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Enhancing Your Physical Energy

Enhancing Your Physical Energy

Chapter 4 of Workplace Poker is titled “Fuel Your Fire” and focuses on the personal energy required to drive a high trajectory career. Four types of energy are discussed, physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy and aspirational energy.

Physical Energy is easy to describe: the degree to which one’s eating, exercise, sleeping and other lifestyle habits contribute to (or detract from) an energized, productive work life.

And the vast majority of people who know they have room for improvement in this area can tell you exactly which things they should be doing more of, which they should be doing less of, and which they should cut out altogether.

Everyone (including you) knows what they SHOULD do.

Although this LifeHack.com article does provide some interesting non-obvious suggestions.

And you can also complete a free Personal Energy Assessment to determine the degree to which you have opportunity for development in any of these four areas.

But many people struggle with the doing – not the knowing. So my advice to you, if this is true for you, is to think deeply about why you are not doing what you KNOW you should be doing. Something about your current behavior pattern is WORKING for you. It could be that:

  • Eating fast food and ignoring exercise aligns with your (perceived) pace of work, it seems as if you don’t have the time to eat and exercise properly.
  • Over-eating provides you with emotional comfort and relieves immediate stress (while creating long-term stress of course).
  • Exercise and/or sweating and heavy breathing feels painful or uncomfortable or embarrassing.
  • Things just aren’t bad enough (yet) to go through the pain or discomfort of change.

These are just a few of the common things I’ve heard and I don’t intend to provide an exhaustive list because your reasons are YOUR reasons and it is important that you think deeply about YOUR reasons.

Think deeply about how this might be holding back your career progress. There are plenty of stories in “Workplace Poker” detailing individuals who were “tapping the brakes” for their careers because of habits that resulted in low physical energy. Reading some of these stories might help you clarify your own issues.

One paradox that might hold you back is that many of the lifestyle changes which will eventually give you more energy may initially cause an energy drain – reducing or eliminating sugars from your diet for example, may initially leave you feeling exhausted. And it may take several weeks (or longer) before you feel the ultimate energy boost. Many people give up because of the initial energy drainage, or fall back into old habits, which of course makes any change even harder the next time they try (if they do).

So think carefully about your reasons for NOT making the types of changes you know are best for your career, then start with small steps. Make one additive change (START doing something) and one subtractive change (STOP doing something) and give these two changes ate least several weeks to take hold and become firmly ingrained habits. Then try another additive change and another subtractive change, repeat the process, etc. This seems to be the most successful path to long term physical energy enhancement.