Energising Work: Doing The Things That Fuel Your Spirit

Are there days when you struggle to get out of bed let alone into the office? Do you question at times whether you have the strength to keep striving to achieve your organisation’s vision? Many of the CEOs and business owners I work with battle to maintain the depth of energy they need to achieve ambitious goals. Yet all too often these same leaders do little to nurture the strength of their spirit and engagement with their role.

With a lack of energy comes sub-optimal performance. When the CEO of an organisation isn’t contributing what they need to, chances are the team isn’t performing at its best either. Most CEOs are aware of what they need to do and more often than not, how they should go about it.

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Taking action is where things typically go wrong. Many simply don’t have the energy to have the conversations, make the decisions and take the steps needed to drive outcomes. A lack of focus and discipline is typically evident in a leader who has run out of steam and needs to recharge.

Reflect for a moment on how much more likely you are to lead well, if energised. How much more likely are you to behave in ways that undermine your own success and that of your business if you lack energy?

Now reflect on the extent to which your business and role energize you. Does what you do uplift your spirits and inspire you to want to give more? Or do you often find yourself struggling to muster the energy simply to get started?

Pursue your passions

Among the most important things you can do to energise your spirit is to do the work you love.

For many people however, discovering what they are passionate about is in of itself a challenge. Begin by knowing who you really are, and how you want to contribute in this world through your work. With an intimate understanding of the things you love and what you want to achieve, you can begin to make the deliberate choices necessary to turn your vision into reality.

  1. Know how you feel. Knowing what energises you and what drains your spirit is the first step toward creating a thriving work life. Take notice of what makes you happy, what irritates or frustrates you and what makes you want to keep giving more? Observe the impact to your energy levels of various thought processes and activities. Recognise how events and circumstances impact upon you and your behaviour.
  2. Take notice of what you notice. Pay attention to what gets and keeps your attention. Are you drawn to people, problems that need solving, or are you keen to get involved when things need organising? What priorities do you find easy to maintain your focus on and connect with? For example are you the person who notices when people need leadership? Do you find yourself stepping up to provide clarity and direction when you see it’s needed?
  3. Align your role. Reflect on your current role and the team around you. To what extent do the collective capabilities of your senior team allow you to play the role you need and want to? While all CEO positions demand focus on all aspects of an organisations performance, the role you choose to play should reflect not only what you love, but also what you are good at.

See and apply your strengths

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The success that comes from working in line with our strengths is unquestionable. Success in turn is energising. You are entirely more likely to feel passionately engaged in your role and with your business if you believe you are able to succeed because you have the capabilities required.

  1. Recognise what you are good at. Each of us is born with innate qualities and strengths. Our ability to recognise, develop and apply these talents is essential to our ability to fulfill our potential. Our preferences, that is the things we innately enjoy, are also often reflected in the strengths we develop. Reflect on your achievements and what helped you to get there. Consider why you have been successful in the things that you have – in experience often lies insights to creating a fulfilling future.
  2. Be honest with yourself. Be aware of the fears and beliefs that may cause you to take on roles you are unlikely to enjoy. While denial can at times act as a useful defense mechanism, it does nothing for our ability to thrive at work. Be prepared to face the truth about what you like and what you don’t. Recognise if you are making choices based on what other people expect of you, at the expense of your own happiness.

Follow your dreams

A sense of achievement, of having accomplished what we set out to, is an important energiser of most people’s spirit. Reaching a destination however requires that we first set out on a journey. Have a clear view of where you want to go in your role and what you want to create for your and your team. Set goals that will enable your focus and encourage both you and your team to strive to achieve everything you are capable of.

  1. Understand your own definition of success. We all have a unique view of what it means to be successful – start by understanding what it means to you. Reflect on your values and the things that matter most to you about leading a successful business. What will you need to have achieved in order to feel as though you have ‘made it’? Do money, status, and authority matter? Does the opportunity to have an impact or make a bigger contribution define success for you?
  2. Be open to possibilities. Limiting belief is among the most common cause of unfulfilled potential. Don’t allow unfounded doubt to cut you off before you even begin. As they say, dare to dream, and visualise as big a dream as feels right to you. What you and your team are able to achieve may not yet be within the realms of possibilities you have considered. Be open-minded and willing to explore options.


Karen Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit http://www.karengately.com.au or contact info@ryangately.com.au.