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Energy

September 7, 2014 — Leave a comment
Energy

Energy.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that other than time, energy is the most important thing we manage.  Generating, managing and increasing our capacity for energy.

And the thing is, if you’ve got no energy then you can’t make the most of the time you have.

There are things that sap your energy and things that give you energy.  Dealing with the unimportant and spending time with difficult people…draining!  Hard work, however, actually helps create happiness and energy.  Not only have I found that to be true in my own life, but there’s actual research to back it up.

The thing is, most of us guys don’t think about how we expend our energy.  We just spend it on whatever catches our eye first or most powerfully.

And there’s so much to do!  Developing our relationship with our wives, playing with our kids (one more time daddy!), building a career, networking professionally, developing relationships with those we want to have deeper friendships with and getting in some hobbies and much-desired down time. Oh, and then you have to remember to grow yourself, do the lawn, help around the house, plan a family vacation, etc.  (And even the etc. seems big sometimes…)

The reality is that there isn’t enough to go around.  It’s an equal reality that most of us don’t manage or work on increasing our energy capacity either, though.

Consider this – do you think about what kind of activities leave you refreshed and energized?  What about the stuff that you mindlessly do that doesn’t actually refresh you at all?  (Yes, I mean TV.)  Do you notice how your eating habits affect the energy you have?  Ever wondered about that mid-afternoon coma that you slip into every day?  Maybe that has something to do with what you ate up until that point…

Or how about sleep?  Life satisfaction?  If you’re not happy with your life and the direction of it, do you have a plan?  An accountability partner?  If you don’t think having a plan matters much, try reading this post by Eric Barker.

Thing is, if we’re to have any chance of leading our families well and leaving powerful legacies it’s gonna take a heck of a lot of energy.

Strength from painTime can’t be increased.  You have what you’ve been given.  Period.  But energy can be increased.  And I think it all comes down to thinking like an athlete training their body.  Increased capacity always – let me highlight this – always comes via pain.  And what is energy but increased strength of spirit, mind and body?

Train your muscles and they get sore.  Push your mind to grow and it can hurt.  Stretch your spirit to bare more than it ever has and I promise you’ll feel it.

But then you wake up one day and find that you can do more than you could before.  I think it’s a mindset.  It’s a mindset that not only embraces pain but yearns for it as an indication you’re alive.

How often do you wake up and say “Today…I raise the bar. No zero entry pool – I’m jumping in deep.”  (And then really go for it?)

We want to leave a legacy.  To lead our families.  For our kids to grow up and become men and women we’re proud to know.  We want our team at work or in the community to push hard and do great things.

Significance of any kind requires focused, intense energy.  Don’t just charge in thinking you can change only your determination and end up with different results.

Begin by building the right foundations.  Actively think about your energy.  Know your current limits, manage within those current limits realistically (based on priorities) and learn to embrace the pain of increasing your energy capacity.  If ever there was a time where “no pain, no gain” was a good thing to say it’s now.

It begins right now with you and me thinking about how we can increase our capacity for energy.  If we start, those we lead will follow.  In fact, they’re already following.  The question is where are you leading them – to increasing or decreasing strength and energy?

So I’ve been doing crossfit for a few months now and my performance is starting to really improve. But there is a major weakness in my process at this point – nutrition. The word diet is a four letter word after all. Who in their right mind decides that the best way to live life is without things like a Sunday morning donut run with the family? Or a couple of beers with a friend once in a while? And yes, if things are only occasional they may not be a big deal. But the problem is that there are a lot of things we only do occasionally and so it ends up being a constant flow of occasional habits.

So my wife and I have decided to set up an accountability to the Zone diet. Cherie was willing to do it when she saw Jennifer Aniston said it is what she does. (Hey, if you can look like her in your 40’s something is working.) I decided I wanted to try something because for weeks now I’ve felt like I needed either a giant cup of coffee or a long nap at about 2 PM every day. At 35 years old and being in relatively decent shape, that just ain’t right. Energy should be in more abundant supply at this point. So we’ve agreed and are working on getting our game plan together this week so we can start it up.

This brings us to the locker room. I’m standing there pouring sweat after a workout and my trainer (Ben Benson) comes in and we engage in what has become a pretty normal conversation for us.

Me: So my wife and I are starting a Zone diet accountability program this week.

Ben: That so?

Me: Yeah. And I’m going to start sharing my weekly eating log with you. I know I haven’t been doing this because frankly my nutrition has kinda sucked. But that’s going to change.

Ben: You get your eating right and I’ll bet your pull-ups will get better.

Me: Yeah…

Ben: Kind of hard doing pull-ups with what feels like a 50 lb. weight vest strapped to your chest…(as he leaves the room)

Me: (laughing to myself) Punk!

But that’s the kind of no-nonsense truth and motivation I love. And it’s all I’d expect from Ben. It’s just who he is and to be honest, I love it. Thanks, Ben.

Ben Benson