by Karen Susman
In the movie, All the President’s Men, when Bob Woodward tries to get information from Deep Throat about Watergate, Deep Throat answers, “Follow the money.” I take that to mean if you want to find out information, follow the money trail. Follow where and how money is being spent.
Recently, I’ve been following the energy in an effort to find out where and how my energy is being spent. Goal: to learn what fuels my mojo. I love what I do. I could speak to groups and organizations and companies seven days a week. I could train people to speak or manage stress or network or communicate straight eight days a week. I could coach/consult people who want to be at ease communicating with humans before and after every gig. These activities energize me. Yet I hear the words, “I’m so tired” coming out of my mouth daily.
I’ve been working with a coach, Nigel Clayton, on a trial basis. I was hesitant to work with a coach because I know it all and I’m cheap.
Besides that, I’m ambivalent about coaching. The coaching I provide clients is more consultative and direct than newfangled coaching. I work on specific skills. I didn’t want a coach to ask me the certified coach’s list of generic questions so I can become more “authentic.”
I’m about as authentic as apple pie made from scratch. Many times during my career I’ve yearned to be less authentic. I wished I could put on a facade. Cool sophistication would be sublime. Aloof would be alluring. Flirty would be fresh. Alas, I’m me.
After hearing me whine about weariness, Nigel asked me to write down all the areas I loved about my work and all the areas I didn’t love. His theory is that when I spend my energy doing what I love, I get a boost. And, when I trudge through the tasks I dread, I end up pooped.
To escape those draining tasks I find myself reading just one more chapter of a Mary Higgins Clark mystery, and popping bonbons into my maw. Assignment: follow the energy.
This assignment coincided with my listening to CDs about working on your strengths instead of trying to prop up your weaknesses. Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach echoes Marcus Buckingham author of Now Discover Your Strengths. Sullivan said that when he spent lots of effort working on his weaknesses, he ended up with really strong weaknesses.
Nigel’s wants me to find people to do the tasks I find depleting. He assures me there are people out there who are energized by the kind of work on my don’t want to-do list. Of course I resist spending money, but I’ll get over it. Supposedly I’ll make more moola by being in front of more audiences and coaching/consulting clients.
What would it mean for you to follow the energy? Pay attention to the things you love to do. These can be difficult, time consuming physical or mental activities. Yet, when completed, you mop your brow and beg for more. Pay attention to what you’re passionate about. On the other hand, pay attention to those tasks, activities and people who suck all the goodie out of you. Do more of the former and less of the later.
In these tough economic times, we must do things we don’t love to do in order to put pizza on the table. It takes a leap of faith to focus on what energizes you and find others to do the rest. It takes setting boundaries to keep the energy drainers out of your life so you can hang with the energizers.
Your energy is all you’ve got. It’s your natural resource. If you’re depleting it on your weaknesses and negative people, you won’t have energy for the activities that bring you joy and the big bucks.
“Follow the money” usually has to do with politics and a political campaign. Start your own campaign to be more successful in all areas of your life by following the energy.
Karen Susman, Speaker/Author/Coach, works with organizations and individuals that want to maximize their performance and quality of life. Check out her free tips and articles at www.karensusman.com. Karen can be reached at 1-888-678-8818 or [email protected].