This Month's Energy Leadership Article

December 2017

Understanding Emotions

We have thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we are not our thoughts, feelings or emotions.”   ~ Frances Vaughn

Several newsletters ago we discussed the fact that anabolic leaders are aware of their own and others’ emotions, and are able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic. Let’s take a closer look at emotions.

First, let’s clear up a common misperception. The words “feelings” and “emotions” are not interchangeable, although most people use them that way. Feelings are physical – for example, a pit in your stomach, tightness in your throat, or simply a sensation of warmth. Emotions are actually just responses to those feelings.

Emotions FEEL good or bad, but in reality, they are neither good nor bad. They just are – and one of the best ways to grow as a person, and as a leader, is to listen to and understand your emotional responses and know that emotions are part of a process, they are not automatic.

People usually react to their emotions instead. They judge their emotions as “good” or “bad” instead of listening to the emotion and figuring out what it’s trying to tell them.

Emotions are related to how we interpret events and situations. Look at emotions as tools to help you understand what is going on for you in any particular situation, and ask questions such as “Why did I have this response?”, and “What can I learn from this?” These questions allow you to observe what’s going on and to pay attention to what’s happening, instead of just reacting to life’s circumstances.

This month, pay attention to your feelings – and your emotions – and pause to figure out what you can learn in the process.

 

November 2017

Understanding Emotions 

"We have thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we are not our thoughts, feelings or emotions.”  ~Frances Vaughn

Several newsletters ago we discussed the fact that anabolic leaders are aware of their own and others’ emotions, and are able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic. Let’s take a closer look at emotions.

First, let’s clear up a common misperception. The words “feelings” and “emotions” are not interchangeable, although most people use them that way. Feelings are physical – for example, a pit in your stomach, tightness in your throat, or simply a sensation of warmth. Emotions are actually just responses to those feelings.

Emotions FEEL good or bad, but in reality, they are neither good nor bad. They just are – and one of the best ways to grow as a person, and as a leader, is to listen to and understand your emotional responses and know that emotions are part of a process, they are not automatic.

People usually react to their emotions instead. They judge their emotions as “good” or “bad” instead of listening to the emotion and figuring out what it’s trying to tell them.

Emotions are related to how we interpret events and situations. Look at emotions as tools to help you understand what is going on for you in any particular situation, and ask questions such as “Why did I have this response?”, and “What can I learn from this?” These questions allow you to observe what’s going on and to pay attention to what’s happening, instead of just reacting to life’s circumstances.

This month, pay attention to your feelings – and your emotions – and pause to figure out what you can learn in the process.

 

October 2017

Stress

Change is inevitable – after all, nothing really stays the same.But in today’s challenging times, it seems like we’re on “uncertainty” overload, never knowing what will happen from one moment to the next. Here today, gone tomorrow – or, at the least, very different tomorrow.  

Uncertainty bring stress and confusion, and while most of us would be quick to say that we want less stress and more certainty in our lives, what we really want is less of a stress reaction to what life is throwing our way.  

We can’t choose what happens to us – but we can choose our responses to the situations we encounter. Let’s take a look at five different responses that people have to stressful situations. As you read through these five responses, you may want to think of a recent stressful event or news that you may have received, and see what your reaction to that event can teach you about how you habitually respond. You may have one type of response at work, and another at home, or you may react differently depending on who else is involved. 

The first, and unfortunately all too common response to stressful events is to suffer and be a victim to it. People who respond this way don’t take action. Things happen TO them – and though they may complain and be generally miserable about it, they don’t take any steps to do anything. They allow life to control them, instead of the other way around. This way of responding is certainly not recommended, and eventually, it will take its toll on one’s physical and mental health. 

The second type of response is to accept the situation, and to get some perspective on it. Someone with this response may say “so what,” or perhaps get some perspective on the situation by asking if it will it matter in a year – or a week – or even in a day.

The third way to respond is to actually take steps to change the situation – taking action to bring it to resolution (or at least move toward resolution). This is a very powerful response, and one that many effective leaders employ.

The fourth way to respond is to avoid the situation. People responding this way make a decision not to get involved in a situation that they don’t see as concerning them, or upon which they can’t make an impact. For example, someone may choose not to get involved in a dispute going on within their office if it doesn’t directly involve them.

The fifth and final way that people generally respond to stress is to alter the experience of the situation. When we look at a situation differently, the experience itself changes. Changing perceptions is probably the most challenging of the responses, because we tend to be stuck in our own interpretations and assumptions about what’s happening, but it is also perhaps the most powerful of all.

It’s your world, and you can create it as you wish. Remember, what one person sees as stressful, another person barely notices, or sees as exciting and full of opportunity. How are you going to choose today?

 

September 2017

The True Human Resource

We hear the term Human Resources a lot, and HR departments are found at companies large and small. But have you ever stopped to really consider what the term really means?

