Originally published at Entrepreneur Magazine
It takes both partners to maintain a relationship’s life-force. It’s easy to keep things vibrant when it’s still early days but as the relationship matures, we tend to become less conscious and more sluggish allowing the vital element of creativity, to become a thing of the past.
Energising relationships are inherently creative. Rather than being black and white or dull and boring, they’re colourful, flavourful and interesting. But after a long day at work, how do we find the capacity to participate, initiate and stimulate? The idea of vegging in front of the TV might seem far more attractive.
Indeed, being slothful is appealing and appropriate at times, but if you’re not mindful, this approach can result in relationship neglect. Whilst 360’s are common HR workplace tools
in corporate business, it’s not so common for entrepreneurs to take a holistic view of themselves or to take stock of their energy reserves and the state of their relationships with family and friends.
If your relationship needs tending, Stephen Covey’s Law of the Farm is worth considering. The Law of the Farm is at the other end of the continuum of the Law of the School. The latter is used in business and hinges around power and control. But it doesn’t work well at home. In fact, if power plays form the game-plan in your relationship (or farm), it’s likely to look barren and forlorn with trust being fast eroded.
In contrast, the Law of the Farm is about sowing and reaping and invites you to view yourself as a farmer who delays gratification and cultivates consciously, growing the relationship and claiming responsibility for the state of the resultant harvest.
This means if your harvest reaps a partner who is resentful and withdrawn, you’d be asking yourself what you might have sown to cause that. Then you’d ask yourself what seeds need planting to change your landscape.
Harvesting a Relationship
Life force is drained by the energy greedy: Demanding people, chaotic events, endless traffic, deadlines, cellphones, stressful confrontations, gossip, negativity, moodiness, nagging uncertainty, anxiety, worry, mistrust, guilt, chores, financial obligations and the myriad defeating thoughts that plague us.
Load these energy sappers on the shoulders of the usually self-reliant, resilient and high voltage entrepreneur who typically neglects to refuel and you’ll see the lights go out in multiple places.
12 Measurable Energy Cues in a Relationship include:
- Your levels of enthusiasm for one another
- Your ability to connect physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
- The twinkle in your eye messaging joy and recognition when you see one another
- The attention you pay to each other’s stories
- The quality time you invest in the relationship
- Your level of proactivity
- Your efforts to cultivate romance and adventure
- Your ability to be truly present
- The amount of laughter you share
- Your efforts in getting energy sappers out the way
- The warmth and frequency of your embrace
- The depth of your listening.
Energy in every relationship needs maintenance and monitoring. Because once we’ve reached burn-out stage and the relationship has run out of steam, it’s likely that energy-sapping resentment, blame and regret has filled the precious spaces where energy-producing enthusiasm once lived.
Keep Energy in Reserve
So how do we get the energy back in relationships? Reduce what’s sapping you.
Do an audit of all that saps your relationship’s energy. To help you identify these parasites, draw up categories:
Energy Sapping Thoughts, Energy Sapping Feelings and Energy Sapping Behaviour and Activities (include consuming foods that sap you).
Energy Sapping People, Energy Sapping Topics & Conversations, Energy Sapping Events, Energy Sapping Circumstances.
Now do the same for Energisers in the above categories.
Review 1 and 2 above and attribute the amount of time you spend in giving energy and gaining energy.
3. Put on your creative hat and recall what used to energise you or something new that you’re curious about, like dancing, playing games, sport, laughing, sharing, connecting, trying new things, visiting places and people, making love, discussing certain topics, taking risks and so on. Identify which energy sappers you’re going to avoid or give up and identify what energising replacements you desire.
4. Taking only the factors within your control, ask yourself what you need to do and what you will change to ensure that the batteries of your relationship can be and are re-charged.
Your personal energy and the energy you co-create in a relationship has a unique rhythm, flow and voltage which impacts not only you, but the people around you and your business. Uniting with someone who can charge your inner battery, and you theirs, speaks to the tremendous complimentary potential of this reserve.
Learning to tap into your partner on an energetic level will have you hearing their unspoken messages – you’ll be listening to their soul, tapping into their life force and connecting with their subtle nervous system.
If we aren’t vigilant, toxic thoughts and people will deplete our vitality. In the same way the world calls on us to be responsible for our planet’s energy reserves and the footprint we leave behind, so too must we consider how we protect and nurture the energy within ourselves and in our relationships. Relationships are living entities comprising living beings and if there’s no energy left, the lights will simply go out.