There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Assuming you sleep 7 hours, this means you are awake and able to consciously choose how to spend about 1,000 minutes of energy every day.
Too often, we fall into a reactive mode in life. We all know that juggling 100 balls, and splitting our focus into pieces, is counter-intuitive to our productivity, health, and happiness. We've all been stretched too thin to the point where we know we are not doing anything well.
Did you know that you have the power to take back control of your energy at any moment? It's true. You can decide right now that you alone will determine where you direct your energy.
According to theologist and inspirational phenomena Rob Bell, we are all the "stewards" of our energy. "No one better than ourselves can guard our energy and be intentional about how it is spent."
Why do we waste our energy?
On his podcast entitled "You The Steward," Bell shares that the reason we negatively or incorrectly invest our energy into the wrong things is because we have not identified something significant which is deserving of our energy... something bigger than ourselves.
We all have energy to give. Physiologically, we must expend energy. If we don't intentionally select a positive direction, than we will expend it in a negative way.
Understanding the power of our energy, and its impact on ourselves and others, is the core of self-awareness.
Our personal growth expands in direct proportion to how well we understand the power of our own energy.
How do we waste our energy?
Bell shares 4 ways in which we tend to waste our energy:
1: Saying "yes" to everything.
Can you easily answer the question, "What is it that I am supposed to be doing?" If you can't, then you will say yes to too many things, and to the wrong things.
The more clarity you have on what you are supposed to be doing, the more you can say, "That is not my role."
Your Call to Action: Review your "Yes" list. Identify those obligations that were driven by a desire to please others, to fill time, or out of guilt, and are not aligned with your higher purpose. Step away from as many as possible.
2: Talking about what you are going to do, instead of doing it.
Especially in today's world where self-promotion and marketing hype is king, people expend tremendous time, money, and energy promoting what is coming. We are a "look-at-me" society. Imagine if you could re-direct and harness the power of even half that energy into actually doing what you are hyping.
Your Call to Action: Have a project or a goal you've been delaying? Start TODAY. One step. Just start. When you feel the urge to tell someone about it, re-direct the energy into DOING.
3: Trying to enroll people in your path and purpose.
Everyone has their own path. To move forward on your path, you don't require enrollment, support, or even understanding. You are here to invest your energies in a particular way, and that way doesn't include convincing others to buy into your path.
People buy into results. If you want others to support your path, deliver an outcome rather than a promise. Demonstrate how you have transformed the lives of others. People will support you because your results are aligned with their personal path. They will not support you simply for the sake of supporting you.
As Simon Sinek explained in his TED Talk, "How Great Leaders Inspire Action," Martin Luther King Juniors' supporters didn't travel across the country to Washington, DC in blistering heat for him. They showed up on the National Mall for themselves because his message aligned with their personal dreams and path.
Your Call to Action: Remind yourself that you don't need approval to follow your path. Again, stop talking and start doing.
4: Picking the wrong battles.
When we aren't aligned with our higher purpose, and we aren't focused on issues or outcomes of significance, it's easy to get worked up over trivial issues because we have to care about something. All of the nonsense sucks up our energy, and distracts us from focusing on people, experiences and outcomes that really matter.
Society as a whole is guilty of this behavior. We've transformed insignificant events into meaningful information, as evidenced with our obsession with the Kardashians, and Brad Pitt's divorce. Is that really worth your limited and valuable energy?
Your Call to Action: Before engaging in a battle or focusing on someone else's drama, ask yourself, "Is it REALLY worth my energy? Does it REALLY matter? How is this distracting me from my higher purpose?"
Restoring your energy
Remember: how you allocate your energy is a reflection of how well you understand the power and worth of your energy. If you find yourself depleted of energy, conduct an "energy audit" to assess where your energy is going.
Your personal growth is directly related to your understanding of the power of your energy. With a heightened awareness of the power of your energy, your understanding that you are in control of your energy, and a desire to take back your power, you will continue to evolve.