William R. Tracey defines Human Resources as: "The people that staff and operate an organization.” Businessdictionary.com states that it is the, “…scarcest and most crucial productive resource that creates the largest and longest lasting advantage for an organization. It resides in the knowledge, skills, and motivation of people….”

For the past several newsletters, we’ve been looking at the differences between catabolic and anabolic leaders. This month we’ll discuss a key distinction in how the two types of leaders treat and think about their human resources – the people that work for and with them.

Catabolic leaders take advantage of the people around them. A catabolic leader looks at the people around him and only considers what the others can do for him and for the organization. Employees are like pawns in a game that the catabolic leader controls, and neither their feelings nor needs are considered. The catabolic leader rarely, if ever, gives credit to anyone else, since he believes that when employees work for him, he owns them and all of their accomplishments. Likely to be bossy and condescending, the catabolic leader puts himself first, always having to be right and feel superior. And so, it shouldn’t be surprising that most catabolic leaders are met with exactly what they expect: employees that present problems.

Anabolic leaders, on the other hand, utilize instead of use the people around them. An anabolic leader, having the belief that all employees have something to offer, looks for ways to incorporate staff talents and company needs. This leader sees employees as gifted and full of potential. Anabolic leaders help team members find their gifts, and utilize those gifts to best serve the organization, as well as the team members themselves. They recognize the knowledge and skills of those around them, and they act in ways that make others truly feel like partners. Greatness is expected, and thus received.

Anabolic leaders coach their team members, using important skills such as listening, acknowledging, validating, championing, and visioning to create relationships and make each of their team members a leader in his or her own right. And so, accordingly, anabolic leaders find solutions in those people around them.

The Human Resource Department in an organization is often the place that seems to deal with all the “problems” that arise. If leaders saw the people in their companies truly as resources, what a different place and focus that department might have.

Think about how you and your organization treat your human resources. Are they problems needing help and solutions, or true resources to be nurtured, motivated, and empowered?


August 2017

Big Problem or Huge Opportunity, It’s Your Choice

A company once sent two shoe salespeople to an area in Africa where they had never sold any shoes. One was a senior, experienced salesman, Tom, and they expected big things of him.

The other was an optimistic rookie named Cynthia. She didn’t have much experience, but she had a lot of enthusiasm. They figured she might be able to sell a few pair of shoes.

Shortly after their arrival in Africa, Tom, the experienced salesperson wrote the home office saying, “You might as well bring me back. Nobody here wears shoes. 

The rookie, Cynthia, wired the home office an urgent message: “Send me all the shoes you’ve got. Nobody here is wearing shoes!”

You may have heard this “joke” before – but it illustrates a key difference between anabolic and catabolic leaders. Two people, faced with the same situation, yet having totally different reactions. What’s the difference between them? In a word, it’s energy - Tom is catabolic and Cynthia is anabolic.

Catabolic people see problems and challenges everywhere, and in everything.

Anabolic people see opportunity and possibility. And not only do they see opportunity, but they take action to capitalize on it. 

Most of the time, people focus on what’s wrong – in their lives, their businesses, the world. They complain, moan, and don’t take a lot of action – and why would they, because they just know that there are more problems and challenges ahead. This is catabolic, destructive energy – and it surrounds us every day.

People with anabolic energy (especially at Level 5 and above) find opportunity in everything. They don’t see the bad and make it a good; they truly only see opportunity in all that happens. They look at a situation and ask “what’s working here?” “What’s right?” “What’s next?” They don’t see problems or challenges, just exciting adventures and chances to make things work better.

So while a catabolic person might get upset and angry if one of his customers took his business to a competitor, an anabolic person would look at that situation as a chance not only to get the customer back, but to also change and improve the circumstances that led to the customer leaving in the first place.

As you go through your day, look at your responses to what’s happening around you. Remember that your perceptions create your energy level, and that creates your reality – the world you know. And most importantly, remember that you can learn to choose your response and begin to shift from catabolic to anabolic energy (if you’re not already there!)

Ask those solution-focused questions of “what’s right?” and “what’s next?”  After all, it’s your world, and you can create it as you wish. 

July 2017

Seeing the BIG Picture

This month, we’re going to explore a very interesting distinction between anabolic and catabolic leaders – we’ll look at the way that each type of leader thinks.   This is perhaps one of the most complicated, but essential, aspects of understanding the difference between the two types of leaders.

Catabolic leaders use left brain analysis almost exclusively. This type of thinking is linear, and rational. It’s the logical approach, and considers only facts and actual observations. Anabolic leaders use whole brain thinking, which encompasses emotions and intuition, as well as logic. This type of thinking is called holographic thinking, because like multi-dimensional holograms, holographic thinking involves being able to see many perspectives at once.

By using their emotional and intuitive minds in addition to left brain logical analysis, anabolic leaders are able to view a situation as a whole and thus get a complete picture of what is really going on. The ability to see this “meta-view” is key to ensuring the greatest chances for success (in every aspect of life), and especially for making, both on a daily and a long term basis, the very best decisions they can.

