If you’ve read last week’s blog, you already know that our Leadership SuperPower involves being aware of our energy. You discovered the two types of energy—catabolic and anabolic—that are available to all of us, all the time. In a nutshell, catabolic energy brings you down and anabolic energy lifts you up.
Although this understanding of energy can be a huge breakthrough when you discover it, that’s only part of the story. Being able to distinguish the level of energy you currently inhabit—and being able to shift it at will—is the real SuperPower.
Dr. Bruce D. Schneider spent decades of study to uncover the way energy levels work. Over the past 20 years, he’s worked with thousands of leaders all over the world after creating The Energy Leadership Index™ Assessment. This one-of-a-kind assessment will give you a snapshot of how you typically access energy in your everyday life, and how your energy is currently affected when you’re under stress. (More about that in next week’s blog!)
This week let’s get up close and personal with those catabolic energy levels so you can experience them for yourself.
When I was in training to become an Energy Leadership Index™ Master Practitioner, it dawned on me that the best way to become aware of my own energy levels was to become conscious of the questions I was asking myself. As a master trainer and leadership coach prior this training, questions were already in my toolbox; what was different this time was connecting them to energy levels. That connection changed everything for me.
It didn’t take long to see how listening for my own questions gave me direct access to my current energy level. The best part about this was discovering that I could instantly shift my energy from catabolic to anabolic simply by asking myself a different question. As a result, I uncovered a question for each energy level. After that, shifting my energy became as easy as snapping my fingers.
When I shared this with my colleagues and clients and they started having the same success in shifting their energy, I knew I was on to something. Now it’s your turn—why not check this out for yourself?
Full disclosure: Before we get to my questions, it’s important to admit here that I take for granted that we all talk to ourselves. Although that voice in our head can either be nourishing or irritating, for now it’s only important that you know its existence is normal. If you simply focus on attending to the questions you’re hearing—or consciously asking—you’ll have everything you need to begin to use your SuperPower.
The Catabolic Energy Questions
Remember that we live in a catabolic world? Let’s start there, with the questions that indicate you’re in the midst of catabolic energy. These are everyday questions for a lot of us, so they feel totally normal. This is the place of judgement, self-protection and defense.
Level 1 Question(s): Why Me? How did this happen??
The core concern we have in Level 1 is that we find ourselves being the victim of our circumstances. Through no fault of our own, something we didn’t want to happen HAPPENED. We judge it as a problem, and we feel helpless to do anything about it.
This is such a common occurrence that we even have an expression for it: “Same S#!t, Different Day” The wildly successful cartoon character, Dilbert, is the poster child for Level 1 energy.
Level 2 Question: Whose butt do I need to kick right now??
The core concern we have in Level 2 is being right and winning. This energy level is characterized by conflict, which shows up in a variety of ways that range from feeling annoyed to frustrated, to resentful, all the way to outright hostility and anger. Because we believe that only one person can be right, we’re convinced that it’s us. That makes it easy to make everyone else wrong; we’re often looking for someone to blame when things don’t go the way we planned. (This is actually a higher level of energy, because getting mad can be more useful than feeling helpless.)
Level 2 energy is the most common energy on the planet right now. All it takes to see it is to look at the current political landscape (“I win, you lose”) or the most popular TV show of the past decade: Game of Thrones. (“I win, you’re dead.”)
Levels 1 and 2 are the ones we’ve all been socialized to inhabit—and they drag us down. Whether we learned to inhabit them in our homes or only discovered them in the schoolyard, we’ve come to believe that “it’s the way of the world.” That’s what makes them so normal and these questions so universal. At these two levels we’re only concerned with ourselves, so it’s hard to notice anything outside of our direct experience.
The good news is that there are five levels of anabolic energy you can choose instead. This is energy that that lifts you up as it lifts up those around you; tapping into it is the hallmark of every successful leader.
Tune in next week to discover the rest of the story: the questions you can ask to immediately shift into anabolic energy and how you can experience the Energy Leadership Index™ Assessment for yourself.