Atthe International Coach Federation meeting in October Talane Miedaner talkedduring one of the workshops about the dynamic of flow in life. Life is neverstatic, at least not until it’s over. Einstein proved that with his famousequation E=mc2. Not even solid rock is static. It’s actually abundle of enormous energy, interacting with other energies in its environment.
Soit is with all of life. Energy flows. Although sometimes it swirls around andaround, most of the time energy either flows back and forth, in and out, to andfrom (that’s true even in the swirl itself). Talane spoke of this in terms ofenergy drains and energy boosters. Energy drains sap us of energy. Energyboosters give us energy. The concept is that simple.
I’vespoken before in these LifeTrek Provisions about eliminating tolerations. That’s aCoach University buzzword for energy drains. They can be just about anything,and they’re different for different people. Don’t think of them in terms ofwhether you’re exerting yourself or not, whether you’re giving or receiving.Many people receive a tremendous energy boost from giving.
Thinkof them in terms of how they leave you feeling. Do you enjoy something? Thenit’s an energy booster. Do you notice something that you’d like to bedifferent? Then it’s an energy drain. That something can be as small as aburned-out light bulb or as large as a postponed major project. Eliminatingeven a few energy drains can have a major impact on your quality of life andyour overall energy level.
Manypeople fail to realize that relationships can be viewed through the same energydraining / energy boosting filter. Relationships may, in fact, be the biggestenergy flow of all. That’s why I include them in my list of 10 things you canchange to change your life. Toxic relationships need to be handled the same wayas any other toxic waste: we either need to clean them up or move away fromthem.
Iagree with those who suggest that cleaning them up is the first and bestoption. To move away just makes them someone else’s problem. And by moving awaywe fail to learn all that can be learned from them in order to avoid suchmesses in the future. When it comes to relationships we often end up jumpingfrom the frying pan into the fire. So instead of bolting at the first sign oftrouble, see what you can do to clean them up.
Failingthat, you need to think about moving on rather than spending a lifetime ofselling yourself short. A constant energy drain is no way to live. This is astrue in professional relationships as it is in personal ones. How many peoplesuffer, for example, with doctors they just can’t talk to? Or with bosses theyjust can’t stand? We allow ourselves to be intimidated by their credentials,expertise, or position rather than to engage with them around a project ofmutual improvement or to disengage with them altogether.
Whatare the toxic relationships that you are tolerating in your life? If you can’tsee them, ask your friends. They’re usually painfully obvious to those who areless invested but who nevertheless care about you. Toxic relationships may bepersonal or professional, but they all share the same quality of being: theytake more energy than they give.
Don’tunderestimate the negative impact of toxic relationships. Don’t put up withthem just because they’ve always been there or you can’t think of otheroptions. Improve them or eliminate them. Change your involvement with them. Change your expectations. See what can happen through your own concerted efforts at forgiveness and well-being. When all else fails, walk away. As hard as it sounds, you’ll be glad you did.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC