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.

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