This is a 3 min. exercise I’ve been doing in my trainings. I created it because relationships are a great source of energy. Given our limited mobility these days and the constraints of online interaction, who can’t do with a bit more energy? But relationships can also drain our energy. So it’s crucial to know which are and are not energizing us.
Make a list of the top 5 to 10 people that you spend more time with, people that occupy your physical and/or psychological time. The nature of the relationship is not relevant here. However people you love but don’t spend too much time with are not for this list.
Make two columns. On the left write “Bummer”, on the right write “Booster”. In the “Booster” column put the names above of the relationships that are energizing you. In the “bummer” put the names of relationships that are currently draining you. When in doubt, opt for the bummer side.
Do this honestly. Notice that we’re talking about the state of the relationship and not the person. Relationships have ups and downs. You might have a relationship with someone you love dearly that is currently in a bummer state.
For the people in the booster column commit to reinforce your relationship with plenty of positive feedback, compliments and appreciation. This will strengthen the booster loop you have going.
For the people in the bummer column, choose one of these three options:
Option 1: End the relationship. If the relationship really doesn’t bring anything significant to your life and you are in a position to end it, end it.
Option 2: Fix the relationship. If the relationship is one you value deeply and want to continue, then it’s time to have one of those talks and let them know you’re being drained. Left as is, this relationship can turn toxic.
Option 3: Insulate (not isolate) yourself from the other person. If you can’t end the relationship, and it just ins’t worth fixing, you want to protect yourself from their draining influence.
This is done with what Andres Martin, founder of the Foundation for Emotional Education of Barcelona, calls an “emotional condom”. A condom allows you to interact without getting infected, in this case, without draining your energy. This is choosing to walk away, inside.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
SOCRATES (c. 470 – 399 BC), Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy.
About a month ago, I was catching up with my great friend Milu, when she asked about work. I told her I was super excited with my latest client, the Spanish branch of Westwing, an inspiring European eCommerce in Home & Living. I also told her I was a little scared. They wanted my signature course “From Bummer to Booster: 12 Steps to Become a Badass Team Player”.
I had previously done bits and prices of this online. But this time it was the full version: two days, from nine to six, all on Zoom. What’s more, I’ve been doing this course in person for nine years, so I’ve refined it to the point where — without wanting to toot my horn too much — it’s become a transformational experience.
So, yeah, I was a little concerned about how effective it would be online. Would folks survive these long hours? Would it be worth it? Without even letting me finish, Milu unequivocally asserted: “You’re gonna nail it.” I full heartedly welcomed her encouragement.
Today I’ll conclude the fourth round of this course with Westing. Was it worth it? The outcomes and the feedback allow me to confidently answer: “Hell Yeah!” It would not have been possible without the outstanding vibe that Westwing has (btw their products are also outstanding!).
Conclusion: If you’d asked me a year ago if my workshops would work online, I’d say no way. Today they all happen online. There is still much to learn and refine but it is nice to see the magic of transformation also happening online.
“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.”
CONFUCIUS (551 – 479 BCE), Chinese philosopher and politician, traditionally considered the epitome of Chinese sages
Loved in the inflexibility of my ideas,
Loved in the unlikelihood of my wildest dreams,
And loved in the repetition of my everyday stupidities?
Loved in the glare of my greatness,
Loved in the impoliteness of my impulses,
And loved in the scars of my fuckups?
Loved in the sweat of my sacrifices,
Loved in the song of my pathetic moments,
And loved in the smell of my self-judgment?
With whom do I feel deeply loved?
“You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you.”
SENECA (c. 4 BC – AD 65), Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist
On Friday I gave an online workshop for Amazon’s Recruiting Team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It was about self-care and self-investment, and my premise was that any life worth living will regularly get messy just like the kitchen gets messy when we use it.
The key then to wellbeing is not to try avoid the mess, but to care and invest in ourselves so as to be emotionally fit when the mess happens. I shared with them several shortcuts for emotional fitness. Here are three that require little effort but have a massive, massive, massive impact in our wellbeing.
- Sleep: Matthew Walker, sleep expert and author of the book “Why We Sleep”, recommends we give ourselves the opportunity of 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. He says that the pillars of a healthy body are not diet, exercise and sleep, but just diet and exercise, because sleep is the foundation.
- Gratitude: It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful and at the same time anger, fear or sadness. Gratitude energizes us to deal with life’s challenges. This is why I recommend starting the day by bringing to mind a few things we can be grateful for, and to connect with the emotions that this generates. This will set us up to deal with what comes our way during the day.
- Hanging out with TRUE friends: There is a growing body of evidence about the vital role of friendship in overcoming challenges. Introverts or extraverts, we are all social beings. Helen Keller said that she would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light. The Beatles nailed it when they suggested we get by with a little help from our friends.
“I’ve always been the opposite of a paranoid. I operate as if everyone is part of a plot to enhance my well-being.”
STAN DALE (1929-2007), radio broadcaster, writer, teacher, and founder of the Human Awareness Institute.
Yesterday on a news panel on how to celebrate Christmas, one of the commentators asked: Celebrate what? He then proceeded to argue there is nothing to celebrate this year. It’s been a shitty year, and Christmas is miles away from what it would typically be, but…
Do you really have nothing to be thankful for?
Is there nothing in your life worth raising a glass?
My past few Christmases haven be awful. Last year was cool because we were in Mexico with family. But the previous year, six days before Christmas I broke my collarbone, and the one before that I had a terrible, terrible argument on Christmas Eve.
I had little or no say in these events. But this year, I have a choice because we have all known for months that things would be different. I get to choose what to focus on:
Will I count my blessings or my problems?
This is not about my subjective opinion in seeing the glass half full in my life. Instead it is about objectively noticing that I have a glass to begin with. Christmas this year will be spent with my daughter, Irene, and with luck, a few true friends. This is blessing enough for me — other than the fact that there will be plenty of red wine and, hopefully, sense of humor.
My wish for you is that you may be inspired to notice some of the blessings in your life, so as to savor Christmas Day with a profound sense of meaning. Merry Christmas!
“If you want to change the results,
you need to change the mindset that
causes you to behave the way you do.”
ROGER SCHWARZ, leadership team consultant, speaker, organizational psychologist, and author of Smart Leaders, Smarter Teams: How You and Your Team Get Unstuck to Get Results.