Energy Level: Somewhere around a Zero

By Kristin Allaben, Executive Assistant and Strategic Communications Specialist

You wake up on a rainy morning. You didn’t sleep well. Your neck is sore. You’re still tired. It’s cold, raw and, you guessed it, Monday.

Be honest, what was the first reaction you had to reading that scenario? What’s your energy level?

Most people would eloquently respond with “ugh” or “meh.” Some may even quote Office Space, grumbling to themselves, “Someone’s got a case of the Mondays,” and roll over and hit ‘snooze.’

This is Level 1 energy – a feeling of indifference, being disconnected and, to the extreme, playing the victim.

At The Forte Factor, we focus on strengths, optimism, opportunity and potential. These are driven by understanding that performance energy is either productive or unproductive (not good/bad, right/wrong) and that productive performance energy will more successfully use strengths, drive optimism, inspire opportunity and help achieve potential. So, how are you letting your energy level dictate your day?

In Life’s Little Moments, I talk about making the choice to respond positively to potentially frustrating events. Let’s review one of those situations by looking at the reaction vs. the response aligned to the energy funnel.

Situation: You spill something on your shirt right before a big meeting.
Reaction: Frustrated. Angry. Embarrassed. Annoyed.
Energy: Level 2. You allow yourself to feel angry and become irritated. You are more critical, short-tempered and aggravated by little things.
Outcome: The meeting is awkward and uncomfortable. You check the time frequently and keep looking at the door. When a question is directed at you, you reply with a sarcastic comment. When someone says something you disagree with, you offer a valid, yet aggressive, response. Your point is made and you’re assigned the big project you wanted, but now you’re on your own. No one wants to work with you.

Same situation, with a positive energetic response instead of a negative reaction:

Response: Frustrated, but you choose to laugh it off because sometimes these things happen – it’s not personal. You now focus your energy on how to solve the problem by looking for a jacket or scarf to hide the mark, not wasting your energy on being upset. You choose to be confident and don’t call any attention to your mishap before the meeting. It’s done and in your past.
Energy: Level 5. You accept a human moment happened and you enter the meeting with confidence, knowing that what you say and do in the meeting will matter more than the stain on your shirt.
Outcome: The meeting goes incredibly well. You break the tension in the room by laughing off the human moment and segue into the challenge at hand, discussing a few possible solutions. You’re assigned the big project you wanted and have an entire team of people to help. You start brainstorming immediately.

Do you see the difference?

Being aware of your energy enables you to more efficiently manage your emotions. You can intentionally choose an energetic response that is productive that, in turn, can yield more successful results. You move out of habit reaction into thoughtful response. You have what it takes to learn from this moment to make your next moment better.

So let’s rethink that dreary Monday morning wake-up. How will you choose to start your week?

 

Consider reading The Energy Funnel Explained.

Return to the Blog

Life’s Little Moments

By Kristin Allaben, Executive Assistant and Strategic Communications Specialist

Life is full of little moments to remember, to laugh at, to share, to take a mental picture and hope you never forget. Sure, life can present you with some incredibly frustrating situations, like:

  • You reach for the chocolate jimmies (or “sprinkles,” if you’re not from Massachusetts) and end up putting parsley flakes on your ice cream instead.
  • You spill coffee on your shirt right before a big meeting.
  • The cover on the salt shaker is loose and you end up pouring salt onto your food.
  • You pour milk in your coffee and discover it has gone bad…after you take your first sip.
  • Your 1-year old insists on feeding himself and gets applesauce all over the kitchen.

How many of these moments can you relate to?

These are moments that can get under your skin and, I admit, there are some days when life’s little frustrations and irritations can certainly push me over the edge. I’m human.

But I have found that what I choose to do in the next moment is what makes all the difference. It is my choice. I can let life’s little moments ruin my day, or I can choose to see the moment as a human event. It’s the difference between reacting vs. responding.

When you pour parsley flakes on your ice cream, take a picture and share with family or friends who will get a kick out of it. And if you’re really craving that ice cream, scoop the parsley out and eat the ice cream anyway.

When your 1-year old gets applesauce all over the kitchen, take a mental picture of the grin on his face and grab your phone to share a picture of the “disaster” with family. Remember, this is a learning experience for him and he’s proud of himself for getting *some* of that food in his mouth by himself. He is, in fact, just [a small] human.

