Energizers, De-energizers and Capacity

Over the last week, I’ve been doing my “prior year review”, as I mentioned in my email on Friday. What a clarifying exercise it has been! In no particular order, I will start with some of the insights I’ve gleaned. Maybe the most important was this: My energizers far outweigh my de-energizers. Yes, I had moments in 2023 that were “downers”. But there were many, many more moments that filled me up. And even the “bad” things that happened had poignant moments and opportunities for deeper connections.

Speaking of connection, one of the greatest generators of insight for me was preparing for my speech at the Journey On Podcast Summit. I took the idea of sharing one clear idea to heart and spent months trying out different angles on myself and others, in both practice and in talking about it. My phone has well over one hundred voice memos and as many written notes in it, as I tried different approaches, seeking the signal over the noise. Ironically, the message of my speech boiled down to exactly that: how can we find the signal over the noise, which creates interference and prevents us from connecting?

I’ve discovered that this idea has infinite depth, especially around dealing with the pressures and difficulties in life. A couple of weeks ago, Tim Ferriss posted a short clip in his newsletter of Michael Caine describing how to “use the difficulty” in both acting and in life. It got me thinking about how often I have avoided doing things simply in order to avoid the difficulties those things might bring. Avoidance is certainly one way of approaching life. Yet, when I was learning to fly, the instructor constantly GAVE me difficulties to solve. Engine out? No problem, follow the checklist and find a place to land. For locals, that’s exactly what the pilot that landed his plane on I-26 last month did, and he and a passenger walked away. If you listen to him talking to the traffic controllers on the radio, his matter-of-fact language sounds like he’s doing a normal landing. His ability to stay present with the difficulty gave him the wherewithal to get a good outcome. Airplanes avoid most difficulties while parked on the ground. But airplanes were made to fly, so it’s best to learn to deal with the difficulties. The parallel carries across many domains.

My podcast guests offered tons of insight as well. In fact, I could sum up some of those lessons as seeking the things that energize us and avoiding the things that de-energize us. If we need more energy, we almost certainly must start with our sleep. Anne Bartolucci’s podcast titled “Let Go of Perfectionism and Sleep Better” was chock full of useful tidbits. Julie Rains episode on “The Essentials of Growing Wealth” compared gardening to growing our money. Think about it – another great way to energize us is to recognize that we can only reap what we sow. Tiny steps can eventually make a big difference. Speaking of people who don’t avoid difficulty: Check out the episode with Cathy Woods titled “The Practical Application of Yoga.” Cathy spent years trailering her horse into the wilderness of Western North Carolina because she was confident in her ability to handle the difficulties that would inevitably arise. Stevie Delahunt, in her episode titled “She Calls Them Spicy Memories” has the same point of view, and that’s a good thing, as Stevie tackles the most difficult horse races on the planet. In our episode titled “Getting Out of the Cycle of Beating Ourselves Up,” Hannah Pasquinzo and I acknowledged that we only make things worse – ie deenergize ourselves – when we are self-critical, even though it’s a well-intentioned strategy for making ourselves do better. Being judgmental also de-energizes us, but if I’m not mindful, being judgy is my favorite sporting event. Judith Manriquez has an interesting take on the distinction between intuition and judgment on her episode titled “Dancing with the Essence of the Moment.” Anna Twinney, in her episode titled “A Voice for the Voiceless” put her finger squarely on another de-energizer, which is incongruence, or what happens when our mind says one thing and our body says another. One of the more interesting conversations I had this year was a LIVE podcast, with my daughter Jen, Christine Dickson and her daughter Laura Martinson. This one got real, and it’s full of gems on what can happen between mothers and daughters, especially around healing the difficult bits.

As for gleaning lessons from my podcast guests, I could go on and on. In fact, I hesitate to share only a few as I have done, because there is so much wisdom in every podcast. If you are looking for a quick way to home in on the wisdom shared, you can always go to the show notes of each podcast, on my website at www.lynncarnes.com.

My podcast conversations fell squarely in the “energizing” column of my review. Every time I question whether it’s worth it to keep doing the podcast – which is celebrating its 3-year anniversary this month – I get a clear answer: YES! I would like to generously tell you that it’s for you – my audience. But I have to admit something. I do it for me and my guest. We create a 2-hour space of time to dive in and follow the flow. Your part is to be an eavesdropper. This week, I was listening to Rick Rubin on Andrew Huberman’s podcast. His advice on creative acts was this: when you are doing it, treat it like a diary entry, where the truth matters to you. Once it's done, you can think about where it can go. For the most part, that’s how I treat the podcast, because doing it this way energizes me. And the conversations end up being worth sharing. So please keep sending those guest suggestions to me, because the podcast will continue for the next year. By the way, per my podcast distributor Buzzsprout, Creative Spirits Unleashed was in the top 25% of all podcasts by downloads in 2023, and was heard in 35 countries!

As for me, what is my intention for 2024? What I realized about 2023 is that I’ve built more internal capacity over the year. The more I’ve interrogated my assumptions and beliefs, the more pressure I’ve discovered I can handle. I like it, because it’s expanded my life. So that’s what I’m going to continue doing.

I would love to hear what you found in your prior year review, what your intentions are for 2024 and just to hear how you are doing!