Energy Crisis

Do you have an energy crisis? I am not talking about a global crisis, or the power lines coming down near your house. I am referring to personal energy and the ability to get up and keep moving. I have talked before about motivation, about having a reason to get up in the morning. I have talked about discipline. So when it seems like you have no energy in the morning, or halfway through the day, or as you are trying to gather brain power to finish something, and you feel like you are simply on empty, what do you do?

I think the first response I would likely get is “it depends.” That’s a fair answer, but what does it depend on? Well, let’s dive into a few common issues and how to solve them, shall we?

I am a pro at problem solving, and the first thing to do when trying to solve any problem is identifying the source. Once you have done that, the solutions could look vastly different depending on the source of the problem.

Here are the top three reasons that I have found for a total lack of energy:

  1.  Your body is simply worn out. You haven’t slept enough, or you don’t eat right, or you have been working really hard for an extended period of time.
  2.  You are under a lot of emotional or mental stress.
  3.  The pendulum has swung.

If you can’t totally identify with any of these, keep reading. I will fill in the details.

Let’s start with number 1.

 

  • 1) Your body is simply worn out. You haven’t slept enough, or you don’t eat right, or you have been working really hard for an extended period of time. Yes I said it. No matter how super you think you are, or how much of an exception you think you are, your body needs rest, and you really do have to eat your veggies. Barely sleeping is not a badge of honor; it is stupid. Eating and drinking junk because “you don’t have time to be healthy” is an excuse. You make time for what is important. And if success is really important to you, if you really don’t want to be constantly exhausted, then take care of your body and mind. To deny that and then try to be productive is to sabotage your chances of any kind of real success.

There is a huge amount of health research and information out there, so I will share what I’ve learned and what has given me positive results in my daily life.

You need to sleep.

You need to get at least 7 hours of sleep EVERY night.

You need to drink a lot of water and cut out soft drinks, even diet. Diet drinks are unhealthy, form bad habits, and can have major long term health implications including heart disease, obesity, cancer, liver problems, and bad dental health.

Coffee and Tea are good for you.

Avoid grain carbs. I am not just talking about gluten and wheat, although that is the worst.

Eat vegetables and meat.

And did I mention drinking water?

When you take care of your body, your body can spend less time trying to cope and survive and more time operating well. Think about it. If you never do maintenance on your car, or you put the wrong thing in the gas tank, it simply won’t work. Your body is an engine. Do some maintenance and give it the right fuel before it breaks instead of waiting.

2) You are under a lot of emotional or mental stress.

There are so many things that can cause this, I cannot even begin to address them all. Here is what I can say: At some point, you have to begin to eliminate stress. If your stress is relational, maybe you need to cut or reduce a relationship. If it has to do with a loss, allow yourself to cry for a day and feel your feelings. Keeping things pent up not only prolongs your stress and denies that it is there, but prolonged stress can lead again to health problems such as chronic headaches, back problems, and heart issues. The only way to deal with an emotion is to process it instead of holding it back. The more you do this the better you will get at doing it quickly without disrupting your life. It really does take practice.

Your brain needs a break just like your muscles do, and you need time for yourself. Find something that relaxes you. There shouldn’t be feelings of guilt around taking this time to let go. If you don’t recharge, you will never be able to be there for anyone. So take a nap, sit in the sunshine with your eyes closed, take a walk, shred paper into little bits, play a game (I recommend avoiding screens. There is a lot science connecting this kind of visual input with increasing anxiety and stress. Most of us could use less screen time)

The point here is this: Try to identify the source of your stress, and work in small steps to take breaks from it, process it, and eventually learn habits that will allow you to avoid it. It really is possible!

3) The pendulum has swung.

This is the part where you give yourself a break. Sometimes the pendulum swings and you are simply going through a lot. You need to give yourself grace to not be “up to par” all the time. Otherwise, you actually increase stress which then continues to sap your energy. This turns into a cycle. Get depressed. Form bad habits. Run out of energy. Get nothing done. Get depressed, etc. The key to breaking this cycle is by giving yourself a break. Only then can you allow yourself to a take a break without guilt. Eliminating the guilt motivates you to be and do more. This feels good, which energizes you. This allows you get more done the other times, which reduces the guilty feelings, and so on. Understanding that at times you will be tired will allow you to simply say “This is normal” when it happens. If something is normal, there is no need to feel guilty, and thus you eliminate the guilt/energy sapping cycle.

Here is the kicker, though. Most of us have trouble giving ourselves a break. We are afraid someone will think of us as a failure, or letting someone down, or we are trying to impress someone or earn someone’s approval. Most people don’t step back every now and then simply out of a desire to do good, and out of knowing that others are counting on them. This makes it hard because if you run out of energy, or have trouble finishing something you started, instead of thinking of it as something that happens to everyone, your brain tells you “See, you really are a failure!”

