This past weekend I went on a wonderful women's retreat to a beach retreat center with a group of women from my church. I have been anticipating it for many weeks. I have been anticipating it because I knew that it would be a time for relaxing, growth and building meaningful and energy-giving relationships. As I was thinking about that this morning, I began to ask myself...what makes one experience, or the anticipation of the experience, energy-giving, life-giving, and what tends to sap the energy out of me??
As I thought about what I expected, I thought about the lack of responsibility to lead. In my vocation, I am expected to lead much of the time. I also thought about the fact that most of those going were going with an openness to experience, to learn, and to grow.
So, then, I started to think about what hinders me from being this way other times, other days. It isn't just about being in leadership. I love my work and experience as a minister, a counselor, a life coach. And, I can be open and learn so much from those with whom I have this responsibility. So what is it? If I anticipate resistance, if I am afraid of not meeting up to someone else's standards, if I am afraid of not being liked for the decisions I make or the things I say. This is when I start closing down before I even get into the experience. When I go into my day anticipating conflict among those I am leading, or even simply those that I am with, I need to be so aware of how this is impacting me, and the choices I want or need to make to stay on course in the direction that is right for me, for the purpose that is best for my role, for who I am at the time.
So, I ask you... what gives you energy and what shuts down your energy? Several questions to think about to stay self aware of yourself, to stay aware of those around you and to stay on course with what make you true to yourself and your purpose...this is an important part of what is called Emotional Intelligence.
1. Are you aware of what gives you energy and what takes energy out of you?
2. What shuts you down from being available or open to others?
3. In any given situation/moment, what are you aware about yourself in how you feel, what you are thinking about yourself and how your body feels in relationship to what you are experiencing?
4. Did you enter today with anticipation of excitement or dread? How do you understand those feelings? What options do you have to explore that?
Self awareness is the first step towards a strong emotional intelligence and for living life in a way that is energy giving, not energy depleting. This is where we can find that sense of life balance and confidence to be open and grow in strength and character. There are many ways to explore this for yourself, including a close friend or family member, a spiritual leader, a mentor or someone with life experiences you respect. Working with a life coach is one way of addressing your personal growth and goals with intentionality.
I love the http://www.lifeisgood.com/ pieces that are marketed these days. To experience that life really IS good, one must be both self aware and be open to new growth and learning, both about oneself and about and with others around them. This is an important step towards meeting your life goals and living with meaning and purpose that is right for who you are.
So, what gives you energy and what keeps you from being open to growth and living fully yourself? Listen to your body, your heart, your mind. Listen to what is going on around you and how it is impacting you. Listen!