Energy and confidence are the fuel for your vision. How do you protect them?
By the term energy, Joe means your actual physical energy. It’s the physical stamina you have to get things done that need to be done. Confidence is your emotional and mental energy. It’s having the resolve to deal with problems as they arise.
Confidence and energy are very much like a battery. Picture the battery on your cell phone. There are some days you are dealing with all kinds of phone calls, working with apps and all kinds of things are going on. Before the end of the day, the battery is completely drained and the phone is worthless unless you recharge it. Then, there’s other days where that phone is barely used. You might make a couple of calls here and there but you’re not really using it. At the end of the day, it’s got 70 or 80 percent of the battery charge still remaining.
That’s like your confidence and energy in real life. Some days it’s drained down, other days you’ve got unlimited amounts of it. If you have 27 apps open on the phone, the energy is draining even when you’re not using those apps. If you’ve got your focus divided on 27 different things, even though you’re doing one thing, the other stuff is occupying space in the back of your mind and you’re draining down even though you’re not working on those things.
How are your energy and confidence created?
Physical energy comes from taking care of your body. Your diet or eating properly, getting enough sleep and exercise or working your body to keep it moving. Jim Kwik, who does the podcast Kwik Brain, says that doing things physically helps your brain work more effectively. So if you are not properly taking care of your body, your brain suffers. Your ability to think and function suffers.
Your physical energy affects your emotional and mental energy.
Mental energy comes from getting rest, removing your mind from the daily grind of what you do every day. Do you have hobbies or distractions to get you away from those things? People who work seven days a week, eight or 10 hours a day, are not as productive as people who are working five or six days a week and taking that day to let their mind be renewed, recharged and refreshed. It’s counterintuitive to a lot of hard driven people who are trying to make things happen. They believe they can’t afford to take a day off because something will slip through the cracks. But when you don’t take a day off, more things slip through the cracks because you’re not as mentally sharp.
The two biggest drains of your confidence and your energy are problem solving and decision making. Decision making can be painful when it’s a decision you haven’t been planning for. You get a group of people going to lunch and nobody can make up their mind where to go. Nobody wants to think about it because it’s out of the ordinary. It’s an exhausting process to make a decision. Now, imagine that multiplied by 20 with the big decisions with your company or with your life. When you haven’t prepared to make those decisions and you haven’t protected your energy, you’re making those decisions in a depleted state. The odds are high that you will make a poorer decision when you’re low on energy and confidence, than you will when you are charged up and ready to go.
Three strategies to protect your energy and confidence.
Strategy 1: Routine
A routine is a process that allows you to develop a system where you’re doing something the same way all the time until it becomes it becomes a habit. You begin doing it without thinking, which frees your brain to be working on other things while you’re managing that routine.
Imagine if your daily life and business were loaded with those kinds of routines. You get things done in such a systematic method and process that by the time you’re finished you haven’t expended any energy or confidence on them. All that is going to help you have more energy for the important things, for the unexpected problems that pop up. It brings freedom in your life.
A lot of people who don’t practice this kind of discipline look at these routines and these habits as something that takes away their freedom, that keeps them from being able to do what they want to do. They want to have an artistic life where they just kind of flow through life and do whatever feels like the right thing to do. Well if you do that, the odds are you will be a starving artist your whole life. If you want to have success and fulfillment and go toward a vision you’ve created for yourself, you have to have discipline and routines.
Routines are important because they allow you to play offense. They allow you to attack the day instead of letting the day attack you. One of the best examples of a routine you need is a morning routine. Every successful person Joe has ever met or read about has some sort of morning routine to get their day off on the right foot. It’s something that really gets your battery charged up.
Strategy 2: Focus
Look at two of the richest, most successful people on the planet: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Both of them have been quoted as saying the biggest reason for their success is their focus.
Are you focusing with such intensity that you can cut through the problems and the decisions in your day? Or is your focus divided and scattered, trying to focus on 100 things at once and really not accomplishing anything?
One of the biggest myths in the business world is the idea of multitasking. There have been studies done that show that while a person is trying to do two or three things at one time, their IQ actually goes down and they’re not doing any of them with any kind of excellence. When you’re multitasking, what you’re actually doing is constantly interrupting yourself and going from one task back to the other. You’re dividing your focus and not really accomplishing anything, doing both tasks much slower than if you did one at a time.