Don’t let a lack of energy keep you from being the person you already are!!! You CAN learn how to overcome this problem that literally every person breathing has gone through!!

 

If you can identify with any of these things, or if you found any of these tips helpful, then take action today! CLICK HERE to get a free 14 day productivity course delivered right to your email! And as a special thank you for investing in yourself, email me at stephen@stephenandrewcoaching.com to get 50% off an in depth 28 day course that will change your life by helping you focus, identify your goals, and learn how to achieve everything you are capable of!!!

Offer ends 2/28/19

Do You Really Want to be Disciplined?

Discipline. It’s one of those things we all claim to want, but at the end of the day, we end up reverting to our old habits. We end up falling short of our goals. What is the key to staying on task? Thinking bigger picture!

How do people get up at 5 or 6 every morning? Is it because they are just “morning people?” How does someone say no to sugar when they decide to eat better? Is it because they just no longer like sugar? How does someone stay with a project for months, or even years, continuing to work on it before they see results? Is it because they just have nothing else to do?

It can be easy to see someone succeeding at something and to simply say “Oh, they must have a special power, or something.” The truth is that they don’t have anything more than you do, except practice and a long-term picture.

So, how do you get from where you are today to that person who is disciplined, dedicated, and motivated? I will warn you that there is a fairly simple answer, but not an easy one, or one that is a magic pill where suddenly your brain never wants anything but success. It is a conscious effort that you have to make daily.

Becoming disciplined starts with recognizing that you always do what you want. If you sleep late, then what you really want to do is sleep more than getting up early. If you eat donuts instead of just nuts, then you really want the donut more than you want to be healthy. Unless you are willing to admit that you don’t do anything you don’t want to do, you won’t take responsibility and you will see yourself as a helpless victim. You will sabotage your own success because you will tell yourself “I really want to be healthy, but I just CAN’T resist this donut.” When you admit that you wanted the donut most, you can decide that you have control over what you want, and you can change it if you don’t like it. When you take responsibility, you give yourself power to be in charge. Now you can use that power. This is probably the hardest part of change which leads to success.

Discipline is simply a result of taking charge of your choices, and making the choices that give you what you really want. As I was working at building my morning routine and getting up early every day, I saw that if I didn’t have something specific that I was going to do when I got up, I struggled to get out of bed when I thought I wanted to, and some days I slept in. I had to decide the night before when I went to bed what specifically I was going to do when I got up the next morning. That way when I woke up I would tell myself, “If I get up and do this task, then I can go back to bed,” knowing that if I could get myself out of bed, and open my computer to write, or to read, that I would be winning the hardest part of the battle: getting out of bed. Not getting out of getting up by reasoning with myself why I needed more sleep. Then once I was up, I would rarely go back to bed. It wasn’t that hard to stay up, because I had already committed to an action and didn’t want to lose my progress.

The key to this equation is reminding yourself of what you are gaining by following through on the choice you have already made. Remind yourself of what you’re trying to do, and how that will make you feel versus how you feel when you fail. If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself tempted by ice cream, remind yourself of how you will feel tonight if you give in, even though you want to in that moment. How will you feel tomorrow, or next week, when you haven’t been able to meet your weight loss goal? Is having an ice cream cone now really worth the feeling of failure you’ll have when you look back on today? Think about the difference in cost; it’s just not worth it. It would be like taking $100 bribe from someone to lose a game so you can buy an Xbox, and not caring that it could ruin your career in sports.

Think beyond your current moment. That is what discipline is. It isn’t  some magical power that a chosen few have obtained. Discipline is making it through this moment by reminding yourself of what your actions will add up to if you do them for a week, a month, or a year, and basing your choices on that. If the choices you make today produce the only results you are allowed to experience for the next year, what choices would you make today? Would you work harder at your job? Would you make it a priority to work out today? Would you skip the burger and soda and instead save your money and eat at home? That’s discipline.

You have the power to choose. You are not a victim of your circumstances. What you do today creates your tomorrow. No one can tell you what kind of success your discipline can create. It’s up to you! Now what are you going to do about it?

 

Have you done some self-examination and found your discipline to be sorely lacking? Don’t beat yourself up about it – we all need help sometimes! But you can make tomorrow better than today. My FREE COURSE 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams can help you plan your day to accomplish those things you really want to be doing. Click here to start today!

The George Lucas Success Story: Talent or Hard Work?

