Refuel Your Energy Before You Run Out
I was driving home from a Qigong retreat up in Queensland recently when I realised we were a little low on gas.
The first gas station we passed had a queue. The second we missed whilst my friend and I were too busy chatting. And the third and fourth were on the other sides of the road so we figured it was too much of an effort to turn around for them.
Before we knew it, we were on the motorway, the needle was dangerously close to empty, and we still had hours of our journey ahead.
As the red empty line approached, we were finally forced to take one of the off ramps to find a station. We managed to refuel, but the detour then added an additional 37 kilometres of small winding country roads to our already long journey. It was hard not to be totally annoyed and frustrated with myself for not stopping earlier.
This got me thinking how often this type of thing happened to me and the leaders I work with.
We are often so focused on the outcome, achieving the result, ensuring our team has what they need or meeting client expectations that we don’t realise when our own energy reserves are getting dangerously close to empty.
A good friend of mine likes to say he cultivates deep reserves of time, energy and money.
Of all of those, I say energy is the most important. We can always make more money. We can refocus, delegate and make better use of our time. But we can’t do either of those, or much of anything else if we have no energy.
There is a reason we are told to ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’. It’s a cliché and sometimes flippant to say, but I explore this deeply in my workshops and personal coaching because quite literally, if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you risk passing out and then not only can you not help anyone, but you become a liability and a burden yourself.
Just as taking the time to stop and add gas to your car is what will help you get home quicker, taking time out from your non-stop busy-ness to build deep reserves of energy is what will enable you to keep going, keep showing up, and keep serving the people you lead or solve problems for.
So, what usually holds us back from incorporating energy cultivation practices into our day?
The main excuse that people try to get me to buy into all the time is that they don’t have the time.
You may be nodding your head and agreeing with that excuse for your own life.
Did you know there is a Zen proverb that suggests that ‘everyone should sit in mediation for 20 minutes every day – unless they are too busy, then they should sit for an hour.’ When I first read this, I laughed out loud as I felt it was directed at me personally.
I’ve come to realise it is all about priorities. If it isn’t a priority of yours, or you haven’t yet been introduced to the benefits of creating deep reserves of energy for yourself whether through mediation or other forms, then doing something to refuel you will not find space in your calendar.
And what works for one person may not work for another, so you need to do your own work to find out what recharges you. Common activities include exercise, meditation, eating healthy meals, shutting your computer down after work or simply turning your phone off so you can enjoy a show with your family. For me its first thing in the morning before the kids wake up or my ‘busy’ day starts. I use Qigong as a way to move my body, cultivate energy and quieten the mind all at the same time.
Whatever you find, if it helps you show up better, feeling revitalised and rejuvenated, then it is worth finding the time for it.
How do you refuel?