In an instant I recognized it… My eyes lit up. “That’s your fuel” I told him. He, naturally, gave me a confused look and said “what?” I told him that a theme had emerged for me recently… I had been continuously hearing about what drives an individual to accomplish something they care about, or go after something they want. My own coach calls it “fuel”. When ignited, it provides the thrust that moves you into action.
My 1-minute break was up, and I had to do as many pull-ups as I could in the next 30 seconds. I beat my all-time record and did 19.
I lay back down on the floor. My trainer looked at me astounded at this insurgence of energy. (I was pretty dumbfounded myself.)
I knew deep down that I had tapped into my fuel and ignited it in that moment. Something about that dialogue had triggered my energy and propelled me to easily complete 19 pull-ups after having lay exhausted and defeated following my previous two sets.
That is how energy works. It can come and go in an instant, like candy in a child’s hands.
Each of us has our own fuel and our own way of igniting it. We each control and can manage when and how it is ignited.
The small town girl with the over-protective and over-bearing father leaves home at the age of 20 to prove her dad wrong. She spends the rest of her adult life fueled by the desire to “show him” that she can do just fine without him. She becomes a hugely successful healer and authority on issues of the heart.
Or the big city kid who was sexually abused by a parent as a child. Fueled by the desire to “be better than” that parent, the kid grows to pay his way through university and is now studying hard to be a psychologist and heal the hearts and minds of others.
These are two real live people that I came across in the last two weeks, who were fueled by the anger and resentment they held towards their fathers.
Some people are fueled by anger. Some by creativity, others by personal will, competition, love, infatuation, generosity, and the list goes on. The key is to identify what fuels you, and then to find ways to ignite that fuel consistently to get what you want. Here is how you do it:
1. Create a page with 2 columns: “Energized Experiences” and “Motivations”.
2. Explore the times in your life when you were full of energy, and taking action without hesitation. These will be times when you were happy, and going after what you want. Write them down in the first column. Think about your childhood, adolescence, education, family life, friendships, career, financial situation, physical health, etc. The key is to recognize that you were fully motivated and energized by the experiences.
3. Look at the list. What was it that motivated you to take those actions? Was it because you wanted to win? Because you wanted to be better than someone else? Because you wanted to be recognized? It could be any number of things. Write down what motivated you in the second column.
4. Look for similarities in your motivations. By examining your motivations, you should be able to identify your fuel.
5. Now it is time to ignite your fuel. This is something you are completely in control of. When you are feeling drained or demotivated, it is this ignition that will bring you back into action.
Your task now is to find immediate situations that allow you to tap into your fuel. Immerse yourself in that situation. If you are fueled by competition, sign up for a marathon or competitive sport. If you are ignited by generosity, give someone a small gift or volunteer for a good cause. The moment you turn the key the first time, your energy will rise, and will give rise to more and more of what you want to manifest in life.
A word of caution about energy. It can be neither created nor destroyed, it can only change form. This is why channeling your energy into what matters most to you is so important. The exercise above will help you refocus your energy on what you care about so that it is not wasted on the things you don’t care about. This exercise will clear the clutter in your mind and propel you into action on what matters most.
What was it about that moment that put the sparkle in my eye and created the surge of energy that converted into 19 pull-ups? It was the same fuel that compelled me to start my own coaching and consulting business. The same fuel that has me leading seminars and writing books.
All of the biggest most fulfilling steps I have taken in my life, and even the little ones, have been fueled by the same thing. It is completely anti-climactic, but it is my fuel nonetheless: Sharing Knowledge and Uncovering Potential. And I fuel it simply by surrounding myself with intelligent conversationalists, exploring concepts, and creating new ideas.
So, what’s your fuel?