You may not be a fan of Star Wars, or of science fiction in general. You may not like the directing style of George Lucas. But one thing that no one can argue with is his success. My wife has been reading a book about the making of the first Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It took George Lucas four years to make the first Star Wars movie. He directly oversaw almost all of the work himself, and dealt with a movie company who didn’t want to fund his movie or trust his direction decisions, a special effects company in California who didn’t complete work unless George was right there making it happen, and a labor force in London that would NEVER work past 5:30 and took three meal breaks a day. Fun fact, George Lucas hated writing, but he wrote the story and dialog for this movie by making himself sit at his desk 8 hours a day until the story was done. He didn’t wait to be “inspired,” instead he was just disciplined enough to get the job done! He was dedicated to his work, still working on the sound reel up to the day that the movie was released in theaters.

The point of this story is that this man decided he was going to be successful at something and he didn’t quit until he made it work. He was passionate about what he was doing, and didn’t give up when things got hard, when people stood in the way of his creativity, or when he didn’t reap immediate rewards. Something else we can learn is that you don’t have to be an expert in a field before starting; you learn as you go. Star Wars was only the third film Lucas had directed. But he still gave it everything he had and more! The Star Wars universe that we see today is the result of the very dedicated work of one man not calling it quits, even in the months and years of frustration and resistance. His key: a little every day. He did something every day to make his dreams a reality. It wasn’t his hobby, it was his life and passion!

We often find ourselves making a hobby of something that we say we want to do with our lives, and then wondering why it doesn’t work out. We let the urgent take over the important things. We let the daily clamour of life get in the way of dedicating ourselves to what we are good at and are passionate about. Do you really want to work for yourself? Do you really want to be the best painter, salesman, electrician, musician? What are you doing about it? Are you wishing, waiting for inspiration, or putting in an hour a week? Success is based on routine and habits applied over time. Creating a habit requires that you have a reason bigger than right now, and discipline to make yourself do it for at least three weeks consistently. Do you have what it takes, or do you just wish you had what it takes, but don’t want to work for it? We see someone’s success and wish it were ours. What we don’t see is what the success was built on: Rejection, discipline, sacrifice, late nights, doubts, failure, criticism, risk, and persistence, and did I say hard work!

“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone

This is not the part where you promise yourself that you will be committed to X until you are a raving success. That isn’t enough. You have to ask “Why am I doing this?” Then you have to let your ‘why’ drive you to make habits. Then you have to make your habits a way of life. Then over time you begin to see the fruit being produced, from the seeds of success that you planted, weeks, months, or even years ago, and have continued to water through your decisions and choices of how to use your time!

When you look at what you have achieved and what you want to achieve, don’t look at where you are not, rather look at where you want to go and build a road to get there. Find people to help you, encourage you, and people who will kick you in the seat of the pants when you want to quit. Make success a way of life, not a hobby. If you do this, you may be the next George Lucas, the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Wright Brothers, the list goes on. Hard work is what they had in common. Not luck.

Create your own luck, Own it. Do it. Be Better.

 

 

If you can relate to any of the things you read here, or you want to learn how to build habits of success, subscribe to my FREE course by clicking here!

Avoiding the Kid Stigma: 5 Ways to Integrate Successfully into the Adult Professional World

How do I get the world to take me seriously? How do I make more than minimum wage? How do I actually get a job? Why won’t they promote me at work?

As someone who has been a leader and manager for multiple companies and in volunteer organizations I am often asked these questions. I am a young professional that has had to go through challenges around this topic. I have also interviewed hundreds of young people for jobs, been in charge of recruiting, training, promoting, and managing key positions in multiple companies and organizations, and I wanted to share some thoughts with young people about this issue.

If you are looking for an article that tells you that the world is out to get you and that they owe it to you to hear your opinion, you should read a different article. If you want me to tell you that if they would just give you a chance, you could show them, then you may have difficulty with this article. On the other hand, if you want to know how to get noticed, how to get hired, how to make more money, then I ask you to consider the contents of article.

First impressions – First impressions are huge! Don’t underestimate the impression you make in the first 15 seconds of interaction at a potential new job. I have interviewed hundreds of employees but have hired many less than that. While you want to have individuality and be ‘cool,’ you need to think about how you look, sound, and carry yourself. If you get a phone screening for a job and they tell you on the phone that appearance standards require you to be clean shaven with no facial piercings or visible tattoos, but then you show up to a face-to-face interview with a goatee, earrings, and a ghetto chain around your neck, I am going to wonder how serious you are about getting this job. Ladies, wear clothing that is tasteful and doesn’t reveal everything. 

Plain and simple, like it or not. How you dress is huge. The millennial generation and generation X individuals that I have interviewed have shown up in everything from shirt and tie, to a skirt slit up to the hip, to torn jeans and an oversize t-shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed in three days and said “Ask me if I care.”

Next, make eye contact, firmly shake a hand that is offered, and speak clearly. You don’t impress me when you fidget in your seat, won’t look at me, and don’t know how to answer basic questions clearly. If you don’t want to be viewed and treated like a kid, don’t act like one. If you want to act like one, then don’t be surprised when your results reflect you attitude – mediocre. On the other hand, if you show up to an organization meeting, interview, or to meet with someone you wish to work for, dress neatly in clean, pressed, professional clothes, shake hands firmly like you mean it, make eye contact, and don’t mumble, you set yourself so high above the crowd that your chances of getting what you came for increase exponentially.