So how would this actually play out “in real life”? Say a manager was faced with a decision about whether or not to pull the plug on a project launched several months before which was not bringing in the income it was expected to. The catabolic manager would look only at the facts and figures, and,… most likely, would decide to discontinue the project because the money wasn’t coming in.

Anabolic managers would take much more into account in making a decision. Not only would money and logistics be examined, but also they would look at their intuitive response (what flashes of insight they had) and also, consider their emotional response, and others’ emotional responses as well. The conclusion they come to might be the same – to pull the plug, or, based on a hunch or an emotion or both, they might decide to keep the project going.  

The key is, using a holographic approach. Anabolic leaders address opportunities—and challenges—from many perspectives at once. To practice thinking holographically, consider your potential action in light of what makes sense, what your emotional response to it is, and what your intuitive senses tell you. This may not be natural at first, but eventually, it will become second nature and increase your effectiveness immensely.

 

June 2017

Emotions in the Workplace

Emotions don’t belong in the workplace – or do they? Depends on who you ask! If you ask catabolic leaders, they’re likely to agree. But anabolic leaders have a different point of view – they understand that emotions can’t be left at the office door. Our comparison between anabolic and catabolic leaders continues with an exploration of how aware they are of their own and others’ emotions, how they express their emotions, and how they manage or control them in the work environment.

Awareness, expression, and management of emotion are the three main aspects of emotional intelligence. In the Energy Leadership Development System™, emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as the ability to distinguish, understand, and have an awareness of how thoughts and feelings connect with outward displays and behaviors, as well as the ability to manage and express appropriate emotions and help others do the same. 

Let’s look at each of the components of EI and see how they are different in catabolic and anabolic leaders. 

Awareness

  • Catabolic - Not only are these leaders unaware of their own emotions, but they are unaware of other people’s emotions as well. They’re also unaware of the effect they have on others.
  • Anabolic – These leaders are not only aware of their and other’s emotions, but they’re able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic (emotions arise from interpretations). They also look for clues in their emotions, asking questions such as “Why did I have this response, and what can I learn from this?”

Expression

  • Catabolic - Many catabolic leaders have a limiting belief that expressing emotions should not be done in the workplace. They don’t want people to see their emotions, and don’t want to deal with the emotions of others. When they do express emotions, they often express them inappropriately, for example, by yelling or rolling their eyes.
  • Anabolic – Anabolic leaders understand that emotions are a part of each of us, and that they can’t be “turned off” at will. They know how to appropriately express their emotions, at the appropriate time. By sharing, acknowledging, and validating, they create an environment in which their co-workers and staff feel valued and understood.

Management

  • Catabolic - Catabolic leaders can’t manage their own emotions, and therefore, the people around them don’t look to them in times of crisis for guidance and support. They tend to be frustrated, angry, and resentful, and this is apparent to everyone.
  • Anabolic – Anabolic leaders have the ability to manage their own moods and to help other people shift to more positive moods. They also are able to control their own emotions, even during stressful situations. They respond, instead of react, and their generally calm attitude promotes a positive work environment.

Emotional intelligence is directly related to interpersonal effectiveness. The higher your emotional intelligence, the more effective leader and communicator you will be.

 

May 2017

Only You Can Prevent Company Fires

The comparison between anabolic and catabolic leaders continues with a look at how each type of leader approaches their everyday circumstances. 

Catabolic leaders work in crisis mode. They put out fires, and deal with issues as they arise. This reactivity leads to stress, lack of focus, and a non-productive, frenzied type of atmosphere. They don’t think much about where they’re headed, and even if they do, the “big picture” gets lost in the demands of the moment.

Anabolic leaders, on the other hand, plan ahead. They know exactly what they want to achieve, and have a plan to get there. Not only do they have a plan (and, as discussed in previous months, share it with others, while participating in the team effort themselves), but they hold the others involved in the plan accountable for doing what they said they will do.

Let’s take a closer look at those two components of anabolic leadership – having a plan, and holding the people involved in executing it accountable.

It’s often said that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” The first step in having a plan is creating the vision of where you want to go. That vision is the ideal – but it’s vitally important to realize that getting from where you are to where you want to go may not be possible overnight – to get there, you need a roadmap, a plan of action.

Once the plan is decided upon, the crucial aspect of accountability comes into play. Accountability involves helping people keep the commitments they make. An anabolic leader creates a system of checking in with the people who are implementing a plan, to make sure that they’re taking action. And, if they are not taking the agreed upon action for some reason, an anabolic leader doesn’t blame, but instead works on helping the person get through whatever blocks that need to be broken through.

The skills of creating attainable action plans and holding people accountable for carrying them out aren’t only useful in a business environment, but in the home as well. Imagine working with your child to create a plan on how to tackle a heavy school workload, and following up to make sure they take the actions they agreed to, in contrast to yelling at them to study the night before final exams. 

