March 1st, 2015

30 Day Behaviour Change Challenge Day 4 – Energy Vampires

Are there people like this undermining your behaviour change?

Are there people like this undermining your behaviour change?

Not long ago vampires were everywhere on our TV’s, books and magazines, like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and the Twilight Series to name a few. Although the dominance of these mythical creatures has lessened in the entertainment world, I want you to know that people with the same characteristics as vampires are indeed around you everyday, sucking your energy away and leaving you drained and unable to effect the behaviour changes you want in your life. Today’s task is to identify them and design a management plan.

Unless you are a live a hermit-like existence other people impact your behaviours. These impacts are at both the conscious and unconscious levels. Today we need to bring those unconscious impacts more into our awareness and  assess who gives us energy and who are the energy vampires that leave us with little left in the tank to craft the life we really desire.

Most of us know which activities give us energy; holidays, travel, a relaxing dinner with friends, a successful project or a cleaning binge that leaves everything organized and tidy (yes there are people like that). These actions leave us emotionally fulfilled giving us that impetus to tackle the tasks that take all of our energy to complete.

As long as our ‘energy-giving’ activities match our ‘energy-sapping’ activities we say that our lives are in balance. This balance does not need to be daily but the balance of ‘energy giving’ activities, like a holiday or relaxing weekend and ‘energy draining’ activities, like caring for others or long work hours needs to be balanced over time.

Most people are aware of the need for ‘re-creation’ but fail to identify and manage people who are toxic, the energy vampires who daily steal their mojo.

4 Steps for Identifying and Managing Energy Vampires

Task 1: Make a list of the people who are closest to you – work, family and friends. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many people, work initially with those people you see more frequently.

Task 2: Put a tick or draw an emoticon next to those people that you love to be around. Really think about this. You may spend all weekend with them doing cool stuff but at the end of it, do these people give you energy? Or sap you dry? Are you constantly looking after their needs? Making them feel loved? Happy? Are you rescuing them from themselves? Caring can be a two edged sword. At the beginning it can be satisfying and rewarding to care for someone else. However, over time the role of carer can wear you down.

Task 3: Now draw a cross or a different emoticon to identify the energy vampires. Would fangs with drops of blood be too melodramatic? You do need to really question you thinking here. Your Manager is perfectly within their right to ask you to do certain tasks. Is it the type of work that saps your energy and if so you may need to change role? Or is it indeed your Manager? We all need to do tasks that take energy from us but it becomes easier if we are surrounded by people who give us the energy, enthusiasm and support to complete them.

Task 4: Write a plan of how you maximise time with those who give you energy and limit time with those who don’t. To enable changes in our behavior we need to assess who in our world are energy vampires and manage our exposure to them. People who encourage the change we are trying to make need to be prioritised. If you want to be slim, surround yourself with slim people, their attitude and habits will wear off on you. If you want to stop drinking, find people who don’t drink. If you want to reduce your anxiety, spend time and model your behavior on someone who approaches things in a calm manner. Remember that NO is a small but powerful word.

To change behaviors we need to change not only our thinking and actions but create a world where there is little option but to stick with our intentions. Energy vampires need to be recognized and minimized to leave us with the mojo to step out of our comfort zone and discover our potential.