Achievement – You need to have achieved something for me to be interested in you as a prospect for anything. If you can’t achieve anything on your own initiative, then what does that tell me about your initiative at work or in this organization?  Actually achieve something in your life and know what it is, and how to talk about it. If you are 18 or 19 and your greatest achievement is that you helped your mom with chores on the weekends, or that you got a summer job, once, a couple years ago, I will probably write off your accomplishment as not valuable. On the other hand, if you bought your grades up at school through hard work, or you placed well in a sport, or you made a new personal best score in a sporting event or other type of activity that was a personal goal you made, then I will see you as someone who can set a goal and achieve it.

Want to work – This sounds crazy, right? Who WANTS to work? People who see that hard work produces good results. People like that don’t dread work for two reasons. One, they have probably found or are looking for something they enjoy doing. Two, they know that without work they will never have more than the success, time freedom, or money than they have now. Work can be a means to an end. It can also be an enjoyable activity. You need to find something about your job that you like and keeps you coming back. If you can’t find anything, then you must get a new job because you are cheating yourself, and will end up cheating the company out of your effort. Additionally, if you are in an interview and your reason for applying and interviewing for this job is “My  mom wants me to have a job,” then I know that you will not be invested and will probably put forth very little effort for me. Companies are in business to make a profit and if they don’t think you will produce for them, why should they hire you? If that sounds like evil company talk, then just remember that if companies didn’t make money, there would be no companies, and there would be no jobs. No jobs equals no money to pay you anything at all.

Once you have been hired and are working at a company, don’t complain about how much you are making, or ask for more, or complain about the work you are doing, unless you have a really good reason for why things should be different. “Because you think so” is not really a good reason. Put yourself in the seat of the company. Would you hire someone that you didn’t think would care when they came to work? Would you keep someone who hated working for you even though you are paying them a wage they agreed to work for? Would you promote someone because they complain about how little they make? Or would you promote someone because they go above and beyond on what you are currently paying them? Now, think about how your employer sees you and ask yourself why it matters whether you want to work. It matters to you because the less you want to work, the higher you are on the list of people to get rid of. So do yourself a favor and actually care about doing what you are getting paid for. And remember that at the end of the day, you agreed to the terms of the job. So it is actually your integrity that’s on the line!

Give 110% – It is really important that you work at work. That you put effort into what you do. Even if not everything you do is something you enjoy, people notice a good work ethic. Put yourself into the employer chair again. Even if you knew someone didn’t love what they had to do every day, but they worked hard anyway, would you give them a recommendation to another job? Would you consider paying them more? Would you be more likely to listen when they had comments about the job or environment? Now again consider how your employer looks at you. Are you coming into work ready to work? Are you showing up ready to do whatever the job demands? Or, when asked to do something, are you doing it grudgingly? Are you saying things like “I am not doing that for what I am getting paid”? As an employer I am not likely to hire or promote someone who is a complainer, hard to manage, or has to be told to work while at work.

Conduct yourself professionally – I often hear from young people that they wonder why they are not considered for management opportunities or promotions. But when you look at their conduct, they do things like tell stories about customers in the hearing of other customers, talk about drinking, getting drunk or other things not appropriate to a professional environment, or use bad language. On top of that, they are inconsiderate. Let me explain this one. If one of your managers comes to you and asks you not to talk about something, or to put your phone away, or addresses another behavior, and you respond with “Well, I don’t see why this is a problem,” you are showing your lack of listening, understanding, and an inability to handle authority. It is inconsiderate when you don’t consider others, and assume that everyone else should be okay with you talking about your night last night, how you got drunk over the weekend, or how hot you thought a customer was. Just because you don’t see the problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

When you are at work, don’t goof around, talk about questionable subjects, or let your dress get sloppy because you think it shouldn’t matter. You need to be able to take feedback, accept authority without constant challenging, and uphold the standards you agreed to uphold when you were hired. If you cannot do these things, you will not be given the authority to manage others under the same set of guidelines you so blatantly ignore.

These may sound harsh to some, and like no-brainer material to others, but if you want to hear it from someone who comes from among your generation, then take it from me. I am an example of someone who has been given a lot of responsibility at a very young age, and I do it by applying these principles at work and in life. Because of this, I manage many people my age and older, and a lot of people just barely younger. If you apply these concepts, you will light a rocket toward success.

 

If you are interested in more ways to be taken seriously, achieve more, and be more of a candidate for the jobs you want, then take my FREE course 14 Days to Stress Less and Achieve Your Dreams by clicking here!