Now you know about the two kinds of energy—catabolic and anabolic. You’ve discovered how to recognize when the questions you’re asking yourself keep your energy catabolic. Since this energy is the dominant energy on the planet, you also know how normal you are.
Are you ready to discover some different questions you can ask yourself that will shift you out of catabolic and into anabolic as easily as snapping your fingers?
Great! Let’s begin with the next three Energy Levels. Dr. Schneider characterizes them as “Self-Mastery” and you’re about to see why.
Level 3 Question: “What’s my part in this?”
Level 3 is what I call the “gateway” to anabolic energy. This question shifts you instantly from feeling helpless or adversarial to feeling curious. It’s just like turning on a light switch in the dark—you’re instantly illuminated. Now you’re running your experience, instead of being run by it.
Whenever you find yourself feeling dragged down in catabolic energy, you can ask this question to discover:
- What you’ve contributed to the current situation, so you can remedy it
- What circumstances are out of your control, so you can release it/them
Even though you’re still concerned with yourself at this Energy Level, you’re focused on how to move yourself forward in an uplifting way. From here, you can engage with whatever is happening around you; you can also engage your SuperPower as easily as Clark Kent stepping into a phone booth.
Level 4 Question: “How can I be of service?”
Level 4 Energy is the first Level at which we have no concern for ourselves. This is the energy found in all servant leaders—whose focus is on supporting and uplifting their company or their team.
This energy is also the hallmark of all Superheroes, whether you find them in the comics or in stories from every culture around the world. Because they already have what they need for themselves, they turn their attention to helping others. They’re fueled by their intention to assist.
You don’t have to be Gandhi or Jimmy Carter or Mother Teresa to benefit from using this question. Using it in the face of “challenging” circumstances shifts you from feeling helpless or adversarial into being helpful. It uplifts you instantly, because it takes you outside of yourself. That’s how it opens up a range of possibilities that remain invisible to you until you ask this question.
Level 5 Question: “What’s the opportunity?”
At Level 5 Energy, every challenge holds a gift for you. With this question, you’re unleashing your inner MacGyver. Although he’s technically not a Superhero, on TV he played so close to one that everyone knows what it means to “MacGyver” something.
At this Energy Level, you believe in opportunity—so you ask for it. As a result, you find it in the most unlikely places. The beauty of Level 5 Energy is that you’re beyond the catabolic tendency to judge anything as “good” or “bad.” That puts you beyond the reach of “difficulty.” Because you’re looking for opportunity, you remain as calm as our TV hero. Like him, you find what’s invisible to everyone else.
The next time you’re faced with a “difficulty,” try asking yourself this question. See how it shifts your energy and allows you to “MacGyver” your circumstances.
The Final Two Energy Levels
By now you can see that each of these anabolic questions increases your ability to access your Leadership SuperPower as you consciously choose how you want to respond to any situation. Much like that flight attendant in turbulent weather (in the first blog of this series) your ability to choose your energy has a powerful impact on everyone around you.
The final two Energy Levels are the ones that Dr. Schneider characterizes as “Self-Transcendence.” We’ve all momentarily touched into both of these levels; when we consciously choose either one, it transforms our experience in ways that most people would assume is only possible for SuperHeroes. Once you know how to access this energy, it’s yours anytime.
Level 6 Question: “What if this is perfect?”
Think of a moment in your life that truly felt “perfect.” Maybe it was falling in love, or your wedding day, or holding a child you love. Maybe it was accomplishing a long-held goal or succeeding at something that deeply mattered to you. Asking yourself this question at times like these will certainly heighten your experience.
On the other hand, asking yourself this question in the midst of something that would ordinarily trigger you into a catabolic response will kick in your SuperPower like nothing else.
As quickly as a finger-snap, asking it can shatter any catabolic moment for you and transform your feelings of helplessness or defensiveness into laughter—or thoughtfulness—or expectancy. This question rewires your response to everything that happens to you because it circumvents “what is” and replaces it with “what’s possible.” It immediately shifts your focus—and as a result, your experience.
Just that momentary shift allows you to access the energy of self-transcendence in the same way that Nelson Mandela, Viktor Frankl and Maya Angelou did. You realize, as they did, that everything that happens to you serves you in some way, even if it’s not immediately apparent to you. This question helps you trust the long view of things and supports your resilience in every moment.
Level 7 Question: (There is no question…)
At Level 7 Energy, we’re completely in the flow of what we’re doing. To paraphrase Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, we’re outside of the experience of time; this happens when “an hour spent with a friend passes like a minute.” At this level, time and space are constructs. We are fearless as we tap into our very truest selves; there is no difficulty to overcome because whatever we’re immersed in holds its own joy.
We tap into this Energy Level when we give ourselves completely over to something about which we’re passionate or love deeply. It could be swimming or dancing; it could be teaching adults to read or coaching your kid’s softball team. Whatever it is, we’re tapping into an Energy that’s bigger than us, that flows through us to others.
Although none of us can remain at this Energy Level all of the time, we can all learn to tap into it by remembering the joy of what we love to do the most—and doing it.
How Can you Use This?
Do you want to know more about how these 7 Energy Levels work in your life?
You can experience them even more personally with Dr. Schneider’s Energy Leadership Index™ Assessment. As a certified Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, I can share this assessment with you and then we can complete your debrief.
Next week, we’re going to spend time talking about the Energy Leadership Assessment—how it works and how it will impact your life. If you want to get a head start, you can learn more here.