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Are you caging yourself or being caged?

The second half of The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon gives us some great food for thought. I enjoy the metaphors sprinkled throughout the book, because they help to create a visual that can act as cues to remind us of when shifting our energy (or removing ourselves from negative environments) is essential.

Since Halloween is drawing near, I decided that I would use the months of September and October to practice ridding my inner and outer surroundings of the “negative dogs” and the “energy vampires.” By the time October 31st comes around I’ll be ready to celebrate the success of this challenge.

Truth be told, however, we don’t need an occasion like Halloween to practice these techniques. The dogs and vampires surround us daily, and relinquishing them of their power on a daily basis is where the mastery lies.

So, what’s all this dog talk? Here’s the story from The Energy Bus.

“A man goes to the village to visit the wise man and he says to the wise man, ‘I feel like there are two dogs inside me. One dog is the positive, loving, kind and gentle dog and then I have this angry, mean-spirited, and negative dog and they fight all the time. I don’t know which is going to win!’ The wise man thinks for a moment and he says, ‘I know which is going to win. The one you feed the most, so feed the positive dog.’”

We all have those voices inside barking at us all day. Which one is more productive and energy building, and which one makes us foam at the mouth (practically!) and sends people running in the other direction? I bet I don’t have to answer the question. It’s kind of scary to see yourself as a dog on attack, but many times that’s exactly how we act toward ourselves and others. Yikes! So, let’s heed the wise man’s advice and FEED THE POSITIVE DOG!

Joy, the super positive Energy Bus-Driver also refers to another creature we need to watch out for. She explains:

“I call the people who drain your energy Energy Vampires and they will suck the life out of you and your goals and vision if you let them. They will cause an engine leak, make your ride miserable, or even worse slash your tires.”

I never thought of these “energy suckers” as vampires before, but the visual is very powerful. We all know who these people are, don’t we? Sometimes we call them Debbie Downers, or Sore Losers, Wet Towels, Buzz Kills, etc. Humorous, yes, but true. When we are in our “flow” and feeling great, one of these vampires comes along and drains us of our energy through his/her complaints, accusations, depression, etc. Sometimes, we are the vampires. Yes, looking in the mirror often can be enlightening. We all have a shadow side and many of the things we see in others that make us feel uncomfortable are the very things we do to others unconsciously.

So, how do we not become the negative dog or energy vampires, and how do we avoid getting the energy sucked out of us from other negative dogs and energy vampires?

One way is to increase our self awareness, or consciousness. Take your dog on a walk; WALK THE TALK. Here’s what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, has to say about leading your energy through consciousness:

“A person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside,’ just by changing the contents of consciousness. We all know individuals who can transform hopeless situations into challenges to be overcome, just through the force of their personalities. This ability to persevere despite obstacles and setbacks is the quality people most admire in others, and justly so; it is probably the most important trait not only for succeeding in life, but for enjoying it as well. To develop this trait, one must find ways to order consciousness so as to be in control of feelings and thoughts.”

He also said:

“But no social change can come until the consciousness of individuals is changed first. When a young man asked Carlyle how he should go about reforming the world, Carlyle answered, ‘Reform yourself. That way there will be one less rascal in the world.’ The advice is still valid. Those who try to make life better for everyone without having learned to control their own lives first usually end up making things worse all around.”

Yes, folks, it all starts with us.

And, Joy, our super positive Energy Bus driver tells us that these are the final rules to creating our Energy Bus (continued from my last blog):

6. Post a Sign That Says No Energy Vampires Allowed on Your Bus. That’s right, just don’t let them in! Tell them to stay away. And, if you are the vampire, you’ve got some work to do.

7. Enthusiasm Attracts More Passengers and Energizes Them During the Ride. Do you want to be on the Debbie Downer bus or the Bob the Builder bus?

8. Love Your Passengers. The heart acts as an emotional conductor and radiates how you are feeling to every cell in the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field; this energy field can be detected up to 5 to 10 feet away. What are you attracting? Do you want to attract love or fear?

9. Drive with Purpose. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get to where you need to go? Drive your bus with purpose daily and more people will come along for the ride.

10. Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride. In the end, isn’t this what life’s all about?