It is just impossible for the human brain to focus its energy, power, and thinking on two different tasks at the same time. You can only focus on one thing at a time. If you’re a multitasker, it’s time to reconsider that and think about having focus time.
People call it different things, e.g. being in the zone or being in flow. You need at least an hour or more regularly of focus time where you’re focusing on the biggest issues you need to solve in your business. The biggest rocks you need to move in order to move towards your vision. Joe encourages you to have a routine that creates focus time for you.
Focus creates incredible momentum. When you’re focused for an extended period of time, you can get to three, four, or five times as much done as when you’re trying to do it amidst interruptions and distractions. So if you are in an office environment where it’s impossible for you to avoid distractions, you need to find a place you can go to have your focus. Or if you’re in an environment where you encourage distractions from the people around you, you need to change that. Let them know you’re going to be in the zone and not to bother or interrupt you for X-number of hours.
Our society has developed in us such a short attention span, people can’t stay focused. It’s a skill you have to rebuild. Turn off your phone. Turn off your computer. Put your office phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and take away all of the distractions.
If that focus time is spent in your purpose, the thing that you were created to do, it can actually be an energizing thing. That’s what happens when you’re protecting your energy and your confidence. Energy feeds confidence, confidence feeds energy, and when you’re doing things to protect them, build them, and feed them, they just keep building on each other and feeding on each other.
Strategy 3: Blanket Decisions
A blanket decision is when you make a decision once and it’s done. This is for when you have a certain activity you do on a regular basis that is difficult for you, or something you don’t want to do, or something you hesitate to do. You make that decision one time and that’s it, it’s done. There’s no more thinking about it, you just go do it because the decision has already been made.
For example, many people who are successful with working out on a regular basis start their day with their work out. When Joe wanted to make his workout something that started each day with a big win, he made a blanket decision and flipped the switch, saying “I’m not deciding whether or not I work out when the alarm goes off in the morning. When the alarm goes off in the morning, the decision has already been made. I’m getting up and I’m heading to the gym.” Joe does everything the night before to make it really easy to get up and go. His gym bag is ready to go. His clothes for the day are already set out. To make it even easier, he has a trainer at the gym and a boot camp group to work out with so he’s got accountability from the people who are there and accountability from the trainer who’s creating the workout. He doesn’t have to think about the work, just go there and do it.
Flipping the switch and making a blanket decision allows you to put your brain power and energy towards other things, because that decision has already been made.
Where in your life do you have regular things you do where you could flip the switch so that you can get better? Where can you create a process to take away the decision making and the problem solving that go with it?
When you do these kinds of things—flipping the switch, having focus time, being in the zone, building routines throughout your day—it helps you to be more successful. These things create momentum in your life. They allow you to protect energy and confidence so that when the big problem or the big decision does show up, you’re not already depleted through things you had control over.
Start paying attention to your energy and confidence levels and when are they at their peak during the day. Study yourself. Get to know how you work, how your body works. how your mind works. And when you see patterns, adjust your work day and your life accordingly.
Do an autopsy of the day
Even if you’re planning everything out and being very intentional about everything in your life, you’re still going to have days where things don’t go to plan. The world beats up on you and you come home feeling tired and defeated. When you such a day, it’s important thing to take steps that evening to get yourself ready to have your energy back at a high level the next day.
Do what Joe calls an autopsy of the day. Stop and look at it. Ask yourself, “what could I have done differently to avoid whatever happened? How could I have managed everything better so it would have been a different outcome? What do I have to deal with tomorrow that’s lingering from today?”
Take a little extra time that evening, and with your morning routine, to set up a plan so that when you’re freshest you can deal everything. Go on offense the next day, instead of starting the day on defense, attacking those problems, issues, and decisions that beat you up that day. Start the next day with a fully charged battery of energy and confidence and push through those things.
Remember, confidence and energy are the fuel that drive you towards your vision. If you want your vision to become reality, you need to protect that energy and confidence. Take care of getting those decision-making and problem solving issues out of the way when you’re at your highest energy level. If you do this, you will operate at peak efficiency.
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