Life is full of little irritating and frustrating moments – you choose if they will make or break your day. And now that you see you have the choice, why would you choose to let them break your day?

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. Imagine a “little moment” when your reaction was a negative one. How did it impact your day?
  2. Think about those you came into contact with that day – your colleagues, your kids, your friends. How did your mood/attitude impact their day?
  3. What could you have done differently in the moment that followed to change your behavior?

I frequently think of Pam and Jim’s wedding episode from The Office. In the car, on their way up to their wedding location, Pam tells Jim a relative suggests taking a mental picture during the day to ensure you don’t forget a great little moment.

So, when life’s little moments present you with something incredible, take the mental picture, especially when those little moments require a deeper look to find that incredible component to remember.

 

Consider reading Catch and Release.

Return to the Blog

The Energy Funnel Explained: Level 6

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator 

For those who find themselves in Level 6 energy on the Energy Funnel, they are classified as “The Designer.”

Level 6 energy shows as being totally present, very aware and connected to something larger. People in Level 6 energy are intuitive, non-judgmental, creative, inspiring and productive. They are often described as visionaries and able to make things happen.

Those in Level 6 energy believe that people are who they are – there is no fixing or controlling needed; relationships are to be experienced. They don’t identify or focus on differences, make judgments or make comparisons. Instead, they believe we each bring something unique to the table, and those unique strengths and abilities should be harnessed and used for the greater good. Those in Level 6 energy do not fight with what is; they accept and allow things to happen as they happen. They are unflappable and unaffected by the aggravations, frustrations and irritations of life. They choose to see past these, remaining optimistic and possibility-focused.

What Level 6 Looks Like

You meet a college alumnus at your college reunion. As you critique how your previous classmates have changed, who they used to be and what you didn’t like about them, your college friend simply comments on how good it is to see everyone, hear about their lives and celebrate being together.

Another example: you and your family are traveling to an island for a well-needed vacation. You have been planning it for months and have coordinated schedules with your adult children so the entire family will be together for four days. An unexpected severe storm shuts down the airport, causing two of your kids to miss out on the trip. As others in your family are furious by the storm and the interruption in their vacation, you calmly look to reschedule the trip at another time when the family can all be together, acknowledging that weather can sometimes interrupt plans.

Summary

  • Thought: Clarity
  • Feeling: Connection
  • Action: Inspire
  • Advantages of Level 6 energy: Supports and values everyone and everything without judgment
  • Disadvantages of Level 6 energy: Can be perceived as disconnected and aloof because of detached involvement; a connection to everything and nothing at the same time.

Remember: when you notice that you are in Level 6 energy, you can become aware of what is inspiring this level of energy. You can then decide how to use this level of energy to make greater things happen in your work, life and relationships. This level is about designing, about seeing that all things are possible.

As you become more aware of your emotions, and your understanding of the six levels of energy improves, you’ll see that your energy level is yours to choose. The result is that you can significantly improve your outlook, outcome and experience.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What activates Level 6 energy for you?
  2. How is Level 6 energy productive for you?
  3. How is Level 6 energy unproductive for you?
  4. When it is unproductive (even Level 6 energy can be unproductive), how can you move to a more productive energy level?

Are you told you’re disconnected despite your efforts to fully support and connect with everyone? Or, have you started to connect with the possibilities that accompany Level 6 energy and you want more? Schedule a complimentary 15-minute coaching session with Jay to determine if coaching can help you better understand how to use your performance energy well.

 

Consider reading Embrace Your Face.

Return to the Blog 

The Energy Funnel Explained: Level 5

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

For those who find themselves in Level 5 energy on the Energy Funnel, they are classified as “The Seeker.”

Level 5 energy is characterized by a deeper understanding of their place in the world and purposeful living. It manifests as being self-aware, confident, trusting and opportunity-focused. People in Level 5 energy are productive, insightful, intentional, supportive and strategic. They focus on a win-win mindset and seek out opportunities for everyone to be successful. They easily invent and see possibilities.

Notice that Level 5 energy is powerfully anabolic; you’re not only focusing on others, but on your own happiness and success. This creates a powerful impact on others, especially since those in Level 5 energy approach each situation with care and support.

