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We all have those periods in our lives where we feel as though we’ve hit a brick wall. I know I have. Everything we’re trying to get off the ground is met by resistance. One after one, doors are closed in our face. These obstacles can feel very demoralizing, and for good reason: They seem so unfair. But despite how you may feel at the mercy of events, the answer doesn’t lie in blame or victimhood. It lies within you!
I have been a business coach and public speaker for years now. In that time, I’ve explored enumerate techniques, practices and modalities. These have ranged from brain-scan and dawn meditating retreats to engaging with very expensive business mentors on a one-to-one basis.
One practice that, on the face of it could seem kinda “out there,” is aligning your energies. It can be really easy to dismiss this kind of thing as just a bunch of hippy nonsense, and even if we are receptive to it, we can feel as though it’s a luxury that we just don’t have time for. But what if aligning your energies and rejuvenating them brought you more time, clarity and energy?
Like I say to my clients: If you unlock the door of your belief systems and leave it unlocked, you’ll be amazed at what comes through for you. I’m not talking about throwing it open and blindly accepting everything you’re told. I’m saying: Just don’t stand in the way with cynicism and denial.
Don’t be the path of most resistance for the universe!
It can be hard, I know, to connect the dots with esoteric practices and bottom-line results. As a business-minded person, you’re probably more concerned with practical strategies that will give you the competitive edge.
The trouble is, though, that without being aligned with the outcomes you want for your business, you’re at the mercy of all kinds of subconscious programming that is dictating things behind the scenes. This means that you probably aren’t aware of all the ways in which you are sabotaging yourself. If you have ever (as I have) shied away from a situation/opportunity/person, because you felt ill-equipped to deal with it, or were afraid you’d show yourself up to be a fraud, you’ll understand what I mean.
Think about it this way: When you’re the person who encounters someone like that, how do you feel towards them? Are you more or less inclined to help them? If someone puts up a front of “I don’t believe in myself,” odds are, you’re more likely to consider helping them to be a waste of time. It’s human nature. When someone demonstrates that they have the drive, the enthusiasm, the talent and the willingness to learn, you’ll go to the ends of the Earth for them.
It’s very easy to slip into complacency once we get our business to a point of earning us a more-than-adequate wage. The drive to succeed beyond our need can start to wane somewhat. If this is you, I want first to point out that you must not attach shame or guilt. It’s perfectly normal to be where you’re at. Now that you’re aware of it, though, it’s about what you choose to do from here.
You don’t have to believe in the “out there” stuff to recognize that your mood affects your day and the results you see throughout it. Go into a meeting feeling grumpy, and you’ll be short with people. Do that, and they won’t venture ideas for fear of incurring your wrath, which will limit the productivity of that meeting.
Your energy impacts others and how they relate to you
With that in mind then, here are three simple things that you can do in order to positively shift your energy and start to see tangible benefits in your business as a result. And no, you don’t have to believe in the esoteric for them to work.
Yup, sorry. I know for some of you, this is going to be the hardest one to muster the energy for. When I was at my lowest ebb, holding an engine block above my head for two hours seemed like less effort than cracking a smile. Nevertheless, the impact this has on your energy and even your physiology is huge!
The next time you’re having a bad day or struggling with fatigue, try smiling. Take yourself off somewhere if you’re embarrassed, but throw the biggest grin you can, and notice the immediate shift in your energy. It’s profound, and I promise you: If you do it regularly, you’ll see huge improvements in what you get back. You’ll be less stressed, more energized and more productive.
2. Be kind in your mind
I remember Prison Break star, Wentworth Miller, saying this in an interview a while ago, and it really stuck with me. He had suffered terribly with mental health issues and bouts of depression. A big part of his recovery was learning to speak to himself with compassion and care, as if he were speaking to a friend or loved one.
Many of us struggle with practicing self-love. When we make a mistake or produce an imperfect outcome, our first thoughts often run to chiding ourselves. We’ll say things like “You idiot! Why did you do that?,” “You’ll never succeed,” “You’re not good enough,” etc. Why do we do this to ourselves? You would never say that to someone else (at least, I hope you wouldn’t).
As Miller said, when those thoughts pop up in your mind, try to counter them with what you would say to someone else. Tell yourself that it’s okay and that you’re doing the best you can, in good faith, and with the best intentions. Give yourself a pep talk and be gentle. Life is hard enough without being mean to yourself on top of it all.
3. Breathe before you react
We’re pretty bad at this, aren’t we? Given that most of us sit down for the majority of our working day, we tend to slouch and breathe shallowly. This is terrible for oxygenating our bodies, and as a result of that (and a diet of convenient, processed food), we lack a lot of energy.
As with smiling, though, I encourage you to practice deep breathing throughout your day. This will take a bit more finesse and practice than smiling, so I recommend you seek out some guided breathwork. It takes a lot of time and willpower to habitualize practices like this, so stick with it. The other benefit of doing controlled breathing before making decisions or reacting to something, is that you’ll be much more inclined to act rationally. By being more objective and less prone to ego/emotionally-led actions, you’ll avoid more of those instances of self-sabotage.
Related: 20 Ways to Boost Your Energy at Work
There are countless other ways to go deeper into this, but if you can master these three practices first (harder than it might seem) you’ll see huge improvements in your productivity.