by Josh Millar
When we look at the top professionals across industries, one thing they seem to have in common is energy. They’re able to accomplish a great deal every day without working themselves to burnout. They move confidently and consistently in the direction of their goals. And sure, it’s easy to be energized when you set a new goal or start a new project, but the real key here is maintenance. It’s one thing to generate the energy, but how do you sustain it? If we want to continue growing in our careers and expanding our success, I believe this is a question we need to ask ourselves. The more I explore this question for myself, the more I figure out the strategies that work for me. While maintaining energy may look a bit different from person to person, here are some important areas that may help:
We need to stay energized to reach our goals. We need to have the capacity to keep pushing forward even when we’ve been striving for months and the end is still out of reach. But instead of just requiring energy, goals can also generate energy. While most of us are familiar with that initial burst of energy when setting out on a new goal, it’s the rest of the process we really need to focus on. How can we use goals here to maintain energy? By creating smaller goals along the way. Instead of just fixating on one distant endpoint, you can create smaller goals that feel within reach that will push you closer. When we do this, we create that initial boost of energy from setting a new goal, and we also create an additional boost when we achieve it. This technique of using smaller goals to build the path towards a larger one can provide a steady source of fuel while you strive.
We also create energy through inspiration. When we get excited about something, we naturally feel more energized. If you’ve been in the same position for years, it can be easy to slip into a rut. If you stop introducing yourself to new ideas and experiences, it’s no wonder inspiration will start to diminish. Professionals need to be proactive here. It’s usually much more challenging to get inspired when you’re already feeling burnt out. Instead, work to maintain a steady connection to sources of inspiration. Whether that’s through engaging podcasts, innovative blogs, taking classes, or any other way of taking in new information. Keeping your mind active and engaged in this way creates a powerful support for sustained energy.
Who do you surround yourself with? And how do they impact your identity? We’ve likely all been around people who can drain us. We may even enjoy spending time with them, but at the end, we tend to feel exhausted. This is just something to be cautious of so that it doesn’t start to take a real toll. Set boundaries where you need to. Just as much as unenergized people can bring our energy levels down, high-energy people can bring our energy levels up. Surround yourself with people who are excited about their work, who commit to their goals, who strive for more, and who like putting in the work. Creating this type of a community is an important way for professionals to protect and maintain their energy.
Maintaining energy doesn’t mean ignoring what you need. If you’re feeling exhausted, listen to that. If you notice your energy levels declining, investigate. To maintain a sustainable level of energy that will fuel a successful career, we need to know how to recharge. This often means having a few techniques in place you can fall back on when energy is low. Sometimes this might look like an unplugged weekend where you catch up on rest, while other times it might look like going for a run or taking a trip somewhere new. We all recharge in different ways, and it’s smart to have a variety of strategies to turn to when you need to recharge.
To achieve sustainable, long-term success, we need a sustainable source of energy. We need to invest in learning how to generate and protect that energy so that it can fuel forward progress. How do you stay energized in your work, especially at more challenging times? I’d love to hear your thoughts.