Learning and practicing these two skills can transform you into the anabolic leader that you would like to be.

  

April 2017

How Am I Doing?

This month, part 4 of the discussion of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders focuses on how (and if) leaders assess themselves, and examine how their actions and attitudes affect their results, as well as impact the people around them.

Catabolic leaders operate in their own little worlds. They do what they do, and they rarely, if ever, stop to think about the consequences of what they are doing (and how they are doing it). If catabolic leaders do assess, they self-assess – that is, they don’t ask for input from people around them, because they fear that in doing so they may appear weak. In addition, catabolic leaders know that they are right, and others are wrong (or incompetent, or lazy) – so why would they ask for others’ feedback?

Anabolic leaders on the other hand, are always working “on themselves.” Not only are they willing to take hard looks at themselves, but they also solicit, and consider, feedback from others, as they know this information is crucial if they are to continue to grow and develop.

Let’s consider Catabolic Curt and Anabolic Amy, two leaders in the same company. Both manage several team members, and both recently had to deal with customer complaints they’d received. Curt was, well, quite curt as he told his team exactly what to do to correct the problem, and later, when his proposed solution didn’t work, he blamed his team members for not implementing the plan properly.

Amy, not surprisingly, handled the situation differently. She and her team brainstormed a solution to the customer’s complaint, and together decided what course to take. When their chosen plan didn’t work out, instead of blaming her team, Amy sat down with them again to devise another solution. One of the questions she asked her team was how she could have handled the situation better, or supported them more. Amy learned some valuable information from their responses, and modified her behavior accordingly. Not only did Amy demonstrate that she was willing to learn and grow, but she also let her team know that it was safe to honestly give her feedback and trust her.

Anabolic leaders, by soliciting feedback and leaving their egos “at the door,” grow, and by example, allow their colleagues and companies to grow and prosper as well.

March 2017

“How Open Are You?” 

In our exploration of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders, so far we’ve determined that anabolic leaders “lead” and “participate,” while catabolic leaders “manage” and “delegate.” This month, let’s look at another aspect of leadership - how information is passed along to others – to further see the difference between the two types of leaders. 

In any type of leadership role – whether as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or as a parent, imparting information to others is an integral and essential part of leading. Catabolic leaders give information, while anabolic leaders share information. 

“Giving” means to convey, transmit, assign, or allot. When we give to others, we no longer have ownership of what we give. “Sharing,” on the other hand, means to partake of, use, or experience with others. When we share, we’re still part of the process – we’re “in it” with the other person. It’s similar to the difference between catabolic delegating and anabolic participating. 

When a catabolic leader gives information to others, they do so without much explanation, and with little buy-in or justification. An anabolic leader who shares information, however, explains well and gets buy-in, which builds trust, develops rapport, and deepens the connection with the other person.

Which of the following leaders is more likely to get the result they desire? 

Catabolic leader – John, I need a rundown of the responsibilities of the people in your department. Please get it to me by tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner.

Anabolic leader – John, we’re considering bringing in some additional staff members to ease some of the production crunch you and your department are under. I’d like a rundown of the responsibilities of the people in your department so that I can see who’s doing what and where some gaps might be. Since I’d like to get this process underway soon, how possible would it be to get this to me by tomorrow afternoon or earlier? After I take a look at it, I’d love to sit down with you to hear your ideas for resolving this. How does that sound?

The two leaders asked for the same information – but how differently they asked, and how different the result is likely to be! John’s response to the catabolic leader would probably be to question what was going on and to worry about his department and the people under him, and to either put off doing the task or do it in perfunctory way. His response to the anabolic leader, on the other hand, would most likely be to jump right into the task, do it well, and generate ideas for improvement.

Anabolic leaders get results! This month, try sharing instead of giving information, both at work and at home. Those extra few minutes of explanation and getting buy-in can make all the difference.

 

February 2017

Delegate or Participate?

Last month I began a discussion of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders, and how the anabolic leader “leads,” while the catabolic leader “manages.” Another distinction between catabolic and anabolic leaders is that catabolic leaders “delegate,” while anabolic leaders “participate.”

According to Webster’s dictionary, “delegate” means to entrust to the care or management of another; to transfer; to assign; to commit, and “participate” means to partake of; to share in; to receive a part of. 

Most of us have been taught that delegating is something that we need to do in order to be effective leaders and to get things done. And in fact, that is true – but anabolic leaders take it a step further. When a catabolic leader delegates a task to someone else, the leader, in effect, wipes his or her hands of the task. When an anabolic leader participates in the task with another person, the other person knows that they are supported and valued while they are doing the work. Participating certainly doesn’t mean that the leader needs to do all, most, or even any of the work – it implies being available to other people without hesitation. It means that employees know that the leader is willing to personally do anything that he or she asks them to do.