What Level 5 Looks Like

Imagine you’ve been asked to join a focus group. You are part of team that includes fellow employees from all areas of your organization. The goal of the focus group is to expand ways to improve the customer experience that also improve the employee experience. All ideas are to be considered, as long as they improve things for employees and customers. You propose ideas and focus on building on the ideas of others. You are committed to the goal of improving things and making a difference that matters.

Or, as a parent, you hear your children arguing over a toy they both want to play with. You calmly step in to present an idea that allows both children to have time with the toy in a way that matters to each. Everyone is happy and everyone gets their turn with the toy.

Summary

  • Thought: Acceptance
  • Feeling: Confidence
  • Action: Creation
  • Advantages of Level 5 energy: everything is an opportunity and nothing is perceived as personal
  • Disadvantages of Level 5 energy: take big risks as a result of being too opportunity-focused; easy to disconnect from emotions and relationships by focusing too much on performance and achievement

Remember: when you notice that you are in Level 5 energy, you can become aware of what is inspiring this level of energy. You then have the choice to decide if you’ll continue to approach the situation with Level 5 energy or if you’ll leverage any of the other six levels.

As you become more aware of your emotions, and your understanding of the six levels of energy improves, you’ll see that your energy level is yours to choose. The result is that you can significantly improve your outlook, outcome and experience.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What activates Level 5 energy for you?
  2. How is Level 5 energy productive for you?
  3. How is Level 5 energy unproductive for you?
  4. When it is unproductive, how can you move to a more productive energy level?

Do people view your confidence as a turn-off, yet it’s what drives you to success? Schedule a complimentary 15-minute coaching session with Jay to determine if coaching is right for you to leverage your strengths to further develop your greatest self.

 

Continue reading about the next energy level: Level 6.

Return to the Blog 

The Energy Funnel Explained: Level 4

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

For those who find themselves in Level 4 energy on the Energy Funnel, they are classified as “The Provider.”

Level 4 energy is characterized by helping, responding, healing, fixing, loving and nurturing. This energy level manifests as being ruled by relationships and working to ensure [positive] attention is on others. People in Level 4 energy are often emotional, focused on others and service-minded.

Notice that Level 4 is anabolic; you focus on others with care and support. Notice the energy starts to become more positive and productive, along with opportunities and feelings.

What Level 4 Looks Like

Let’s say you are a devoted mom. You are at all of your kids’ events, you help with projects, you bring forgotten homework to school and you leave notes in their lunches. You constantly change your schedule to accommodate their needs and interests. You don’t do it because you have to, you do it because you care deeply.

Or, you are a very committed and supportive team member. Your team knows that when they ask for your help you always say yes, regardless of how busy you are. Your team knows you are approachable and available, because helping others out is important to you. It matters that others can rely on you.

Summary

  • Thought: Care
  • Feeling: Kindness
  • Action: Support
  • Advantages of Level 4 energy: a focus on self-less service, deep empathy, concern and attention to others
  • Disadvantages of Level 4 energy: disregard self for a focus on others, overly judgmental in your need to assess and fix others

Remember: when you notice you are in Level 4 energy, you can become aware of what is inspiring this level of energy. This awareness, combined with your understanding of the six levels of energy, presents you with the opportunity to choose how you will address the situation.

As you become more aware of your emotions, combined with a deeper understanding of the six levels of energy, you see that your energy level is yours to choose. The result is powerful: you can significantly improve your outlook, outcome and experience.

Important Questions from a Coach

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

Are you known for caring too much? Do you find that you give more to others so that you have little left for yourself? Consider scheduling a complimentary 15-minute coaching session with Jay to determine if coaching can help you include yourself in your level of care to feel happy and engaged in both work and life.

 

Continue reading about the next energy level: Level 5.

Return to the Blog 

The Energy Funnel Explained: Level 3

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

For those who find themselves in Level 3 energy on the Energy Funnel, they are classified as “The Justifier.”

Level 3 energy is characterized by coping, forgiving and taking responsibility. People in Level 3 energy often tolerate and compromise, but can be overly focused on winning (self-focused vs. win-win).

Notice that Level 3 is mildly anabolic; you have moved out of the fight or flight levels. As a result, more options become available at this level, and energy starts to become more positive and productive.

