Being a business owner means being a leader. Being a leader means being seen. Being seen means people will have opinions about you, criticize you, and leave feedback for you – both positive and negative.
It also means you will come face to face with your own tendency to take it all on…or not.
Way back when I was a touring musician, I’d return from my epic month-long stints on the road and collapse onto my acupuncturist’s table. She would tisk tisk tisk and say, “Ah. So much energy from others you take on. Why you do this to yourself?”
Over our years of working together, she taught me simple energy techniques – mostly based in chi kung – for doing what she called “protecting my energy.”
For years, I worked with those techniques and refined my own basic practices as well.
Then, a few years ago, when I was leading one of my Uplevel retreats, I experienced the power of the cumulative work I had done in a single instant. One of the participants stepped up to the microphone and let fly.
She blasted me for ignoring her – and wanted the whole room to know how pissed she was. In her words, she was “expressing her truth.”
What happened inside of me proved to me that, my training had given me autonomy over my own energy. I didn’t feel the need to protect. I didn’t do any kind of magic hoodoo on myself. Nor on her.
I simply experienced what could best be described as a dimmer switch in my being. At that moment, it turned way up – as if every cell in my being began to radiate at the highest level possible in the face of someone going on the attack. I didn’t stop to reflect on it. I just noticed.
Then, without choosing to partake in a counter-attack or believing her story, I was able to compassionately and firmly coach her on her situation as she stood at the mic. Interestingly, she became a client for two full years after that moment. And I’ve received many notes and emails from people who were in the room who had been inspired by what I modelled for them in that moment.
Even if my Uplevel clients can’t articulate this as a goal, they seek autonomy. Why? Because they want to be in charge of their energy and emotional responses to the many things that might otherwise make them totally lose their shit. (And all the time we throw away in those shit-losing situations is worth a lot of money.)
So, how do you protect and build your personal energy when you are the leader in your business? Here are a few simple starting points…
1 – Be Aware that You Even HAVE an Energy System
Far too many people focus on things like “good” energy and “bad” energy – mostly in judgment of people around them.
But the best place to start is within yourself. Be meticulously aware of what drains you, what feeds you, when you feel strong, and when you give your power or attention away.
In my Becoming 360 program, we spend an entire week on managing personal energy as a business owner. The exercises are all designed to get students relentlessly clear about where their attention goes, how they exit their own body, and transforming the week’s experiences by bringing awareness to each situation that caused a trigger.
An exercise that has yielded the best results for students is an end of the day review – where you sit quietly for 10 minutes and rewind the day. You watch yourself in each situation and see where you got triggered or drained. Then you “call” your energy back to you.
It sounds simple – but try it. You’ll be amazed at the changes it creates in real-time situations.
2 – Accept Your Sensitivity
Many of my clients are highly sensitive people.
It doesn’t make them better. It doesn’t make them wimpier. It doesn’t mean they are more or less set up to succeed in business.
It does mean they need to embrace this element of themselves. If you are sensitive, do not turn into a diva drama queen type and go around telling your story to anyone who will listen.
Instead, set up your days, weeks, travel, client meetings and team to honor the fact that your personal energy is highly sensitive. Most likely, it’s what makes you excellent at what you do.
Don’t try to become someone else or fix all of your problems. Just own it and take the necessary actions. (Also – get a great coach, be in a mastermind. Don’t go it alone.)
3 – Live by Habits and Rituals
Realigning with intention and attention is a key piece of keeping your energy clear. Having a set of core habits can return you to center faster than anything else.
Personally, I believe that anyone who owns a business needs to start a meditation practice, even if (like I did at first) it’s only for 5 minutes a day. Other habits include morning pages, writing, working out, yoga, nightly reading, the Sunday Summit (a ritual I teach in all of my programs), play, and gratitude journaling.
4 – Eat for Your Type
I hardly ever drink wine.
There. I said it.
I have, maybe, one glass of wine every two or three weeks.
This sends people into all kinds of drama states. They look at me like I’m anorexic, like I’m depriving myself of all the joys of life, I am a bore, and they don’t want to be around me.
And I love wine. I really do. And when I do enjoy it, I get the most expensive freakin’ Malbec on the menu.
But you know what I enjoy even more than wine? Not being low energy the next day. It’s not worth it to me.
Often, when I coach my clients on anything diet related – they freak out. They think I am depriving them. I am demanding harsh things.
I’m really not. This is not an eating disorder. It’s a recognition of the very real fact that what you put into your body has a profound impact on how capable you are of managing your energy the next day and even the next week.
Sugar, alcohol, processed foods that include MSG, HFCS and other excitotoxins are debilitating if you have a sensitive energy system. You probably won’t be able to master this one overnight – but with time, you will know what foods toss you into the toilet.
5 – Use The Dimmer Switch
In spite of the title of this article, I’m not a proponent of “protecting” your energy. Protection implies that things are coming at you, trying to derail you. It sets up a paradigm where you put on your Wonder Woman bracelets and make your way through a violent world.
That’s one way to look at it.
But rather than putting up energy “shields” of lavender light and protecting yourself when you are in the spotlight, consider that your presence and your awareness are the only forms of “protection” that you ever need.
At every event and retreat, I lead my clients in short meditations that are designed to bring them back into their bodies and create a powerful flow of energy, awareness and wisdom. Once I guide them to simply feel their bodies and be in every limb, tissue, and cell – we play with the dimmer switch.
I give them a virtual dimmer switch that they can then use to amp up their level of presence in any moment they choose. When something gets challenging or confusing, they can, in an instant, return to their body, breathe and move the dimmer switch up to high volume.
The more present and aware you are in any situation, especially when you are tempted to flee, the more you can access your own needed wisdom. The best form of self-protection is contained in your presence.
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