It's Barbecue season...and my "barbie" started making a crazy high pitched hissing noise the other evening (luckily after
the salmon was cooked.) My wise dinner guest who knows about such machines said I needed a new "regulator"...something about regulating the gas flow...(?) I figured it might be an essential part, so off I trotted to Canadian Tire.
As with a gas barbecue, disaster can strike if your personal energy flow is not being regulated properly. It has been a theme with my coaching clients this month to be experiencing "energy drain", "exhaustion" and a feeling of early summer burn-out. Upon closer examination, it is clear that they all needed to adjust their "energy in-flow" valve.
The balance of your energy in/out flow is easy to see by filling in an "Energy flow" grid - (download a free pdf of your "Energy flow" grid here) , or
just take a piece of paper and made 3 columns. On the left side write "energy in-flow"...on the right side write "energy out-flow"...in the centre column write "energy exchange".
Underneath the right hand column, list everything and everybody in your life that requires your energy going outward - to other people, to other activities, with nothing coming back to you...that is your "give,give,give" column.
In the centre column, list all of your activities and the people in your life where there is an "energy exchange" - that is - you both give energy and get it back.
In the left column, list all of the activities and people that give you energy exclusively - your "in-flow".
Now, take a good hard look at the grid. If there is a high degree of activity and people in your life in the centre column, good! An energy exchange is the most powerful place to connect and live joyfully in this world. If your detail is heavily weighted on the "Out-flow" column (as in my clients case), you need to seriously examine the activities and people in that column and assess if any of those can be eliminated. Then take a look at your "In-flow" column - that column should be at least equally balanced with your outflow column.
Chances are, if you are feeling energy-drained and exhausted, that you probably have very little coming in to feed you in the "in-flow" column. Essentially, your reserves are being used up and, until you replenish your stores, you will continue to feel worse and worse.
4 steps to regulating your Energy flow
Fill out the grid, and see what energy balance you have in your life. Connect that reality with how you are feeling - energized, enthusiastic and rarin' to go...OR...tired, depleted, stressed...
2/ Reduce the Out-flow:
Can any activities in that column be eliminated or reduced? Are there any people in that column that you can reduce the time you spend with them?
3/ Increase the In-flow:
Sometimes it takes only a small tweak of the in-flow valve to make a difference - 15 minutes a day alone in meditative "non-doing" time, a walk in the sunshine at lunch instead of eating at your desk, an hour in the garden etc. It is critical that you have activity and people that are feeding you.
4/ Cherish the Exchange:
Oh yeah, I know you feel it too - those activities and people that you feel an exchange of energy with -where you give and you also receive - are the most nourishing, fulfilling and joy-creating. Keep those, hold them close, cherish and grow those exchanges.