I have just finished interviewing the energetic and inspiring Simon Alexander Ong, celebrated and award-winning life coach and I have a smile plastered on my face.
‘Energy is contagious,’ he explains. ‘If you have watched the Star Wars films you will probably refer to energy as The Force or if you practice yoga, you call it prana, or if you are from my Chinese culture, you call it chi and it can spread rapidly to infect all areas of your life and those that come into close contact with you, regardless of whether energy is positive or negative.
‘It has the potential to create ripples of inspiration or tidal waves of chaos. Think of energy as a form of power that we need to live and to thrive.’
Later I find myself sketching out a new business idea and creating a mind map of how to make it happen. I feel energised and focused. I have been ‘infected’ by Simon’s energy. He would be delighted. His newly published book Energize: Make The Most of Every Moment coaches us how to harness our natural energy so we can make the most of our lives.
‘When we surround ourselves with the right people, manage our energy versus our time, focus on filling our tanks versus draining them, we become ‘unstoppable,’ he says.
Here we talk to Simon about how to master our energy so we can thrive.
What is the secret to happiness?
The secret to happiness is understanding who we are, what makes us feel alive, and doing something that is aligned to the gifts that we were born with.
Unfortunately, we tend to give up happiness for definitions that are determined by other people.
There’s a big difference between success and fulfilment. We can look successful on the outside, whether that is a nice house, a nice car, the pay check, the status, but we might feel pain inside because we’re not fulfilled.
How is energy connected to happiness?
Energy comes in four dimensions: the physical, the mental, emotional, and spiritual.
When we address our energy, physical is always the first thing that we that we start with. When we’re not feeling particularly high in energy, we often say get more rest, move your body, eat better. That’s the obvious place to start.
But that doesn’t automatically make you happy. Because unless we are also addressing the mental, the emotional and the spiritual energy, then we’re actually missing a big piece of the puzzle.
How do we do put all bits of the puzzle together?
Energy is this universal language that communicates without words yet is still understood and felt by all – it knows when you’re walking down the wrong path, when you’re in a toxic relationship or when you’re betraying your core values.
And while it’s invisible, like the Force in Star Wars, it speaks what our words so often struggle to convey through emotion; after all, emotions are nothing more than energy in motion.
Your energy is everything: it is the fuel that drives real success (the success that fulfils you) and gives you the power to achieve your potential. How can you be your best self if you’re always tired, stressed and burned out?
Why is managing our energy important when we are changing our lives?
When you are feeling energized, you become the chief architect of your future and there’s nothing that you feel you can’t overcome. We see ourselves as unstoppable, and this activates our ability to perform effortless acts of alchemy – turning the invisible into the visible and the impossible into the possible.
Once we understand how to awaken, nurture and protect this energetic force, it will breathe life into what we feel is possible to accomplish during our time here on earth.
When we lack energy, we make poor decisions, easily get frustrated over the smallest of things and operate significantly below our potential. While this isn’t an ideal scenario, it’s the unfortunate reality for so many of us.
The ability to master your energy is key to self-mastery – it’s a powerful force and the better you are at managing it, the greater the impact on the way you live and work. It’s a truth that the world’s most successful people understand.
You weren’t born into this world to just pay bills, scroll through social media, reply to endless emails, watch TV and then die.
How do you manage your energy?
Your focus must shift from time management to energy management. Monitor and track your energy in the same way you already try to manage your time.
To live in energetic flow is to be connected to your true self with a focus on living a life of purpose and meaning. It’s an essential skill to master if you are serious about realizing your potential, because your best work can only flow from concentrating your attention on the things that matter to you.
But it’s so easy to get distracted…
You weren’t born into this world to just pay bills, scroll through social media, reply to endless emails, watch TV and then die. You were born with unique talents and gifts. And it’s the greatest adventure of life to discover what these are and how you can share these with the world.
I have lots of ideas but often don’t follow through.
Enthusiasm, ideas and talk are common; commitment, execution and consistency are rare.
The trap that most people fall into is this idea that we have to have it all figured out and we must’ve reached this mythical point of readiness before we can take that first step forward.
Don’t be like most people. Rid your mind of this thinking, because nobody really has it all figured out. Everyone is figuring it out as they go along, just like you.
Action is the path that gets you from ambiguity to clarity, and there’s nothing quite like being reminded of just how short life is to spur you into taking action.
How do you start?
The bolder your vision, the bigger the goals you will have, and this can be scary and exciting at the same time.
How you approach this, however, will be the difference between procrastination and progress. And nothing kills progress faster than indecision.
To avoid the overwhelm that can be experienced when pursuing big goals, the key is to break them down into smaller steps and tiny bite-size actions so that the path ahead doesn’t feel as daunting.
Start where you are, get some small wins under your belt, and it will give you the energy to continue moving forward.
How do you keep going?
Success in any endeavour is a slow, gradual process that ultimately rewards those who can consistently follow the path and do the work that the majority are simply not willing to do. It isn’t particularly sexy or glamorous. Dig deeper into nearly every ‘overnight success story’ and you will discover years of hard work, sacrifices and persistence.
And it’s this ability to live each day with intention that will be one of the most valuable traits you can develop, because extraordinary achievement is always preceded by extraordinary consistency.
Falling in love with starting is very easy; falling in love with the work itself, the process and the journey, however, is hard.
Success isn’t a random act, and people don’t rise from nothing. Too many of us pray for colossal changes and results today, but fail to appreciate that if what you desire is really important, you will enjoy the climb as much as the view at the summit.
Successful outcomes are rarely the result of a single choice but are built up through good choices over time.
How do you know that you’re on the right track?
Reflect on the following:
How do we know we are going in the right direction?
None of us know for sure what lies ahead and whether we will succeed, but the moment we decide to act, the next step towards realizing our vision is revealed. And that next step is all you need to see in order to take action.
You don’t get to see the entire map at the start, it appears as you set off into the magic of the unknown.
As an entrepreneur friend of mine once said to me, ‘When everything is unknown, brother, anything is possible’. If you want greater clarity, you must keep moving forward.
There’s a big difference between success and fulfilment
What can we do to boost our energy?
Think of someone that you can be grateful for. It could be a partner or a family friend or colleague, whoever it is. And then write down why you chose them. What was it that they have done for you specifically that makes you so grateful for them? Or what would life be they simply weren’t there?
And then pick up the phone and call that person and tell them exactly what you wrote down in step two. If you’re not comfortable calling someone and telling them that, then leave a voice note or voicemail so they can hear what you’ve read. It’s important to hear your voice because that’s what carries energy.
Studies have shown this experiment will have a powerful impact on your mood and energy. The other simple way to boost your energy is move your body.
Yes, ask yourself every day: ‘how do I want to feel today?’ If you want to feel happy, then move your body. Even if it’s light exercise, you get the blood pumping in your system and your mindset and state changes instantly.
You may not want to do a workout at the beginning of the day, but you will never regret doing it.
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Sometimes I feel too tired to exercise because there’s just too much to do.
I notice that many of us are exhausted not because we are doing too much but we’re doing too little of the things that bring us joy. It doesn’t energise us spiritually. Because we’re often running someone else’s race – we’re on this hamster wheel of someone else’s making.
But how do we get off the hamster wheel?
You start by understanding how you can maintain focus on what is important in today’s distracted world.
If you were able to focus on what was most important in six months, we would make far more progress than many would in years or even decades.
But the one thing we can do immediately is to focus more on ourselves, and on understanding ourselves so we can improve our own lives, rather than getting caught up with all the distractions.
Energize: Make The Most of Every Moment (Penguin, £14.99) by Simon Alexander Ong is out now
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