What Level 3 Looks Like

Let’s say you work with a teammate who has a very strong personality. This person is cheap with praise and frequent with personal critiques. You have learned to tolerate this person and disregard their strong and direct comments. You tell others, “That is just who they are.”

Or, for your vacation, you have your heart set on spending some time at home to work on a house project but your family wants to spend time with your in-laws at their summer cottage. You insist on working on your project and decide to have the family leave for the cottage without you; you will join them later in the week. Though not ideal, you got some of what you wanted to happen.

Summary

  • Thought: Rationalization
  • Feeling: Tolerance
  • Action: Collaboration/Compromise
  • Advantages of Level 3 energy: keeping the peace, getting things done, resilient, tenacious, focused, determined
  • Disadvantages of Level 3 energy: can be viewed as insincere, inauthentic, self-motivated and more concerned for results than people

Remember: when you notice that you are in Level 3 energy, you can become aware of what is inspiring this level of energy. And with that awareness, you have the choice to approach the situation or circumstance with Level 3 energy or any of the other six levels.

As you become more aware of your emotions, you see that your energy level is yours to choose. The result is you can significantly improve your outlook, outcome and experience.

Important Questions from a Coach

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

Are you viewed as insincere, but think you’re driving your team or department toward great results? Schedule a complimentary 15-minute coaching session with Jay to determine if coaching is right for you to identify ways to move out of Level 3 energy without losing your tenacity and drive.

Continue reading about the next energy level: Level 4.

Return to the Blog 

The Energy Funnel Explained: Level 2

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

For those who find themselves in Level 2 energy on the Energy Funnel, they are classified as “The Warrior.”

Level 2 energy is characterized by conflict, judgments and arguing, among a number of other combative emotions. People in Level 2 energy often fight for things to be abundantly clear (i.e. black or white, no gray area), tend to be sarcastic and have a high need to be right. They can be controlling, aggressive and antagonistic.

What Level 2 Looks Like

Let’s say your project is discussed at the weekly team meeting and a few components are highlighted as areas that need work. The team begins to brainstorm ways you can further build out these pieces. You respond with a sarcastic comment and immediately point the finger at someone in the room for not providing you with the information you needed to build those components. This generates a similar response from the person you challenged and an argument ensues.

Or, you are driving on the highway and, to avoid some debris in the road, you swerve into another lane. Though you don’t hit the car in the other lane, you force them to hit their brakes. They then turn on their lights, lean on their horn and speed up to get next to you, cursing and using obscene gestures. They are in Level 2 energy.

Consider the second example. What level of energy are you in and do you want to be in?

Summary

  • Thought: Irritation
  • Feeling: Anger
  • Action: Confrontation
  • Advantages of Level 2 energy: productive by self, achievement happens in difficult situations, can impact/drive change, ensures they are heard
  • Disadvantages of Level 2 energy: results are not sustainable, relationships are challenged, others disconnect and disengage, results in little to no trust or respect

Remember: when you notice you are in Level 2 energy, you can become aware of what is inspiring this level of energy. And this awareness can help you choose how you want to approach the situation or circumstance, whether that’s with Level 2 energy or in any of the other six levels. Many people default to Level 2 energy as part of our instinctual fight or flight reactions. Level 2 energy is fight.

As you become more aware of your emotions and energy, combined with your understanding of the six levels of energy, you see that your energy level is yours to choose.

Awareness is key. The result is you can significantly improve your outlook, outcome and experience.

Important Questions from a Coach

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

Do you find yourself moving through life mostly in Level 1 or Level 2 energy? Schedule a complimentary 15-minute coaching session with Jay to determine if coaching could improve your energetic response.

 

Continue reading about the next energy level: Level 3.

Return to the Blog 

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.

Return to the Blog 

The Energy Funnel Explained: Catabolic vs. Anabolic

By Jay Forte

Energy and emotions happen every moment of every day, often without consciously thinking about them.

Energy refers to how you approach the events, situations and circumstances of your life. It shows in your thoughts, feelings and actions and can be at any of the 6 different energy levels at any point in time. This is when most of us instinctively react instead of respond.

This also points to the importance of awareness, something that is critical to successfully discovering and developing your Forte Factor. Without being self-aware, you default to habits – some productive, some unproductive.

