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IT TAKES ENERGY TO CREATE ENERGY

THOUGHTS

IT TAKES ENERGY TO CREATE ENERGY

Scott Peltin

Sometimes I wake up and think, where is my energy today? I get off an airplane after flying to my destination and crawl up the jetway wondering, who sucked out my energy in flight? Sometimes I get on the tennis court and my feet don’t want to move, my mind is tired, and I can’t seem to find the energy to play very well. Then something changes - that something is me. I put some energy into the task and suddenly it is not only self-sustaining, it is giving me energy back. How can this be?

In chemistry, every chemical reaction requires a catalyst. This catalyst increases the rate of the chemical reaction without itself being consumed. At Tignum, we have recognized that Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery behaviors often act like these catalysts. In fact, when we integrate behaviors from all of these areas we often create a chain reaction that propels our performance far beyond the sum of the behaviors themselves. 

In my time in the fire service, I saw something similar. You can light a huge fire with one small single match (I was in the business of extinguishing fires, not lighting them, but you will get the point). That single match burns at a temperature of 600 to 800 degrees Celsius (1100 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit) which is really hot, but it doesn’t give off very much heat. Once it lights a room of furniture on fire, everything changes. Interestingly enough, the temperature is exactly the same as that single match but the heat release rate is completely different. This is why if you were standing in that room you would have no chance of survival. Not because of the temperature but because of the energy the room is giving off and your body would have to absorb. 

So what can we learn from this? Too often we expect energy to appear like it is magic. Often, when it doesn’t show up we lean on our external crutches like caffeine to try to find it. At Tignum, we’ve learned that most of the time the best answer is changing your mindset and putting a little energy in. When you wake up and you start your day with movement, suddenly energy appears because you put energy in. When you are walking off the plane and you fix your posture and pick up your pace, suddenly you gain a bounce in your step, your mood changes, and you have energy to give. 

Imagine taking this same approach to your next meeting. Your agenda, your preparation, your introduction, your intentions are all ways of putting a little energy in to get things going. Now, like the room that catches fire from a single match, imagine the heat release rate when everyone on your team gets aligned, gets engaged, and walks out of the meeting giving energy to everyone they encounter. Holy smokes, before you know it you could have a full blown 3-alarm organization. Now multiply that out across all of your events in a day. 

Energy is something that is often talked about, romanticized, and even preached about. As we like to say, having energy is almost interesting. Purposefully giving the right energy to everyone in your life (both at work and away from work) is powerful. It drives impact, it drives results, and it creates meaning. In other words, when we put a little energy into everything we prioritize, suddenly everything changes and it wasn’t magic...it was the choices you made.