others improve their health and their lives. YES! Yes to that. And I also want to keep doing my thing as a corporate attorney and continue to improve myself as a leader in that area. And what’s truly amazing about that is that each activity makes me better at the other. The leadership skills, and confidence, and energy that I build in one area spills over into the other, and elevates every role that I play in my life. Because it’s energizing, and that energy goes into everything I do...as a wife, a coach, a lawyer, a stepmom, a dog mom…so I’m THRILLED with that. And if it reading that gives you an excited butterfly feeling that makes you want to join my tribe, I’m hiring. Get at me.
But even if coaching isn’t your thing, you need to think about what your thing is. What makes you feel excited? What wakes you up when you’re lethargic? What GIVES you energy instead of taking it away? And how can you work THAT stuff into your life, knowing that the time you spend doing that will actually come back to you twofold because the energy it creates will allow you to be more productive in other areas of your life? Think about it. Talk to me about it. I’m dying to know.