Let’s take a look at an example of this. Imagine the following scenario. A small business owner is expanding from two retail locations to three. The owner of the company assigns tasks to the key staff. In Catabolic Company A, the owner gets occasional progress reports, but remains out of the picture until everything is done, at which point the staff is either praised or reprimanded based on what they’ve accomplished. In Anabolic Company B, the owner not only follows up frequently with the staff, but is also on hand to pitch in and work alongside them, letting everyone know that he is part of the team, and that he is willing to do whatever he asks them to do. The staff knows where they are at all stages of the project, because the leader has been “in the trenches” with them. In which company are the workers more likely to be engaged and want to do a good job? Which leader is more likely to command respect and loyalty, and inspire greatness in others? 

Leading from a pedestal is not as effective as leading by example. This month, how can you show those around you that you are a participant, not merely a delegator?

  

January 2017

How Open Are You…Really?

In our exploration of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders, so far we’ve determined that anabolic leaders “lead” and “participate,” while catabolic leaders “manage” and “delegate.” This month, let’s look at another aspect of leadership - how information is passed along to others – to further see the difference between the two types of leaders 

In any type of leadership role – whether as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or as a parent, imparting information to others is an integral and essential part of leading. Catabolic leaders give information, while anabolic leaders share information. 

“Giving” means to convey, transmit, assign, or allot. When we give to others, we no longer have ownership of what we give. “Sharing,” on the other hand, means to partake of, use, or experience with others. When we share, we’re still part of the process – we’re “in it” with the other person. It’s similar to the difference between catabolic delegating and anabolic participating.

When a catabolic leader gives information to others, they do so without much explanation, and with little buy-in or justification… However, anabolic leader who shares information explains well and buys-in, which builds trust, develops rapport, and deepens the connection with the other person.

Which of the following leaders is more likely to get the result they desire? 

Catabolic leader – John, I need a rundown of the responsibilities of each of the people in your department. Please get it to me by tomorrow afternoon, if not sooner.

Anabolic leader – John, we’re considering bringing in some additional staff members to ease some of the production crunch you and your department are under. I’d like a rundown of the responsibilities of the people in your department so that I can see who’s doing what and where some gaps might be. Since I’d like to get this process underway soon, how possible would it be to get this to me by tomorrow afternoon or earlier? After I take a look at it, I’d love to sit down with you to hear your ideas for resolving this. How does that sound?

The two leaders asked for the same information – but how differently they asked, and how different the result is likely to be! John’s response to the catabolic leader would probably be to question what was going on and to worry about his department and the people under him, and to either put off doing the task or do it in perfunctory way. His response to the anabolic leader, on the other hand, would most likely be to jump right into the task, do it well, and generate ideas for improvement.

Anabolic leaders get results! This month, try sharing instead of giving information, both at work and at home. Those extra few minutes of explanation and getting buy-in can make all the difference.


December 2016

Delegate or Participate

Last month I began a discussion of the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders, and how the anabolic leader “leads,” while the catabolic leader “manages.” Another distinction between catabolic and anabolic leaders is that catabolic leaders “delegate,” while anabolic leaders “participate.”

 According to Webster’s dictionary, “delegate” means to entrust to the care or management of another; to transfer; to assign; to commit, and “participate” means to partake of; to share in; to receive a part of. 

Most of us have been taught that delegating is something that we need to do in order to be effective leaders and to get things done. And in fact, that is true – but anabolic leaders take it a step further. When a catabolic leader delegates a task to someone else, the leader, in effect, wipes his or her hands of the task. When an anabolic leader participates in the task with another person, the other person knows that they are supported and valued while they are doing the work. Participating certainly doesn’t mean that the leader needs to do all, most, or even any of the work – it implies being available to other people without hesitation. It means that employees know that the leader is willing to personally do anything that he or she asks them to do. 

Let’s take a look at an example of this. Imagine the following scenario. A small business owner is expanding from two retail locations to three. The owner of the company assigns tasks to the key staff. In Catabolic Company A, the owner gets occasional progress reports, but remains out of the picture until everything is done, at which point the staff is either praised or reprimanded based on what they’ve accomplished. In Anabolic Company B, the owner not only follows up frequently with the staff, but is also on hand to pitch in and work alongside them, letting everyone know that he is part of the team, and that he is willing to do whatever he asks them to do. The staff knows where they are at all stages of the project, because the leader has been “in the trenches” with them. In which company are the workers more likely to be engaged and want to do a good job? Which leader is more likely to command respect and loyalty, and inspire greatness in others?

Leading from a pedestal is not as effective as leading by example. This month, how can you show those around you that you are a participant, not merely a delegator?


November 2016

What Kind of Leader Do You Want To Be?

Leadership has been defined as the ability to inspire and motivate others, as well as yourself, to take life-changing action to create extraordinary results that last.