No Energy Vampires Allowed!

More and more, what matters to me is enjoying the process, not the end result. Finding joy and living energetically in the moment can provide us with millions of meaningful moments along our journey.

While common sensical, The Energy Bus provides us a story that we can relate to. We encounter individuals on a daily basis who have either given up, or who are fighting way too hard. Sometimes, we, ourselves, are those people. Author, Jon Gordon, gives us 10 simple steps to gain more control of our lives, raise our energy, live with heart, and allow the flow of life to bring us joy again.

We can choose to be energetic and happy. The choice always begins with us.

Halloween doesn’t need to be every day. That’s really scary! Let’s get rid of those nasty dogs and vampires and get a move on!

Enjoy your ride!

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

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Where do you want to go?

I bet you can remember a time when the most unlikely stranger made you go “hmm.” That’s right, he or she flew into your life just as quickly as he/she left, but definitely made an imprint. That’s the kind of feeling you get when reading The Energy Bus. The supporting character, “Joy” a bus driver, has been the miracle saver for the main character, George, whose life is in shambles. He is about to lose both his job and marriage, and has zero energy to do anything about it.

Meeting Joy was no accident, as George had no choice but to ride the bus to work when his car broke down and his wife refused to stop changing her plans to help him. What he didn’t know was that this “unfortunate situation” would be his life-changing opportunity. He didn’t just board any bus; he boarded the “Energy Bus.”

Joy is like the coach that everyone wants and needs; that friend you’d like to have in your pocket every time you need to be reminded of how truly great you have it and how much better things can be if you get out of our own way. Joy’s life purpose is evident; to get her passengers to embrace their lives, choose to live energetically, and bring others along for the ride. She does this by sharing her 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life with Positive Energy. Not only does Joy share these rules, but she has her “students” practice them with daily exercises, and holds them accountable to boot! Yep, she’s a coach all right!

After a few days of riding Joy’s bus, George’s energy had shifted dramatically. Those around him began to see a difference, he felt a difference, and having to ride a bus wasn’t so bad after all.

This book is an easy and quick read, but its message is timely and timeless.
Here are the first five rules with short take-a-ways:

1. You are the driver of your bus.

  • Why would you let other people and situations manage and/or manipulate your energy? Your energy is your “bus;” now steer it to where you want it to go!

2. Desire, Vision & Focus Move Your Bus in the Right Direction

  • How will you get to where you need to go without a map, a plan or support? Chart your course, get excited about it, and keep moving!

3. Fuel Your Ride with Positive Energy

  • Think of those people, activities, foods, and thoughts who/that energize you and those who/that drain you. Get the picture? Only you can fuel your ride with positive energy. Make smart choices.

4. Invite People on Your Bus and Share Your Vision for the Road Ahead

  • Positive energy is magnetic. Don’t keep your purpose and excitement to yourself. If you are authentic, others will want to match your energy and come along for the ride.

5. Don’t Waste Your Energy on Those Who Don’t Get on Your Bus

  • Yep. This is an important one. Negative energy will always be around, but where will you be? Stay away from the water cooler, folks!

I’ll close this post by sharing a few other bits of info Joy offered to George along the way, which made me go “hmm.” Maybe they will make you think a bit as well.

  • Did you know that most people who die pass on a Monday morning at 9 am? We can infer that a lot of people prefer to give up on their lives than go to work! Scary thought.What should your thoughts be aligned with on Monday mornings?
  • At the end of a long game golfers usually forget all of the bad shots they made and remember the one great shot they had that day. The thought and feeling they get when thinking about that particular shot makes them want to play again and again; this is why so many people get addicted to golf. I’ll have to ask my golfer friends if they agree with this one, but it sounds on par to me (hee hee!)What would happen if you would focus each day on the one great thing that you experienced? Would you be more energized to go into the next day and get excited about the opportunities that you know will come your way?

Food for thought.

I am on a wonderful Energy Bus this month; on a road trip with my family. It has been a lot of fun so far, and in those not-so-fun, stressful moments, I remember the 5 rules I shared with you above, and I remind myself that I have to be my own “Joy” and stay in charge of my bus.

Cheers to the rest of the ride!

May you all enjoy an energized week,

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.