You would think with some parts of the economy resurging and millions of new jobs starting to emerge that there would be a buzz of energy and optimism in the workplace, but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, that’s not the case.
The reason is simple. Employees today have more reasons than ever to be disillusioned, disheartened and disengaged.
In addition to the normal factors that influence employee engagement like culture, compensation, and career path, employees today now carry some new and more intense issues brought on by the various responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The people that were furloughed will likely be bitter upon their return; Those that were let go and not asked to return will likely bring some weighty trust issues to their next employer; And those that are currently taking jobs they don’t really want just so they can pay their bills will be unmotivated and disengaged. The cumulative effect of all these challenges is a massive drain on workplace energy, and as we all know, energy is THE critical element needed for growth and sustainable success.
As nature teaches us, whatever you give energy to grows and flourishes, and whatever you cut-off energy from declines and withers away. The same is true in an organization, your team(s), and your family’s culture.
Unfortunately, ‘Energy’ is not something you can simply give someone. It must be generated within the person themselves. It’s another area where some level of “personal responsibility” is required. The good news, however is that energy is contagious. Once a few people are genuinely energized, it quickly spreads like a wildfire to others.
With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to promote higher energy, both in yourself and the people around you, and it all starts with your own personal energy. Whether you are a high-level leader, a mid-level manager, or an employee on the lowest rung on the ladder, your personal energy influences everything.
The best way to start is to evaluate your energy on a 10-point scale, with 1 being comatose (your alive but no one can tell), and 10 being the enthusiasm of child getting their first puppy. Now consider what energy level you’ve been living at consistently? You certainly don’t have to be at level 10 all the time (in fact that can be annoying), but the key is that you want to be around a level 8 or above at all times.
How do you do that?
Here are a few quick tips:
- Identity: Make a decisive shift in your identity and give yourself the title of CEO (Chief Energy Officer), in your organization or in your family, then commit to being an energy giver at all times.
- Perspective: Keep in mind that at any moment in time, there are people all over the world literally on their knees praying for a life just like yours. You see, we all have a fantasy reel playing in our minds of how life should be, so when our real life isn’t living up to the fantasy version, we feel sadness and despair. This explains how some people with very little are super happy and excited about life, and how some with everything (by the world’s standards), can’t find the joy in anything. It’s ok, even important, to dream for a better life, but don’t let the fantasy become your benchmark for happiness and fulfillment.
- Body Language: This isn’t about frantic movement, it’s about aligning your body movement with the energy level you desire. Your posture, pace, voice qualities, gestures, breathing, and especially your face! That’s right, your facial expressions have a dramatic impact on your energy, and those around you. Try this exercise. Without ever saying a word, put a genuine smile on your face and raise your eyebrows as you point to someone approaching you. This simple gesture combined with the right facial expression makes people feel you are genuinely excited to see them. I think you’ll be amazed how much this one little trick can energize yourself and everyone you meet.
- Ask Better Questions: Your brain does not have the ability to say, “Does Not Compute!”. It will answer ANY question you give it to the best of its ability. So, if you ask yourself questions like, “Why am I such a loser?”, your brain will give you an answer. In fact, it will give you many answers, “Well, you’re fat, stupid, undisciplined, smoke too much, people don’t like you, …”, Ugh. No fun at all! On the other hand, if you ask yourself a better question, like, “How can I make today better than yesterday?”, your brain will once again find answers. It will come up with things like, “You can read a good book, give someone a compliment, change up your routine, exercise, do something kind to pay it forward in some way, etc.”. See how this works? I have a series of morning questions that I read through every morning as I’m getting dressed that engage my mind in productive ways. It’s amazing how much this one little ritual impacts my energy level for the entire day.
- Control the Controllables. Don’t let yourself travel down the rabbit hole of despair by dwelling on things that are beyond your control. Simply release such matters to the universe and move on to things that you can directly influence. Instead of focusing on situations and problems that drain the energy from your life, focus instead on ways to create an environment that promotes it.
Make no mistake about it, your energy is your example. People may forget what you said or how you said it, but they will never forget your energy. It literally defines you.
Doug Hanson is the President of Doug Hanson Performance Group, an organization committed to helping people and the organizations they work for Become Greater! He is an award-winning speaker, author, Emmy® Award winning producer, and a leading authority on creating an engaged workforce. He is also the creator of MetaMorePhosis.com, a revolutionary approach for creating energized and self-directed employees through personal responsibility and self-development.
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