In today’s episode, I’m discussing the question, “What fuels you and what drains you?” This will be a pretty simple exercise and explanation so that the process will feel easy and light, and you can get started on your own list creation.
(1) Why It’s Important
A lot of us do things that drain us because we sometimes believe that our needs, health, and time for replenishment are not that important. (Not including the essential aspects of being part of a family or a helpful community member.)
Our health often suffers–not because we are doing something “wrong,” but because we truly care are trying to change the world. 🙂
I’ve recently taken a step back and come to the realization that certain aspects of our business have been draining me, but I’ve been going along with them because I thought they were required of me. I didn’t realize just how much this was impacting me and my health–and I believe there may be things in your life that will also benefit from being re-evaluated.
(2) How I Did It
I opened a “fancy” spiral-bound notebook (you know, the ones you can get for less than a dollar), divided a page in half, and wrote “Fuels Me” and “Drains Me” as the two column headers.
Then I answered these prompts with a focus on my LearnDoBecome work. You can do the same for personal life, work, family, volunteer opportunities, and so on.
As I sat alone and did some introspective work on the “Fuels Me” side, I thought about the people I’ve worked with, conferences attended, projects worked on, and other initiatives taken. These experiences, people, and items make up the part of my work that I truly love.
On the “Drains Me” side, I had to do some deep thinking. It was hard to admit that certain things drain me, but I tried to be honest with myself during this reflection. I felt nervous that people might not approve of my list or judge me for struggling with certain aspects of work and running a business. Although it was an emotional process, it was so clear when I was done. (I hope it will feel the same for you!)
(3) What I’m Going to Do With the List
At the time I’m writing this, I’m preparing to head out to a business conference, and I am taking this list with me. I’ll be filtering what I learn from the speakers and presentations through this list of “fuels” and “drains.”
I’m more aware of what’s on my plate and how much energy is required in a variety of situations, and I’ve committed to not take on any new projects that would otherwise drain me. I know that I can figure out more optimal ways to move forward on our goals…
It was pretty uncomfortable to come to these realizations (because I’m naturally a people-pleaser), but I’m feeling so relieved now that I’m making decisions to cut certain things out of my life. For example, Eric was recently purchasing tickets to a conference, and in the past, I would have joined out of obligation because I thought that it was expected of me from others in the business world. This particular conference has always drained me, and as I discussed this with Eric (in tandem with my list of “drains”), I made the decision to pass on this conference and made plans for alternate business training from home that will better suit my needs.
This list has already been such a great filter for me to use in various areas of life.
After making this list, I highly recommend using it as a discussion piece that can be shared with the people or person closest to you. You can ask others for their advice and input to see if there is anything that you’d like to add/remove, or you can simply ask, “How can we best shape our work/family/future based on what I’ve written here?”
You’re invited to set aside some time (15 minutes to start!) and create some kind of digital or physical note in order to answer the question: What fuels me and what drains me?
Perhaps you could use this list as your own personal filter and as a conversation starter with the people in your life. It might seem nontraditional to share these kinds of discussion items with others, but there is so much power in communicating our needs, energy level, etc. with those who are working alongside us.
And if you have done something like this in the past or taken a different approach on evaluating life decisions, I would love to hear about it in the comments! There are so many ways to creatively focus on what fuels you, and I hope that this exercise can be helpful in your current life situation.