I think I've always strived to take ownership of things in my life; mistakes, bad decisions, wrongful accusations...you name it. These are all about taking ownership of my actions. They're about the times I made mistakes and owned up. Or when I misjudged someone. Or when I made a wrong choice.
What I've come to realize lately is there's another way to look at taking ownership. It's obvious, but I honestly think I've overlooked it for a long time. It's taking ownership of my energy.
I look at energy in different ways. I have an endless supply on some days. On others, I struggle to get out of bed. I have a great workout at the gym, or force my way through the final 5 minutes of cardio. The workday flies by or I am dragging myself to reach 5 o'clock.
Taking ownership of my energy has a new meaning for me lately. It's not only the energy required to accomplish the things I listed. It's the energy-zapping things I surround myself with and how I’m taking back ownership of them.
Energy zappers and how I'm taking ownership
Social activities I say Yes to
I'm less casual about saying yes to social invitations. I think twice about what else I might have going on around the same time that needs my attention. Overloading the calendar is a no-no. Friends will understand if I say I've got too much going on at that time to take on another activity.
Responsibilities I take on that I don't have to
Proving I'm reliable has made me a target for taking on added responsibilities too quickly. I've been too quick to volunteer because I know I can get it done. Or I've stepped in to help because I can. The downside to all this is extra burden and stress on my time and energy. I don't have to cut everything out, but like a garden, I need to do some weeding or nothing else will grow.
Immediate responses I give to non-emergency requests of my attention
My involvement with different groups makes me accountable to people for answers and responses to their requests. As a result, I've been quick to immediately respond to text messages, emails and other messaging pings that are non-emergency and not time sensitive. I am taking ownership of my energy in these situations by designating specific times to respond to non-emergency or time-sensitive communications. Technology lets someone ping my attention 24hrs a day, but I'm no longer going to respond immediately if I don't have to.
Placing myself around negative people
This is one energy zapper I feel I've focused on extensively over the past few years, but it's on this list as a reminder. I give people a huge benefit of a doubt if my first impressions are less than positive. That's ok, but I have to be careful not to continue that past 1 or 2 red flags and remove myself from the situation if I can. Energy is a two-way street and the give and take of it should be a positive experience for everyone involved. If I find it's not, I'm cutting ties.
Taking on projects I'm not 100% passionate about
Volunteering opportunities and personal creative projects are integral to my life as a way to stay balanced and continue to foster my creative side. The natural excitement I have for these has gotten me into overcommitment trouble at times. I've learned to keep my volunteer commitments to only 1 or 2 I can easily manage. Creative projects have a way of getting started, but not reaching a conclusion when I have too many, so I'm keeping those simple and tackling only 1 at a time.
This list could be longer, but if I’m truly going to take back ownership of the energy zappers around me, following a short list leaves adequate attention for each. As I get older, the importance of having enough energy and space for the things that matter most to me is becoming my top priority.