16 Nov 7 Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Energy at Work
A couple of weeks ago on a routine Wednesday evening, I headed to my daughter’s school to pick her up from hip hop class. I arrived a little bit early and decided to join the ever popular “bury your head in your phone” party. A couple of minutes later, I looked up when I heard a ton of enthusiasm coming from the gym. I walked over to peek inside and noticed that there was a sign taped on the door that said, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring to this place.” I immediately checked on my own energy level. Before class was dismissed, the dork in me quickly snapped a picture of the sign.
“Are Grownups Too Tired to Have Fun Because All They Do Is Work?”
On our way home, we talked about the class. Ellie said, “Dad, we had so much fun.” I said, “The energy sign worked then, didn’t it?” Ellie responded, “I guess. I just wish hip hop class was longer, like an hour and a half.” I told her I would put on some music so that she could dance in the back seat until we got home.” As soon as we pulled into the garage, I turned off the car, the music stopped, and Ellie rather sadly asked, “Are grownups too tired to have fun because all they do is work?” Before we walked into the house, I shrugged and said, “Well, it depends.” During our ride home, Ellie must have been comparing and contrasting the energy levels of kids and adults. At that moment, our conversation ended, but my mind started to spin.
After the girls went to bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about Ellie’s question, “Are grownups too tired to have fun because all they do is work?” Ellie’s question made me think about how many of us go about our days, weeks, months, and years lacking energy and enthusiasm.
A few minutes later, the simple, yet powerful sign that said, “please take responsibility for the energy you bring to this place,” popped back into my head. I wondered, “What if I posted that same sign at work? Would we embrace it or ignore it? I started to jot down ways that we get to take responsibility for our energy.
7 Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Energy at Work
- Catch somebody doing something right. Think about the last time that you were unexpectedly praised by a colleague. At the athletic club, we have a peer-to-peer recognition program called WAC Bucks. All employees are empowered to fill out WAC Bucks with specific messages of praise and hand deliver them directly to the praiseworthy. Positive reinforcement is contagious and creates positive energy.
- Take the initiative to connect with your employees. Recently, I had a speaking opportunity to keynote an event held by the Recruiters of Wisconsin. When I asked the question, “What percent do you feel responsible for your relationships?” Most people responded, “50 percent.” I challenged the audience to embrace the 100-0 Principle, which means to take 100 percent responsibility for their relationships. According to Gallup, you’re 7 times more likely to be engaged if you have high quality friendships at work.
- Have passion. When you arrive at work, do you park slowly by backing your car in, so that you can leave quickly at the end of the day? Or, do you drive forward, jump out, and excitedly attack the day? You won’t bring energy to work if you’re not passionate about what you do. Write down your energizers. Write down your drainers. Do more of what energizes you.
- Plan the FEW fundamentals…and sleep. If you want to be on fire all day, embrace the formula: Food + Exercise + Water = Energy. Dig deeper with my Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.
- Schedule some alone time. Research at the University of California Irvine found that it takes a typical office worker 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. According to an experiment by the authors of The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success, work interruptions decrease accuracy by 20 percent. Do your deep work alone so that you’re not being interrupted by others. Check out my energizing 120-Minute YOUzone.
- Surround yourself with upbeat people. I recently had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop on Leading through Challenge with 30 female leaders at MillerCoors. Each and every one of them had an energy level of 10 on a scale of 1-10. Can you make your culture a panacea and surround yourself with more 10’s?
- Stretch yourself. Are you walking around the halls like a lifeless zombie? If so, you might be bored. Raise your hand to challenge yourself. Make the decision to get out of your comfort zone and cut your own path at the fork in the road.
Do you want to be more enthusiastic and energetic? Do you want your team to be more enthusiastic and energetic? If so, then act more enthusiastic and energetic. As the sign outside the hip hop class said, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring to this place.” You are responsible for bringing the energy and enthusiasm to work each and every day. Rule yourself!
ACTION: Think about the 7 ways to take responsibility for your energy at work. On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being low energy and 5 being high energy, rate your energy on each way. Then, select your two lowest ratings. Next, brainstorm ways that you can increase both ratings. Finally, take responsibility for your energy, focus on improving each one, and enjoy bringing the energy at your workplace.
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