According to this definition, each and every one of us is a leader. How well you lead depends on your level of consciousness, or energy. Higher levels of anabolic energy are associated with more effective leadership. Anabolic energy is building energy, and whether in the workplace or at home, great leaders build relationships, teams, families, and businesses. Catabolic energy, on the other hand, is destructive, and catabolic leaders destroy and break down everything around them.

In the next few issues of this newsletter, I’ll take a look at the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders to show you how you can become the leader that you want to be.

Let’s look first at the overall style of the catabolic leader. A catabolic leader manages. The definition of “manage” is “to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use,” and “to dominate or influence.” Catabolic leaders control others. They tell others what to do, and how to do it. The catabolic leader, in keeping control, keeps the other people in the relationship in a non-powerful position - and then most likely complains to everyone around that “I can’t seem to find good help,” and “no one does things as well as I do.” 

An anabolic leader, on the other hand, leads. The definition of “lead” – “to go before or with to show the way,” and “to guide in direction, course, and action” sounds supportive and empowering, and it is. The anabolic leader doesn’t control and doesn’t push people, but instead, inspires them by words, action, and by personal example.   

One of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching foundational principles states that “Each of us is greater and wiser than we appear to be.” Anabolic leaders realize this, and thus, don’t feel the need to tell people what to do, as they realize that everyone has their own answers and gifts.

Last month I discussed catabolic and anabolic responses to being faced with a task or something to do. When a catabolic leader TELLS or DEMANDS that someone do something, most likely, they will respond catabolically – “I won’t,” “I have to,” or “I need to.” When an anabolic leader REQUESTS that someone do something, or ASKS for someone’s input on a project, they’re much more likely to respond with the anabolic “I want to” or “I choose to.” The more anabolic the leader, the greater the probability of success in the task.

This month, as you interact with those around you, think about how much more of an anabolic leader you could be if you led, instead of managed.

For more information about what Energy Leadership is and isn’t; as well as, how the Energy Leadership Assessment can help you more effectively evaluate yourself as a leader and in turn become a more impactful leader, contact me at: herman@thinkbigcoachingandtraining.com


October 2016

Catabolic vs. Anabolic Choice

Many of us walk around feeling like we have limited choices in many aspects of our lives. Take notice of how many times a day you say the words have to, should, and need to. Whenever you feel like you must do something, you’re in Level 1 energy – you’re a victim to your thoughts or circumstances.

In fact, when you’re faced with a task or something to do, there are five basic ways you can respond, and of those, only one is by full conscious choice.

The five ways of responding are “I won’t,” “I have to,” “I need to,” “I want to,” or “I choose to.”

When you say “I won’t” do something, you’re saying that you have no power, that life happens to you, no matter what you do or believe. You don’t believe that you have a choice. You also don’t really think there’s anything in it for you – so why do it?

If you say “I have to,” you’re looking at the short term perspective. You “have to” complete the task in front of you, or else you will experience dire consequences. You feel forced to do it, and that you have very little to no choice.

The third response, “I need to” is a more powerful place to come from. Here, you’re aware of your choices and you seek to find the opportunity in the challenges presented to you. This perspective brings more chance of success, but it’s still catabolic, because you don’t feel like you’re fully at choice.

So these three responses involve either non-action, or action by force. Since you are not energetically bought into a situation, goal, or project, and because you are bringing catabolic energy to it, you are also bringing a recipe for failure. So in these catabolic levels, even though you may think you are choosing to do something, at your core, you chose not to do it, or not to do it well.

The next response, “I want to,” is anabolic, because it indicates that you are mostly at choice. But, “want” still comes from a place of lack.

The most powerful response is “I choose to.” When you respond this way, you feel you have complete choice. There’s a powerful connection between who you are and what you do.

So how do you get to choose to? Simply come from a place of having everything, and choosing to experience, rather than fill a need. Easy? Not at all, but you can choose to try it.


September 2016

Interpretations

The Big 4 energy blocks keep you stuck and prevent you from achieving what you want in your life. We’ve already explored limiting beliefs and assumptions. This month, let’s look at the third energy block, interpretations. 

When you interpret something, you create an opinion about an event, situation, or experience. In essence, you create an explanation and then look for evidence to support its validity. When you make an interpretation, you don’t even see that other explanations exist. In actuality, though, an interpretation often represents only one viewpoint among the many that are possible.

Your interpretations hold a strong energetic charge, which affects your emotions and actions. If you believe your viewpoint of a particular situation is the only explanation, you might not be aware of another point of view. You may end up wasting a lot of time and resources marching off in the wrong direction. Because you don’t see that other possibilities exist, you remain stuck in your story, and feel like you have no control over the outcome. 

So let’s say you come into work one day, your boss barely nods hello, and then he goes into his office and closes the door. If you think that your boss acted that way because he is angry with you, you might spend the morning wondering what you did to get him mad, and you might be hesitant to approach him with the great idea you’d come up with on the way in to work. 