Knowing the 6 levels of energy, combined with having greater self-awareness, will empower you to more intentionally choose your responses, ultimately impacting your mental state. This, in turn, can lead to more positive personal and professional results.

Understanding the Levels of Energy

To understand the Energy Funnel, and to become more aware of your own energy level, you must first learn about the two types of energy:

  • Catabolic energy – referred to as diminishing, draining, resisting, contracting or destructive energy. Basically, according to Dr. Bruce Schneider, founder of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC) and creator of the Energy Leadership Index, it “acts like a blinder through which you only [have] a limited view of a situation.”

Catabolic language shows as: should, have to, need to, may, hopefully, whatever, not sure, perhaps, maybe, must, always, never.

Levels 1 and 2 on the Energy Funnel are catabolic energy levels.

  • Anabolic energy – referred to as constructive, expanding, healing, augmenting and growing. This type of energy is the source of our greatest progress, success, inspiration and opportunity creation.

Anabolic language includes: want to, choose to, wish to, desire to, intend to, I will, it matters to me, it is important to me, it is critical, urgent, exciting.

Encouraging this language helps you more readily and intentionally tune in to opportunities and tune out limitations.

Levels 3 through 6 on the Energy Funnel are anabolic energy levels.

The Energy Funnel helps you see all 6 levels of energy and reminds you that it is your choice which level of energy you use in the circumstances and situations in work and life. Most of us default into our energetic responses instead of choose them with intention. Awareness of the levels helps you ask yourself, “Is my energy positive, optimistic and opportunity-focused, or negative, pessimistic and critical?”

If you’re unsure where you default on the Energy Funnel, or if you know you’d like to understand how to better use and direct your energy, contact Jay for a free 15-minute coaching session to see if coaching makes sense for you.

 

Continue reading about the Energy Funnel by learning about the different energy levels: Level 1 Energy.

Return to the Blog 

Catch and Release

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

You smile and nod as your manager critiques a report you completed. You shrug as your teen calls you unfair for limiting internet time on a weekend. You tell yourself it’s no big deal when your friends are invited to a party but there was no invitation for you. You take it all in stride, but you know the frustration is building. Then, suddenly, you blow up over something crazy, like your favorite show has been pre-empted by a special news show. You lose it, crying, swearing and complaining that life isn’t fair.

How – and why – does something so small create such a large reaction?

You, like most of us, catch and keep disappointments and frustrations rather than catching and releasing them. When you keep them, they build up until you reach a breaking point.

Rather than accepting the “straw that broke the camel’s back” mentality and acknowledging that a break down will happen at some point, what if you deal with whatever life throws at you, learn from it, and let it go, rather than catching and keeping it? By doing this, there is little or no build up. There is no reason to go into meltdown.

It does, however, require awareness and it takes practice.

Learn from life

One of the wisest things I learned in all my years is to use everything life sends me as a lesson. What did I do well that I should do again? What didn’t work that I should learn from to make my next moment better?

Using this approach, I can better manage my reaction to life’s events, particularly the frustrations and disappointments. I can deal with it, learn from it and move on.

Life isn’t personal

I remember one time when I was a kid I got a particularly bad haircut (or that is how I remember it). Threatening to lock myself in my room until my hair grew back, my mother calmly asked, “What makes you think anyone is looking at you anyway?” Her point was to not take things so personally. When it rains on the day of your planned barbecue, it isn’t personal – it’s just the weather. When you get sick on the day of your big presentation, it’s not personal – it’s just life.

When we let go of the negative emotions that we add to life’s frustrations, we can see them as the little events they are. This gives us more emotional room to decide what to do next, to catch the wisdom of the moment and release the negative energy so the rest of the day isn’t affected.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. What are you holding on to that you should release?
  2. How can you focus on learning from your frustrations and disappointments as they happen?
  3. What will it be like to be around you as you better manage your disappointments and frustrations?

Catch, learn and release. Gather information, learn from it and let it go. This makes room for the next round of successes, challenges and frustrations that will happen because that is just how life is.

Catch and release instead of catch and keep. Life will be so much better.

 

Need help getting to catch and release? Consider working with a professional coach.

Return to the Blog

1 11 12 13 14 15
RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
Connect with us on LinkedIn