And… it was intense. Overwhelming. Beautiful. In some ways, it was too much for me.
We had 90-minute modules that were jam-packed with information I wanted. We shared stories with our neighbors and shared our insights on breaks. We had assignments over lunch with colleagues and homework at the end of the (very late) evening. Seriously, there was so much goodness to take in and relish.
And yet, by dinnertime on day two, I was absolutely full. Saturated. I felt myself going numb. I even noticed myself losing confidence, wondering if I was cut out for this because everyone else seemed so thrilled to do more and more and more. We still had a whole module left after dinner that evening and, although I really wanted this information and the connection with these beautiful souls, I was dreading this evening session.
Then I remembered – I'm an introvert.
And I hadn't given myself the time to refill my core energy vessel.
As soon as I realized this, I knew there was nothing else to do but go away and get myself filled up. I could push through (goodness knows I know how to push through – I'm a master of persistence on these kinds of things) but it would only make things worse. And truthfully, I wouldn't be showing up in my own greatness in this kind of shape.
So I quietly left the conference room and took the elevator to my room.
I peeled off my fancy clothes and slid into a pair of crop pants, a t-shirt and flip flops. I jumped into my rented Chrysler and drove 50 minutes to the nearest beach. My soul lifted with every mile.
Except for a sandpiper and its babies and a thousand shells dancing in the shallow waves across the sand, I was alone. It was sunset. My toes curled into the wet sand and I walked and sat and breathed in the salt air until I thought I'd pass out from bliss.
I spent about 30 minutes at the beach sitting and walking and picking up sea shells to bring home to my daughters, then I drove the 50 minutes back to my hotel.
If you could measure my insides, you would see that in those 30 minutes I went from a cracking dry energy vessel to a glistening vase of crystal clear energetic fuel.
I spent the next day absolutely giddy with engagement and focus.
I enjoyed insights, beautiful conversations and made connections with ease. All day I kept thinking to myself, “I am so happy I listened to and honored my energetic needs!”
I write this to you with the hope that you will do the same, next time your insides are calling to you to replenish your energetic vessel.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert – or you don't identify with those terms at all, your energy is the foundation of your beautiful work in the world.
Please listen inside and honor what you need to keep your energetic vessel shiny full. For you it might mean a night of dancing and easy conversation after a day of intense listening and thinking. We've each got our own ways of filling back up. The key is that you listen to what you need to care for your energy and you respond accordingly, no matter what.
If you're like me, you might be tempted to feel guilty about skipping out on part of the training or missing the evening networking event. But here's what I know from my experience this past week (and the many other times I've made a contrarian decision that honored my personal energy needs):
You will get way more out of the whole experience if you take care of your energy.
When I got back to my training conference, I was more engaged and focused than I would have ever imagined. I met exactly the right people that evening, began conversations that are still going on even now that I'm back home and I experienced insights and breakthroughs I could not imagine the day before when I was too saturated to think straight.
This experience was so powerful for me. I want to empower you to manage your own energy at your next event.
Here are four simple steps to help you take really good care of your own energy:
1. Inquire Within Ahead of Time to Get a Baseline. Before you even head out to the event, begin noticing how your energy system works. What types of activities fill you up energetically – and what types tend to drain your energy. Important to note: just because something doesn't fill you up, doesn't mean you don't love it. I love being with people, dancing, deep conversation. My life is far more exciting and beautiful when I've got a bunch of those things going on. However, these activities do not fill me up. I fill up when I am by myself (a classic introvert characteristic). What about you? What activities give you energy and what activities use up energy that you need to replenish in other ways? Make a list and bring it with you to your event for reference.
2. Check In As You Go. As you go about your engagement at the event, quietly check in with yourself. Two ways you can check in on energy are:
- Your self-talk: if you notice yourself thinking things like, “Oh, wow – I am getting so tired.” or “Jeez, this is such great stuff! Why am I having so much trouble taking it all in?”, then you may need a little energy fill-up break.
- Your physical energy: If you notice you are struggling to keep your back straight, your eyes are drying out or you are slouching in your chair, it's time for an energy fill-up.
3. Honor Your Energetic State with Appropriate Action. This one is simple, though sometimes hard to get ourselves to do. When you notice that your energy is depleting and you cannot re-engage with the content or the people in a way that feels fabulous to you, do whatever it takes to replenish. Maybe this means a brisk walk with someone else that has also mentioned being depleted or over-saturated (you might shock them with your idea to leave the event, but they will thank you later if they join you!). Or, like me with the beach, you might want to leap into the car and give yourself the gift of your most replenishing place on earth in complete solitude. Really, just do exactly what is necessary to rehydrate that vessel of yours with beautiful, vibrant energy.
4. Step Back In with Gratitude and Focus. I will admit that I can get sidetracked by the bliss of a getaway. Even at an event as truly excellent as the one I just attended, the call of an extended vacation at the beach was enticing. But I was fully committed to using this replenishment to serve my greater goal of making the most of my training and connecting at this conference. I knew there was so much more for me to take in and I had lovely human beings to get to know and deepen my relationship with. I didn't want to miss out on that. Get back to your event with gratitude for your commitment to self-care and the newfound levity and focus you will carry with you. Make the most of the rest of your time there. And smile kindly at others who may not have thought to give themselves the break they needed. Just maybe you can provide a moment of peace for them, carried back from your own lovingkindness break.
I hope this simple four-part plan serves you with peace and focus at your next event. I know that writing it out for myself will allow me to use it even earlier next time, so I'm grateful for that. Thank you for being here to inspire this writing.
Now, I'd love to know from you – do you have special ways that you care for and manage your energy at events? I'd sure love to add more ideas to my own toolkit, as I'm sure would others here. Please share in the comments.