Think of yourself as a battery. A battery stores energy. Fully charged, it has lots of juice and can supply power to run all kinds of things. When a battery is weak, say in a flashlight, the light is dim and might shut off completely at any moment.
People fall into three categories: Chargers, Drainers or Neutrals. How much energy you have depends hugely on who you choose to have surrounding you. You might not feel at choice about some folks – family, close friends, co-workers or a boss. But you ignore your power of choice at your peril.
Chargers see how things can happen, love to offer and exchange ideas, take a genuine interest in others and like to learn. A former BU ski team buddy of mine sized me up when I was a freshman and said, “Ginger Jenks – that’s a fast name.” Super-charge! 30+ years later, we’re still friends because we charge each other, even though we might not talk for years.
Conversely, a Drainer is the person who tells you why they’re a victim or a martyr and how unfair it all is. Hey, everyone needs to vent a little sometimes. A “little” for my coaching clients is 5 minutes of BMW (bitch, moan and whine), then it’s time to be productive. I’m talking about the habitual Drive-by Vomiters, who smack you with a hit-and-run of negativity. You might have been feeling terrific before that phone call, but afterward you are depleted. I even had a friend once who sighed continually in his sleep. Really?
What are the steps for super-charging your energy?
- Make a list of who in your life is a Charger, Drainer or Neutral.
- Circle the Drainers that you’re not willing to part with – a spouse, a close friend – hopefully this list is really small. If a work situation is truly a drainer, create a plan to change it – life is too short!
- Reach out to your Chargers any way you can – in person, by phone or email.
- Be willing to walk away from (or at least create distance with) the Drainers you didn’t circle on your list.
- To stay juiced, you need a ratio of at least 3 to 1 of Chargers to Drainers. This will leave you with a reservoir of energy to sustain you with the Drainers you can’t leave and to even help charge those folks.
- Actively seek out new friends or colleagues who are Chargers. All the time.
- BE a Charger! Get committed to people leaving every encounter with you more juiced than when they arrived.
- Chargers do not have to be people! Dogs are super-chargers, without a doubt. My three Samoyeds are better than coffee, vitamins and Gatorade combined.
When I have my coaching clients do this, they are often surprised at who is on the Drainer list, like a spouse or close friend. Sometimes it makes us feel like a hero to be able to charge somebody else’s battery. That can be done from time to time, but only if you take care to keep your own battery charged up. And you’ll find that when you hang with Chargers, everybody gets energized. Now that’s a win!