At the beginning of this month we discussed the concept of self-fate and how it can explain why we may not have what we really want. I also promised to dive more deeply into energy, what it really means, and how it can help us achieve self-mastery.

So let’s get started! In this series of blogs you’ll read the words anabolic and catabolic quite a bit when I refer to energy and/or leadership. For all intensive purposes, there are two types of energy: anabolic and catabolic. Anabolic refers to a type of energy that builds, expands, excites, attracts, and motivates. Catabolic refers to a type of energy that breaks things down, repels people and things away from it, and creates sickness, exhaustion, toxicity or disease. This type of energy actually increases the level of cortisol in our bodies, which causes us stress (however that shows up for each of us). Our thoughts, feelings and actions can be defined as energy and will either be anabolic or catabolic (or a bit of both).

Many of us walk around feeling like we have limited choices in many aspects of our lives. Take notice of how many times a day you say the words have to, should, and need to. Whenever you feel like you must do something, you’re in Level 1 energy – you’re a victim to your thoughts or circumstances.

In fact, when you’re faced with a task or something to do, there are five basic ways you can respond, and of them, only one is by full conscious choice.

The five ways of responding are “I won’t,” “I have to,” “I need to,” “I want to,” or “I choose to.”

When you say “I won’t” do something, you’re saying that you have no power, that life happens to you, no matter what you do or believe. You don’t believe that you have a choice. You also don’t really think there’s anything in it for you – so why do it? This type of energy is catabolic.

If you say “I have to,” you’re looking at the short term perspective. You “have to” complete the task in front of you, or else you will experience dire consequences. You feel forced to do it, and that you have very little to no choice. This type of energy also is catabolic.

The third response, “I need to” is a more powerful place to come from. Here, you’re aware of your choices and you seek to find the opportunity in the challenges presented to you. This perspective brings more chance of success, but it’s still catabolic, because you don’t feel like you’re fully at choice.

choose-to-be-happySo these three responses involve either non-action, or action by force. Since you are not energetically bought into a situation, goal, or project, and because you are bringing catabolic energy to it, you are also bringing a recipe for failure. So in these catabolic levels, even though you may think you are choosing to do something, at your core, you chose not to do it, or not to do it well.

The next response, “I want to,” is anabolic, because it indicates that you are mostly at choice. But, “want” still comes from a place of lack.

The most powerful response is “I choose to.” When you respond this way, you feel you have complete choice. There’s a powerful connection between who you are and what you do.

So how do you get to choose to? Simply come from a place of having everything, and choosing to experience, rather than fill a need. Easy? Not at all, but you can choose to try it.

How will you try to CHOOSE this week? I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

It’s your life, lead it well.