As with assumptions, interpretations are personal and are somewhat difficult to let go of and challenge. Holding onto them may seem like the easy way out, as facing them may move you into uncharted territory. However, challenging your interpretations opens you up to a world of possibilities, literally.

Typical interpretations may sound like this:

He doesn’t like me.

She thinks I’m incompetent.

They don’t want to follow orders.

My son is just not interested in doing his homework.

Interpretations can be directly challenged by asking: “What’s another way to look at that?” Just realizing that there are other ways to look at something lessens the power of your interpretation. One way to do this is to imagine what another individual’s perspective of the situation might be. Asking for someone else’s point of view on a difficult situation (even if they are not directly involved) can break existing paradigms and open pathways for more successful solutions. Challenging yourself or others to argue the point of view directly opposite your interpretation also works remarkably well to arrive at new information, new angles, and new paths to success. 

In the example of the boss above, perhaps the reason he barely acknowledged you was that he just received a disturbing phone call about a family member, or he had a deadline that had to be met – or…….well, there are many possible explanations. What an opportunity you’d miss if you decided not to present your great idea based on your false interpretation.

This month, before you “jump to conclusions” and believe the first story that comes to mind, consider other possibilities that could lead you to new, empowering choices and actions.

 

August 2016

Beware the Gremlin

This month, I’ll discuss the last of the Big 4 energy blocks. If you’re not achieving what you want to, it’s most likely one of these four that’s keeping you stuck. In the past newsletters, we looked at limiting beliefs - things that you accept about life, about yourself, about your world, or about the people in it, that limit you in some way; assumptions – expectations that, because something has happened in the past, it will happen again; and interpretations – opinions and judgments that you create about an event, situation, person, or experience and believe to be true.  

It is now time to examine the last, but certainly not the least, of the big four energy blocks. The final block we’ll talk about - the gremlin - is the most difficult to overcome, because it’s the most personal and holds the most energy. 

This barrier is the gremlin within every one of us: the inner critic. You know that little voice in your head? That voice that tells you not to try, never to take a risk, always to take the safe road, and to compromise your life by playing small? That’s your gremlin, and the message from your gremlin’s warnings is that you’re just not good enough to reach the summit of success.

Regardless of any evidence to the contrary, the gremlin’s annoying voice continues to whisper: “It ain’t gonna happen.” This debilitating message bubbles up in many forms: “I’m not smart enough, experienced enough, and attractive enough.” It all comes back to a simple and quite vicious block: “I’m just not good enough to cut it. 

Your gremlin is highly personal. It is rooted deeply inside you and carries the most intense emotional charge of any of the blocks we’ve explored. Your gremlin thrives on fear. When you hear its whispers, your motivation to try withers. You dread failing, feeling pain, and being embarrassed. You can even be scared of succeeding if the gremlin convinces you that you’ll fail eventually. 

So what are some typical gremlins statements? Do you hear any of these statements from your own inner critic? 

  • I’m not effective.
  • Who am I kidding, here?
  • I’m not smart enough to really do this job right.
  • I don’t have enough experience.
  • I don’t deserve great success.
  • They are going to find out I am a phony.

Being aware of your gremlin is the first step towards lessening its power. Once you realize that your gremlin exists, give it an identity. Name it – and then, if you’d like, make it even more real by drawing it, sculpting it, or seeing it in your mind – whatever works for you. In doing this, you discover that the gremlin is only a part of who you are, not your whole identity. By seeing it in objective terms, you sap some of its strength. Gremlin work can be quite involved and is most effective when you are guided by a certified coach.

The Big 4 hold you back from living the life you desire and prevent you from making conscious choices. The Energy Leadership process will allow you to examine the energy blocks in your own life that are holding you back from reaching your unlimited potential. If you’d like more of an explanation of Energy Leadership coaching, contact me herman@thinkbigcoachingandtraining.com about Bruce D Schneider’s bestselling book, Energy Leadership.

 
July 2016
 
About Energy Leadership

Energy Leadership teaches leaders from all walks of life how to develop their skills, sophistication, and versatility. It shows people how to become aware of how powerful they are and can be in the workplace, at home, and in the world at large. Energy Leadership shows readers that the way to become a powerful leader is to understand the power of energy. Leaders will learn how to:

  • Recognize the seven distinct levels that are the key to understanding why everyone thinks and acts the way they do, in life and specifically within the workplace.
  • Distinguish truly effective leaders from those who deplete the energy of the people around them, and specific techniques to shift energy levels to inspire peak performance.
  • Become powerful leaders who motivate themselves and others to reach their true potential.
  • Identify the Big Four Energy Blocks and discover proven techniques and strategies for overcoming these and other obstacles to success.
  • Develop the ability to shift internal energy to meet any leadership challenge, and use this newfound power to inspire respect, confidence, and loyalty in others.

