"What's in the middle?" I asked Frank next. "What are the things that don't necessarily increase or decrease your energy, but they exist? You need to accomplish them and keep them on your radar each week."
"I've been on the board of my neighborhood association for a few years now, so that takes up time and energy. At work, managing my direct reports. I have five now, and I'm part of the team that's working on our rebranding and website launch."
I capture these too:
* Board commitment
* Managing direct reports
* Rebranding and website launch
Lastly, I asked for the exact opposite. "What decreases your energy? Give me some personal examples first."
He paused. "Managing my kids' schedules—it's never ending," he said quickly. "And recently, my relationship with my best friend Jason. He's going through a divorce, and as much as I love him, the constant negativity and complaining is starting to get to me."
"And what about at work?" I asked. "What's draining your energy there?"
"Travel," Frank said, shaking his head. "I've been on the road three of the last four weeks and it's starting to take its toll. My relationship with my boss. I hate to say it, but I just dread going into the office when I know he's there. He always focuses on what we are not doing and never points out the good work we are doing... and then probably just the typical office drama. We are going through a lot of change in our sales process, and it's hasn't been an easy transition."
I wrote these down too:
* Kids' schedules
* Relationship with best friend
* Work travel
* Relationship with boss
* Office drama
* Change in sales process
To recap, the energy audit involves three simple questions.
GREEN: What increases your energy and is meaningful to you?
ORANGE: What are the things that don't necessarily increase or decrease your energy, but they exist?
RED: What decreases your energy?
Now we could see what his choices were doing for him—and what they cost to his energy. So let's break it down further.
"OK, now tell me this: How do you feel when you are here?" I pointed to the green.
Frank lit up. "I feel ready to take on the world—optimistic, energized, focused. Like I'm doing things that matter."
"How often have you been feeling that way recently?" I asked.
"Rarely!" he said, staring at me. "Very rarely!"
"OK, now tell me this: How do you feel here?" I pointed to the red.
"Ugh..." he said. "I feel anxious, frustrated, and I know I am short with people. Tired. I get more defensive with my wife and people at work."
"OK, so tell me this: How often have you been feeling that way recently?"
"A lot. More than I want to, that is for damn sure."
"All of this is super normal," I reassured him. Every feeling he was dealing with is shared by so many people. What this exercise has shown me in all of my years of working with athletes, coaches, leaders, and teams is that each area we've identified factors into our overarching emotions.
All day, every day, our energy ebbs and flows, often without us really realizing it until we either hit a high point or totally crash on the flip side. We could hang up the phone from some internal politics at work and be in the red. A few minutes later, we could close a deal and instantly be in the green. Or sometimes we are living in the orange, checking off items on our to do list with little thought. The point of the energy audit is to become much more aware of what's replenishing our energy and what is depleting it. By doing that, we can then become more intentional about who and what we give our energy to.
What I just walked Frank through is the first steps of an energy audit.
This excerpt ends on page 23 of the hardcover edition.
Monday we begin the book The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze.