This has been a challenging month for me on the home-front and so I’ve been thinking about energy—how to have more of it to get through my (sometimes long) days. Have you ever known someone who’s always a bundle of energy and you end up feeling more energetic after being with them? How about someone who comes into a room and seems to suck all the energy out of it within moments? What is the difference between these two people?

Have you ever had a day where you were so engaged in what you were doing that hours flew by in what seemed like minutes? How about the kind of day where time d-r-a-g-g-e-d on and on and minutes seemed like hours? What was the difference for you?

It’s interesting how there are some people and activities which seem to give us more energy than they take, while others seem to take so much more than they give. We all need energy to function in our daily lives—-it's the fuel in our tanks that keeps us going. How full is your energy tank right now? If you’re running on less than a ½ tank, don’t worry! This article will explore ways to maintain a steady and healthy energy level so that you are ready for the road ahead!

There are many sources of energy we can use for motivation and fuel. Predictably, some are healthier and more sustainable than others. Below is a summary of some unhealthy energy sources, followed by some more healthy alternatives. Check off those that you use to keep you


Like leaded gasoline, these sources of energy are commonly used and they do work…but at a significant physical, mental, and emotional cost. It all depends on how much of them you use and how often.

Adrenaline: this is the fuel of choice for the stressed-out and over-scheduled. Adrenaline gives us that “jolt” to keep moving when we’d otherwise be overwhelmed. You might be relying on adrenaline for energy if you are constantly rushing, often arriving “right on time” or a few minutes
late, work best “under pressure”, or often find yourself struggling to fit in last minute interruptions and issues.

Conflicts, problems or crises: some people constantly find themselves fire-fighting and running from one problem to the next. When no problems present themselves, they may go looking for one to solve. You may be using problems or crises for fuel if you find that you feel “the most alive” or “on” when faced with a high level of drama, or if you recognize that drama and problems are a constant presence in your life.

Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol, Drugs: these can be a source of “instant” energy in a pinch. However, if you rely upon caffeine or other substances to start your day, and turn to it throughout the day to keep from crashing, you may be over-relying on this unhealthy source of energy. Sugar or alcohol is often used in combination with caffeine—to calm you down after a stressful event or day. Using substances to keep you going can become a problem if it is your main source of energy and you find that at the end of the day you feel completely drained or “out of gas”.


While the sources listed above do give us energy, it is generally short lived energy and will quickly require another “fix” to keep you going. In contrast, the healthy energy sources are much more sustainable. This means you have a more constant amount of energy without the peaks and valleys characteristic of the noxious sources. Another distinction between the two is that with healthy sources of energy you don't end the day with that exhausted, totally drained feeling that comes from burning noxious fuel. Here are three great sources of energy.

Energizing People: we all have people in our lives who somehow give us more energy when we’re with them. Think of those relationships (personal or professional) where you are left feeling light and energized. How can you build more of those relationships into your life while
minimizing or eliminating draining ones?

Healthful foods: while each person is different in terms of what foods fuel their body the best, it is clear that consistently eating proteins and carbohydrates (not the sugar laden ones) does keep us going in a healthful way. What foods work best for you?

Energizing Activities: certainly it would be nice if we could just do the things we love to do, but that's not always realistic. It is possible, however, to build more energizing activities into your day. Do you get so caught up in gardening, biking, painting, dancing, or cooking that you lose sense of time? This is a sign that the activity is energizing for you. It doesn’t have to be a big time commitment to be energizing. Simply listening to your favorite music can refuel you. Or surrounding yourself with flowers, colors you love, pictures, or pets. What are your energizing activities?

3-2-1 ACTION!

We can and do choose our sources of energy and motivation. Some of our choices give us positive energy that lifts us up and brings out our best. Others ultimately weigh us down and drain us of our spirit. If you are ready to get energized, here’s the 3-2-1 action for this month. I guarantee you’ll feel more alive and light than before you started!

Identify your 3 most energizing activities. What are those activities or experiences which leave you feeling full rather than drained? Write them down.

Now, write down 2 noxious sources of energy you use regularly. Think about when you use this source and how often.

Select 1 noxious source of energy you will eliminate for the next 30 days and choose 1 or 2 energizing activities off your list to replace it. Write it down and post it where you are most likely going to need it! (over the coffee pot perhaps?)


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© 2006, Shawn Driscoll, Succeed Coaching & Development. This article is provided courtesy of Shawn Driscoll, Career Success Coach and owner of Professionals: upgrade your work life today! We provide products and services to help you succeed at work, in business and in life. Sign up to receive your free Success Wise ezine—and get success tips, inspiration, and resources to skyrocket your success—at

Author's Bio: 

Career Success Coach Shawn Driscoll, of Succeed Coaching & Development is a certified coach, speaker and the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your Ideal Job”. As an expert on career transition and the art of reinventing yourself she can teach you how to take control of your career and create your ideal work-life. To learn more about her classes and programs and to get your FREE Career Accelerator Toolkit, visit .