The Source of Energy

Often, when people express a concern about their work-life balance, the crux of their problem is that they simply don’t have the energy for all they need and want to do.  What usually happens is that they carry on meeting the demands of work, and the quality of their home life is gradually impaired.

Managing your energy is more important than time management, and yet it’s not so well understood. Some people seem to have an endless supply. They can work long hours, lead a full family life, take adventure holidays and still write books in their spare time!

What’s their secret?  What’s the source of human energy anyway? Can you generate more?

Whilst a lot is understood about energy from a scientific standpoint, the source of human energy and drive is less well understood.

Oxygen, nutrition, reasonable health, exercise and sleep all provide a basis for the body’s energy, and managing these aspects well can slightly improve our energy levels – but they don’t make a quantum difference. As with so much else in human affairs, it’s the mind where we need to look.

Inspiration, motivation, drive, belief, desire, purpose are all energy generators where the mind is concerned. When young, we’re all given a booster pack, which gives us the boundless energy of youth. When older, in the same way as we have to look after our bodies’ more, there’s a need to look after the sources of our energy.  Improving your diet in terms of food won’t do it, but improving your diet in terms of how you think just might!

It begins by thinking about and becoming clearer about your motivations, and why you do what you do.  Positive motivators in the long run give more energy. Fear and fear of loss in particular can generate energy in the short term, but it is not sustainable.  People with a sense of purpose and mission in their life are likely to have more sustainable energy than people motivated by fear of losing their job.

If you’re in senior management you may have been involved in thinking about the vision and mission of your company, but have you though sufficiently about your own?  As with company mission statements, if you phrase your own in terms of self interest alone it will be limiting. We release the highest octane energy in ourselves when we’re contributing to a greater purpose than ourselves. There’s a positive feedback loop in this as well.  Whatever your contribution to the world and the future is, if you believe in it, you will feel good about yourself and as a consequence have more energy to carry on.

To contact Nick Woodeson, please email him at