The Energy Funnel Explained: Level 1

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

For those who find themselves in Level 1 energy on the Energy Funnel, they are classified as “The Victim.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a victim in the traditional definition of the word, but rather you feel like a victim as a result of something, someone or a situation. This could include situations or circumstances in which you have no control.

Level 1 energy is characterized by worry, guilt, fear and self-doubt, among a number of other negative emotions. This energy level manifests as a perceived lack of choice, victim status, low interest or no motivation. People in Level 1 energy often say they feel overwhelmed, hopeless, helpless or emotional, resulting in lethargy and inactivity.

What Level 1 Looks Like

Let’s say you work for a short-tempered manager. This manager isn’t open to new ideas, is critical and always seems to be upset. Working for this manager can create feelings of self-doubt, hopelessness, disengagement and ambivalence. You feel no interest or drive to do great things at work. You just want to get by without incurring your manager’s anger or feeling the effect of his moods. This situation can inspire Level 1 energy.

Another example, you go to Thanksgiving dinner with your family. There are relatives there that you only see once a year because you don’t share much in common. Listening to them or even spending time with them seems to take away all of your energy. You have told yourself you don’t like them so you avoid them as much as possible. You leave the family event feeling drained and exhausted. This situation can inspire Level 1 energy.

Summary of Level 1 energy

  • Thought: Victim
  • Feeling: Indifference
  • Action: Disconnection
  • Advantages of Level 1 energy: self-protection, sympathy from others, non-accountability
  • Disadvantages of Level 1 energy: no engagement, reduced effort, no interest, feeling stuck, unable to create change

Remember: when you notice that you are in Level 1 energy, you can become aware of what is inspiring this level of energy. That awareness, combined with the knowledge that there are 6 levels of energy, gives you the choice to decide what level of energy you will use to approach the situation. Many people default to this level of energy as part of our instinctual fight or flight reactions. Level 1 energy is flight.

As you become more familiar with the 6 levels of energy, and as you become more aware of your emotions and energy, you’ll see that your energy level is yours to choose. The result is powerful: you can significantly improve your outlook, outcome and experience. Awareness is key.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What activates Level 1 energy for you?
  2. How is Level 1 energy productive for you?
  3. How is Level 1 energy unproductive for you?
  4. When it is unproductive, how can you move to a more productive energy level?

Are you feeling stuck in Level 1 energy? Schedule a complimentary 15-minute coaching session with Jay to determine if professional coaching is right for you.


Continue reading about the next energy level: Level 2.

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