The Most Important Question To Ask If You Want To Thrive
Here’s a very personal question. It’s likely the first time you’ll really think about this issue. The answer might surprise you, and can –literally- energise your future. Here is that critical question- for you, and for me.
My last Possums post suggested inspiration comes from ‘getting started.’ If we get cracking on a project, even if we don’t feel like it, then very quickly the ideas and momentum- and inspiration- comes too. My view was that environments can inspire (eg: for me, say, Rome, or the artefacts and furniture in my office, etc), but it’s taking action that really counts.
Then a wise colleague generously shared a powerful insight that has sat front and centre in my mind. This is part of what he wrote to me. “To be inspired is to ‘breathe in.’….. There’s also nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with the things, and especially people, who give you heart, even comfort.” And in that statement is THE question to answer if you want to thrive. Here is it.
Who are the people in your life who give you heart?
It’s as simple as that. His wise counsel came at a time when I have been searching for ‘heart.’ Not sure why. Perhaps the grind just gets overwhelming sometimes, relentless, bigger, pressure, more, and again, giving and giving. My shoulders have been a little slumped, the cloud a little heavy.
‘To give you heart’ means to lift your spirits, to put a spring in your step, to give you courage, resolution, fortitude. To make you feel safe, yet excited, hopeful. Optimistic. ‘To give heart’ is not just about ‘inspiring.’ It’s more gentle, yet more powerful. It makes you feel a sense of adventure, self-belief, a desire to flirt with uncertainty. It makes you feel invincible, just for a few moments. It makes your heart literally beat a little faster, but ‘nice’ faster.
That concept- who ‘gives you heart’, has been sitting with me, and I thought you might like it. So- here are four important questions if, like me, you could do with help to give you a little heart from time to time:
Who Gives You Heart?
Think hard about who the people in your life are who make you feel the way I describe – that when you are with them or leave them, make you feel energised. Not those who you would hope would ‘give you heart’, or you take for granted that they do, but who actually make your heart lift, your eyes rise, shoulders back, onwards!
Who Depletes You?
Now, try to identify who you spend time with who actually drain you, deplete you, suck the energy and optimism out of you. The takers. They don’t mean to. It just happens. That’s the dynamic between you two.
How Do You Spend More Time With The Energisers, Less With The Depleters?
Hard to do- I know. Often the depleters are people we love deeply, who need us, who we want to give to. That’s ok. Of course it is. But maybe some of them don’t need as much time from you. And maybe, just maybe, you need to make sure you are spending more time with those very few, rare and special individuals who give you heart. Make sure you are clear about who those people are. And take the time to lock in time with them… just as often as is fair, and as often as you need, to give you comfort, to give you heart.
Now- I want to make this point and just added it before Martine pushed the blog ‘send’ button. I was sharing this concept with a table of colleagues and clients last night at dinner, and I could see them asking themselves ‘So- am I an energiser, or a depleter?’ Stop! Stay calm! We all have many, many relationships that neither deplete or energise to any great extent- they are just healthy, strong, caring, genuine relationships where sometimes they lift, sometimes they just are, and no big deal. And we can all be energising and depleting ourselves- it changes and shifts. So be it. What I am focusing on here are the extremes. Consistent depleters. Consistent, special energisers.
Are You An Energiser or A Depleter?
Last question. It’s only fair to think about yourself, and the impact you have on others. Are you an extreme- are you energising? Are you depleting? I reckon it’s fine to be both from time to time…. sometimes we need to take, sometimes give. Are we giving the best of ourselves to those who need us, and are we being fair with those we are taking from.
Have to say I added this last section just because I felt I needed to. But it’s not authentic right now. Rather, I am very focused about who gives ME heart. I have scrolled through my phone address book…. Got to a list of about 20, thought hard, got it to a real list of about 12 people. The youngest is 11. The oldest 85. I like that.
Now- I reckon I am a lucky guy. First- to have 12 people or so who give me heart. But most of all, for having actually worked out who the hell they are right now.
They’ll be seeing more of me, that’s for sure. I need to take a little.
So- who gives you heart? Really- are you sure? Who? And- are you seeing enough of them?