On a recent Sunday afternoon, my wife and I were pulling out of our driveway to head to the airport, and she asked me, “do you think there will ever be a time you slow down?”. She wasn’t being snarky or complaining. She was just wondering if the way I live is permanent or do I want something different. Different, yes, slowing down, I am still determining. I see other people doing things, and I feel really slow compared to their accomplishments.
That particular Sunday, I was able to do a lot of things that gave me energy. I was up at 5 AM, and 23 hours later, I laid down to sleep. I preached twice, had a deacon luncheon and meeting, went home and walked my dog, drove two hours to the airport, stopped on the way to look at a project someone needed help with for our business, took a six-hour flight for a leadership gathering in California (which gave me six hours of uninterrupted time to work), arrived at the hotel, ordered food from Uber Eats, made a few notes and went to sleep. Six hours later, I was up and ready for a new day.
I do want something different, and some things absolutely drain me, but I’ll save those topics for another post. Here are a few things that give me energy and cause me to love what I do.
I love to hear new ideas. I have a note on my phone and iPad to which I constantly add new ideas. I like to sit with people, talk about ideas, and explore new ways of doing things. Every great thing that has ever happened started as an idea. Anytime I get to be in an environment where new ideas are being discussed, I get energy.
Concepts and ideas are intertwined and often used interchangeably. Ideas rarely have direction. Concepts put direction to the ideas. We are not in the details, but we are developing overarching themes about how things should work. Once the direction is set, the details can be decided. Concepts are energy builders for me.
While on the trip I mentioned earlier, Barbara and I had a conversation about this very thing and where we are most likely to spend money. She enjoys “retail therapy.” She likes a day out to be able to spend money on things that make for a lovely home or a nice life. I am more likely to get excited about spending money on an opportunity. An investment. An opportunity to grow. A business deal. An opportunity to connect with someone who can make me better. New opportunities excite me. They also require that I find more people to take care of the details, which drains me. I would take advantage of more if I had endless time and money. I love new opportunities that much.
I am always looking to grow. I enjoy being around better, brighter, and faster people than me. I learned a long time ago that bigger and better people make me a bigger and better person. I love to read, listen to good podcasts, attend a great conference, watch a masterclass, sit in a mastermind group, etc. Any opportunity to grow will ignite new things in me that will help me be a better leader and serve people better.
I might be an experience junkie. I love a good experience. I recently toured Washington DC through the eyes of Lincoln with Doris Kearns Goodwin and John Maxwell. What an incredible experience. I love to see new places and new things. Travel is one of the most enlightening things I have ever done. Experiences have broadened my life. I get excited about a unique experience.
Few things energize me more than an opportunity to give. I consider it a gift. Our gifts will energize us. The privilege to be generous with people and organizations lights my fire. It could be as simple as buying a meal or leaving a large tip. It might be the chance to help a struggling pastor of a small church or contribute to a growing church's building program. It could be a chance to help a struggling family or join others to make a difference in a good cause. I love giving and always find joy in the giving process.
Speaking and Preaching
I don’t know if this gives me the most energy or not, but I sure do love it. There are few things in this world I look forward to more than the chance to preach each Sunday or an opportunity to speak to a group of people on a subject I am passionate about. I consider this an area of gifting; as I stated above, giftings should bring us energy. It does not matter how difficult the week or day has been. I get energized when I have a chance to speak.
These last five were all a part of the busy Sunday I described at the beginning. It was easier to stay up 23 hours when things energized me all day. Do you know the things that give you energy? Are you aware of the things that drain you? You will be much more effective when you figure them out and then fill your life with energy creators.