July 6, 2022
What it Means to Cultivate Infectious Energy
Among the most important skills I’ve learned in my entrepreneurial journey is how to manage my energy. I want my energy to be infectious because I want to make a positive impact on everyone I come into contact with. I see it as my responsibility as a leader to teach my team how to expand and renew their own energy.
While time is finite, limited to 24-hours a day, energy is different. We don’t always control the amount of time we have on this planet, but we can most certainly control the energy we give to the time we do have. It comes from wellsprings…”that can be systematically expanded and renewed,” according to research detailed in the Harvard Business Review.
I’ve seen in my own life and in my employees that identifying those wellsprings and taking time to feed them actually helps them expand their capacity to do high quality work.
Most people have pretty good instincts about what makes them feel energized and what drains them. The goal first is to identify those behaviors that build us up and create habits around engaging in them as often as possible.
There are four kinds of energy I focus on: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
The days we come to work well-rested are not only less stressful, but I regularly see evidence that they are also more productive.
CEOs are often guilty of working with reckless abandon toward their goals, foregoing sleep and other important energy-builders, but keep an eye out for employees who have these tendencies as well. It’s great to have hard workers on the payroll, but we don’t want any of our employees sacrificing their health by burning the candle at both ends.
Watching what you eat and how it impacts your performance can be fruitful as well. Everybody’s different and should really pay attention to the right nutrition for great health and energy creation. I follow a diet that includes fasting, intermittent fasting, Keto diet (limiting sugar intake) and supplements that help me build energy.
Exercise is another key source of physical energy. I’m an active runner and participated in a triathlon this year, which motivated me to stick with my exercise regimen and injected some fun into my workouts. I live by a disciplined creed that guides me in almost every situation. One part of that is to always be training for something – it is rewarding in so many ways. I try and balance all disciplines of exercise with routines that improve my flexibility, strength and endurance.
Physical energy starts to get depleted when we don’t build in rest and recovery. I take days off from my exercise routine, usually once a week. Investing in recovery methods after workouts are very helpful. I specifically subscribe to hot/cold therapy where I’ll spend time in a sauna after the workout and immediately hit the cold shower/ice bath. Again, little ways to invest in my recovery increases my energy. The Harvard research I mentioned earlier shows that brief breaks from work every 90 to 120 minutes results in better productivity.
I also keep a seven-and-a-half-hour nightly sleep habit to rest my mind and body. This commitment helps me feel charged up every morning and to go to bed in the evening feeling accomplished and settled.
I don’t know about you, but have you ever wondered why you procrastinate some activities and others you initiate and time flies effortlessly while you are immersed? I have. This may not be for you, but I use this as inspiration that I have ample energy at any given moment. I think about times where I am lethargic and/or procrastinating activities by imagining I just received a call that I won the largest Powerball lottery. No matter, how tired I think I am, I imagine that I would find ways to overcome that low energy and show extreme excitement.
I know that example is extreme, but it reminds me that when I involve myself with activities that excite me, time flies. I call this Flow. Staying in flow is the secret to maintaining high levels of energy. I could be wrong, but I feel there are a few ways of doing this. First, invest in yourself, find and commit the time to fill your cup with things you love. I really enjoy golfing, skiing, boating, and travelling. Doing these things are investments in my energy. Second, although I find time flies with my favorite hobbies, I haven’t found where the rest of the world has found much value in it. So, I also look for areas I enjoy spending time that intersects with increasing value to the world (see IKIGAI blog). The more I spend time in those areas, the greater my energy. I love inspiring, creating, innovating, and accomplishing challenges. When doing these things time flies, like developing game-changing products that enable each of our associates to grow and achieve their personal goals. It’s a win for society, it’s a win for our customers, it’s a win for our employees and it energizes the heck out of me. Finally, we all have these tasks in life that we would rather not do but are necessary. These tasks can easily be procrastinated, and I have done it. For me, however, they leave these open loops in my mind and detract from my energy. So, I batch these tasks and commit time on my calendar to close these loops. I visualize how much better I feel once all these tasks are behind me.
Negative emotions like fear, shame, guilt, and anger create energy deficits. I know CEOs (I was one of them) who use these feelings to drive themselves. The grudge or chip on your shoulder to prove I am worthy drives unhealthy affirmations from my work. It prevents me from connecting with people and ideas that are in my heart. But rather than attracting what you’re working toward, feeding these emotions puts you in the position of forcing success. When you’re on the Path of Force, creative insights are blocked, you can’t see opportunities, and work usually feels like pushing through heavy mud.
Instead I want to take the Path of Power, where I and my team can attract rather than force outcomes. I consistently seek to shed negative feelings, turning my attention instead to those things that make me feel grateful and optimistic such as peace, love and joy. Our culture at Vonco is built on the belief that we attract success, and that we attract the right people and the right customers through that philosophy.
Amor Fati – love my fate. It’s easy to find reasons why others or competition has impacted our path to success and fulfillment. I boost my spiritual energy by simply looking at everything that’s happened up until now in gratitude. That attitude has allowed me to build a habit of being truly grateful for everything we’ve encountered in our organization and in our lives because those events have allowed us to be exactly where we are. The world wants us all to win, and it is a very abundant place. I don’t know about you, but when I live in scarcity, I take much less risk because I am fearful of losing what I already have. However, it robs the world of increased value and utility when I don’t take those risks. I prefer to make progress thus the need to continue to inspire, create and innovate. I feel that is my calling.
Right here, writing this post to you is exactly where I want to be. I’m so grateful for all the events in my life and along Vonco’s 60-year timeline that have brought us exactly to where we are right now.