Working across various industries; including financial, entertainment, consulting, healthcare, FMCG and IT; I am observing people in various states of depletion because life feels like a game of survivor – outwit, outlast, and outplay. I observe the walking dead, in both men and women alike. It is so much more normal to be narcotised and numb than it is to be fully alive. How is it that this is the prevailing condition no matter what industry I touch? Is this the new normal given our highly demanded of lives?
It strikes me that people are already exhausted, and it’s only the middle of May. The prevailing symptoms appear as general exhaustion, limited creativity and happiness, focusing on things outside of personal control, decreasing autonomy and choice, controls and hierarchies stifling initiative, innovation and progress, and systems and processes are not aligned for delivery. It seems that life is being lived in the red zone of the nervous system, which in itself will bleed energy.
These appear to be the symptoms, and so my curiosity to consider what the causes are?
Demands on our energy:
The macro global and country narratives are not particularly energising when one considers the state of the world and country level issues, it is easy to get drawn into the negative spiral and lose energy that way. But one does have to consider the degree to which these matters are in our hands and therefore the amount of time and energy we give to them.
The work experience (which consumes most of our time and energy) is often anchored in material and transactional terms, with little emphasis on what would make work meaningful beyond profit. The issues preventing individuals pursuing meaningful work is more about social conditioning and experience than reality. There is an unconscious acceptance that this is how it is and there is little chance of moving the dial. However, I would challenge this notion and say that what we experience is directly and proportionately related to how we choose to engage in these matters. Satisfying work fuels us, and so it is necessary to interrogate what would make for meaningful work.
Family, community, special interests, studies, and social demands all require energy of us.
Add then the social media and digital world offers distractions a plenty from ourselves. It may be energising for a while as the dopamine hit is felt from getting another fix, but soon it requires more daily hits to sustain that buzz, similar to other substance abuse. More and more we tend to mimic the “always on” requirement of the digital era and lose sight of the fact that in order to be high performing, we need rest and recharge. I saw a brilliant question a couple of weeks back “DO YOU RECHARGE YOURSELF AS OFTEN AS YOU RECHARGE YOUR PHONE?”
So what about Recharge?
Think about it…Ask yourself what you need to be at your very best every day, to achieve what you are capable of?
Is there a tendency to be blaming everything but yourself for the condition you find yourself in? Sadly, this exhausted way of being actually has more to do with the choices we make as individuals than anything else.
What are you contributing to your reality and what can you do to change your experience?
To be fair, not enough people out there are considering what they need to have in place to be able to bring the best of themselves to the party. I am curious as to the impact of this lack-lustre energy permeating the world right now and how it is driving high levels of discontent. In what universe is this Dead (Wo)Man Walking acceptable? It goes so against our fundamental birth right, which is to live a life of joy, abundance, vitality and wellness to live our lives by design instead of default. And yet sadly, it is the new norm for most… but not all.
So what are the shining examples of joy, abundance, vitality and resilience doing to achieve quality of life?
- They understand the importance of having a purpose.
- They know exactly what they need to be optimal in the multi-dimensional demands of life.
- They take full responsibility for their experiences.
- They put practices into place that allow the very best of themselves to show up every day.
- They know it doesn’t happen by accident and that their daily experiences are determined by their thoughts, beliefs and actions on a cumulative basis. This requires a constant monitoring and evaluating of self.
- They know that they can start to shift their experiences by making choices that will gradually improve their reality.
- They are patient, knowing that it is only through consistency of practice that lasting change happens.
Once we start to implement strategies that support a healthy diet, regular exercise, quality rest, meditation, relaxation, fun and personal boundaries; we move out of the red zone of our nervous systems and restore creativity, initiative, innovation, solution-orientation and growth mind-sets, which in turn fuel growth for individuals, organisations and countries.
It is the job of each one of us to lead ourselves in a way that allows the fullest measure of our potential to emerge.