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Caldwell: Energy flows where attention goes

The worst winter of the century with record-breaking snowfall and ice, slush, salt everywhere. Will spring ever get here? 

For the past couple of months, the conversation around the water cooler has been focused on the brutal winter and never-ending doom and gloom weather conditions. The misery index has been at its highest levels in spite of the fact that there are truly four seasons here in Illinois: winter, more winter, still winter and construction. So why put your energy into wishing it was different? Despite the frigid conditions outside, you can turn up the heat and get the energy flowing to the success you want.

Mark Twain once observed that “everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything about it.” Reinhold Niebuhr prayed for “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

In your business, which are you going to be? The inert complainer or the courageous change engine? Consider taking action on the following strategies to increase your energy and positive results.

• Take an energy audit: Divert your attention and energy from the things you can’t control such as the weather, the stock market, the global economy and invest your valuable energy and resources on the things you can control. Ultimately, you can only control yourself and the actions you take to live an energetic life full of joy. When you do this, you will inspire and influence other people in your organization by modeling leadership, passion, integrity and commitment.  

Albert Camus wrote that “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.” With this mindset, you can use this valuable “energy renewal/hibernation time” to plant your spring seedlings and focus on a bountiful growing and harvesting season. 

• Recharge your energy reserves: How well charged are your personal and professional reserves? What about your leadership team? Do you have enough reserve battery power to operate at peak performance? If not, take the time to renew and recharge yourself. Take a day off and get out of the office to think about where you have been effective and not effective.

Revitalize your vision and dedication to yourself, your family and your business. Commit to exercising and moving daily, enjoying restorative sleep and reflection time and eating nutrient-rich foods. Become a high-energy, purpose-driven leader by prioritizing your health and vitality. It’s the best investment you will ever make.

• Get back to the basics: If you are overextended in any area of your life, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. You can’t be everything to everyone and still be effective. Create a balance sheet with a list of your personal and professional assets and liabilities and determine your return on investment and return on energy. Now is the time to make the tough decisions about the people, places and activities that are draining you. You can’t afford to have any energy zappers in your life.

• Share your plans: Be bold and share where you are prioritizing your energy and attention. Ask for help from trusted colleagues and advisors to implement your ideas. By sharing your plans, you will inspire others to take energetic and focused action toward a successful 2014 and beyond.

• Kathleen Caldwell is president of Caldwell Consulting Group and the founder of the WHEE Institute (Wealthy, Healthy, Energetic Edge) of Woodstock. Reach her at, or 815-206-4014.

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