This is not your everyday leadership program; it’s about everyday leaders. Energy Leadership is focused on developing the leader within you, no matter who you are or what you do. Everyone is a leader, as we each try to motivate and inspire others, as well as ourselves, to take action. The question isn’t whether or not we are leaders, it’s how well we lead. Energy Leadership helps people from all walks of life to lead others to extraordinary and sustainable success. From parents and teachers, to clergy and politicians, to coaches and consultants, to managers, entrepreneurs and CEOs, the system helps create awareness of the type and level of energy -- the level of consciousness -- that we have, and shows leaders how to be at the cause, instead of the effect of life.

For information about the program and also about the book on Energy Leadership, contact Herman@thinkbigcoachingandtraining.com or call 304-839-5101.

 
June 2016

The Assumptions You Make

Last month we explored limiting beliefs, the first of the “Big 4” energy blocks. These prevent you from making conscious choices and reaching your potential. Let’s take a look now at another one of those blocks – the assumptions you make.

An assumption is a belief that is based on the premise that because something happened in the past, it is automatically going to happen again.

When you make choices based on your assumptions, you are letting the past control the future. Assumptions hold you back, because when you already “know” that something won’t work, you probably won’t even consider doing it. Even if you do attempt it, you won’t have a lot of energy for, or be engaged in, what you’re doing, since you don’t really believe it can work. When you hold on to your assumptions, you miss out on many possibilities. 

Imagine this scenario: A new salesperson has done five sales presentations, and none of the prospective clients have decided to buy her product. If she makes the assumption that she is not good at doing presentations, then it’s unlikely that she’ll put her all into soliciting them. And, even if she does end up doing one, the catabolic energy she brings with her to the presentation may actually repel her potential sales (and without her even realizing it, she has created more proof that her assumption was correct.)

Here are some typical assumptions:

  • If I don’t do it myself, it won’t be done right.
  • My kids are lazy and unproductive.
  • I’m no good at interviewing.
  • No one listens to what I’m saying.

Because assumptions are primarily based on personal experience, they are internalized and emotional, and somewhat difficult to let go of. Delving deep to remove the emotion of the past experience may be necessary before moving forward.  

The main question to ask when challenging an assumption is simply “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again?”

This month, when you just “know” that something won’t work based on your past experience, recognize your assumption for what it is, question it, and consciously choose to let it go and to take positive action.

In the next issue, I’ll go on to interpretations, the next of the Big 4 blocks.

 
May 2016

Limiting Beliefs
 
In the last newsletter, I discussed Self-Fate and how, because you are making choices based on your past experiences, you cannot change your future unless the control of the past is removed. You need to learn to make conscious choices, choices that are made in the present moment, without all the emotional "baggage" you carry around.
 
You can think of that baggage as being packed in four kinds of suitcases - the "Big 4" energy blocks that you carry around with you that dictate how you see the world and that hold you back from reaching your unlimited potential.
 
The first suitcase contains your limiting beliefs. Beliefs can either help you or hinder you; limiting beliefs are those that hold you back from success. If you do not believe something is possible, you're not likely to attempt it. Even if you do attempt it, you won't devote much energy to achieving that goal.

Limiting beliefs are general beliefs about the world, your environment and situation, and the people around you that stand in your way. More often than not, you accept a limiting belief as true because you've learned it from someone else, or from an "authority" such as the media, a book, or a movie. You assume that it's "just the way it is".
 
Here is a classic example of a limiting belief: Up until 1954, it was commonly held that running a mile in under four minutes was impossible.... Moreover, physiologists believed it was extremely dangerous even to attempt it. Yet on May 6 of that year, Roger Bannister crossed the finish line in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds, thereby disproving the myth forever.
 
It's remarkable that Bannister accomplished his feat. It required that he completely ignore the prevailing, limiting belief and construct an entirely different belief system for himself. What others saw as a limitation, he perceived as opportunity. And once he disproved the presumed limits of the human body, less than two months later, another runner, John Landy, broke Bannister's record with a mile dash of 3 minutes and 57.9 seconds. What's more, within just a few years, dozens of runners were leaving the four-minute mark in the dust.
 
Here are a couple of common limiting beliefs that hold many back. How about, "You have to work really hard to achieve success"? Or that, "Successful people are lucky"? Or that, "You have to have money to make money"?
 
There are several ways to challenge limiting beliefs. You can explore the effect the belief has had on your life, look for proof of its truth (or lack of proof), or modify the belief or aspects of the belief to better serve you. Simply examining the belief with questions like, "How true do I believe that is?" and the rhetorical, "Where did I get that idea?" can also work remarkably well. Once you overcome limiting beliefs, they can no longer hold you back. 
 
This month, think about examining the contents of your limiting beliefs suitcase. Unpack it, and see how much lighter you feel. 
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Thoughts to Ponder

"Withholding your talents robs the world of untold potential." --Herman Dixon

"You can't just go on being a good egg.  You must either hatch or go bad!"    --C.S. Lewis

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." --James M. Barrie 

"The great secret of success in life is for a man to be ready when his opportunity comes."--Benjamin Disraeli


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