Batteries Not Included

One of my clients came to see me under orders from his employer. His last position in sales hadn’t worked out too well, and a recent string of development meetings had failed to produce any successful results. His boss was concerned and asked would I connect with him, lest he somehow be sending out the “wrong signals.” On the surface at least, this young man was well-qualified and well-dressed. When I asked how things were going, he slouched back on the couch in my office and said, “I’m bored.” And how is your boss to work for, I inquired. “My boss? She’s an ass.” What about the company, what is the work environment like? “It sucks.” Every question was met with a similar monosyllabic response: lame, awful, nightmare, and so on. Back when I worked in recruitment, the term we euphemistically used to describe a candidate like this was “low-energy.” A person’s “vibe,” while hard to define, is instantly recognizable the moment it walks in the door. We may not be able to see it, but we sure can feel it. Negative energy has the effect of instantly making you feel tired, because it sucks all of the life force out of a room. Positive energy, by contrast, enhances and brightens the room. It adds something to the equation, it does not subtract. The act of extending oneself requires that we expend some energy, moving against our own natural inclination which is to conserve energy. As we do this, little things begin to change. Did you ever notice how one positive interaction with another person can alter the tenor of your day? It happens. Someone smiles at you for no reason, or pays you an unexpected compliment, and suddenly the world looks a bit different. Well here’s a little secret: your entire life is like this. What you sow, you will reap. The energy you put out into the world – in the shape of your thoughts, your words, your actions – will largely determine your experience of life and the opportunities you attract into it. Give It Away The way to get more energy is to expend more energy. It seems counter-intuitive but it’s not. When I don’t feel like exercising (which is often), the biggest challenge for me is simply getting my running shoes on and heading out the door. Once I’m out there, my well of energy increases. The same holds true for anything that you want to attract more of. Want more love and affection in you life? You need to give more love and affection to people. Want better leadership in your job? Then act like a better leader. Want more respect from your peers? Then give more respect to those around you. Want to feel inspired? Be someone who inspires others. Whatever it is that you feel you are lacking, give it away, freely and often. You will get it back in buckets. Put Your Whole Heart Into It The way to get buy-in and commitment from others is to wholly commit yourself. I remember watching an interview with the actor Daniel Day-Lewis. The interviewer was asking him, with some faint derision, about his torturous method of preparation for playing any role. His answer was simple and brilliant: “How can I expect anyone to believe me in a role if I don’t first believe it myself?” We need to commit fully to the part and the things we say are important to us. But how often do we really do this? How often do we follow through with our whole hearts and minds? Are you really trying or are you holding back just a little bit? While you may not succeed, no failure is ever a total failure if we have put forth an honest effort with all our heart. Then we can sleep well at night knowing we did our best. Nurture Your Relationships I don’t know what the exact nature of your business is, but I can tell you with absolute certainty what the key to it is: it’s about people. It’s about building solid relationships, nurturing them and maintaining them as best you can. And how do we do this? By bringing positive intention to all our interactions so that people do not feel depleted after having met us. By returning phone calls on time; by acting nobly and professionally; by not badmouthing others behind their backs. By being present and actively listening to your colleagues. By treating others the same way we want to be treated, even when things don’t work out. Think of it as a garden. Where we put our attention, things will grow. Where we don’t, things wither and die away. Every day, we are faced with a simple choice about how we are going to be in the world. And it usually boils down to this: am I the one bringing positive energy to the table, or am I taking it away? Am I a part of the problem, or the solution? We have been given the greatest gift of all, but it does not come with batteries included. YOU have to supply those. In the words of Jeb Dickerson: “Life has no auto-settings. No batteries. You gots to wind it up.”