By Chris Chittenden
"The energy of the mind is the essence of life."
… Aristotle (384BC-322BC) Greek philosopher
"E=mc2" is probably the most famous equation in physics. Energy = mass X the speed of light squared. Einstein's great insight was that energy and mass are interchangeable and it led to a revolution in the way we think about the universe as well as applications that are used in everyday life.
Energy also plays a central in our work. Our individual energy underpins our everyday experience of life and is always a consideration when coaching. You may think this would be obvious to everyone but remarkably this is often not the case. From an ontological perspective, when we think about energy, we are considering two aspects of being energetic - how much energy you have and where you direct your energy.
Let me give you an example of how this works. In a coaching session, a coachee raises a breakdown related to lacking motivation about something they believe is very important to their future. After a conversation, they open up a number of possibilities and commit to a course of action. They declare they are feeling much more motivated and appear so. A few weeks later, the coachee comes to the next coaching session appearing rather flat. They speak to this and question their level of motivation. When asked, "How have you been over the past couple of weeks?", they disclose that they have been unwell and off work for a week. So are they lacking motivation or lacking energy or both?
How much energy we have is a direct result of our physical well being - how healthy we are. There is nothing new here. It is simply about our diet, sleeping patterns, exercise patterns and so on. If our energy levels are low then most likely we will simply get through the day. We will largely find ourselves in coping mode.
Motivation can be seen as a focused direction of energy into part of one's life. However, we need a certain level of energy to simply get through the day so even though we might feel motivated towards some possibility in life, it will be hard to sustain that motivation if our energy levels are low. We may be able to do it for a while but this may well lead to burnout.
In the case above, it makes sense for the coachee to recover their health and see if the motivation returns. If it does not then this speaks to another breakdown regarding what is getting in their way.
If we are to maintain our motivation in life long enough to achieve what we desire then it is important to take the time to maintain our energy levels - eat well, exercise well and sleep well.
© 2013 Chris Chittenden