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.


  • 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.

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