Are you an introvert or empath? Here’s how to manage your energy as an entrepreneur.
If you are a highly sensitive person — such as an introvert or empath — it is critical that you manage your energy, particularly as an entrepreneur. Here’s how.
Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) are individuals who have keen physical, mental and emotional responses to stimuli — be it internal or external. Because of this unusually high sensitivity the impact on their energy levels are significant.
Empath is a blanket term used for people who are on the extreme far end of sensitivity. Introverts too are often HSPs as they experience significant energy drains from certain types of stimuli. Though I highlight these two, you don’t necessarily have to be an introvert or empath to be a HSP.
As a fellow HSP and introvert, I’ve been self-aware about how my energy levels ebb and flow since I was a child. However, entrepreneurship has forced me to be even more conscious of how I exert myself.
That’s because running a business — especially a creative business — requires a significant amount of your personal reserves. The ups and downs, positives and negatives, force you to expend quite a bit of effort.
HSPs are already prone to overwhelm even when dealing with normal situations in life. So as a business owner it is critical that you exercise prudence and sustain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Here are five ways that I personally manage my energy and have found to be useful to many of my clients who are also HSPs. If you are a resource library member you can download the printable workbook that accompanies this article.
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The first step is to be fully aware of the types of individuals, situations, activities, environments and even thoughts, that replenish or deplete your energy.
An easy way to do this is to jot down the major themes from your wheel of life. Under each theme make two lists: the first a plus (+) list and the second a minus (-) list.
In the plus list write down things that replenish energy and in the minus list write down things that deplete energy. Feel free to get as granular as you want as the more you know about what impacts your energy the better.
Resource library members can download an energy evaluation printable from the dashboard. Additionally, below are a few examples from my evaluation so you can see how it works.
(+) Small, light, plant-based fare 1-2 times per day keeps me mentally and physically alert.
(-) Large, rich and frequent meals are too much for my body to digest leaving me sluggish.
(+) I appreciate intellectual stimulating conversations with smart, worldly, positive people.
(-) I absorb the aura from negative people which makes me feel depressed in their presence.
(+) Clean, minimal aesthetically pleasing environments give me a sense of serenity.
(-) Cluttered, unclean, poorly decorated spaces distract and agitate me.
(+) Lose organization to the day helps align specific activities with my energy levels.
(-) Tightly planned schedules restricts my creative energy and zaps the pleasure from work.
Equipped with knowledge of what impacts your energy, in the second step you can implement a set of rules that help you effectively manage it.
You can make your rules as exhaustive and extensive as you’d like, but I recommend identifying a subset from your plus and minus list that have the greatest impact (both positive and negative).
Then, using those pluses and minuses, write short declarations that act as personal guidelines for what you are willing to accept in your life and what you aren’t. I simply refer to a short list of I will and I won’t statements such as:
I will keep my environment clean and orderly.
I will only eat 1-2 nourishing meals daily.
I will follow a creative routine.
I will selectively engage with likeminded people.
I will not entertain negative people.
I will not consume things that cause lethargy.
I will not spend time in chaotic or unclean spaces.
I will not start my day without a game plan.
Now that you have a set of non-negotiable rules around what you will allow to impact your energy levels, you can think about incorporating them into your daily routine.
You don’t want energy management to deplete your energy as that would defeat the whole purpose! Instead, get to the point where you can effortlessly manage your energy without having to think twice.
The best way to do this is build good habits that protect your energy — and adhering to a routine is a great way to build good habits.
For example, in my daily routine I regularly use a process I call modularization of the day. That means I divide my day into time buckets and group like activities into each bucket. This grouping — or modularizing — works wonders at helping me effectively manage my energy.
I have a tendency to get frazzled if my day isn’t well-structured. That’s because certain activities — especially work-related such as article writing and coaching sessions — require a tremendous amount of focus and will throw me off if they are randomly strewn throughout the day with no order.
Instead, I think about how activities fit together and the amount of energy they require and group accordingly. For instance, there’s a four hour block of time I reserve for coaching sessions four days a week.
This means I only coach a limited number of clients at a time and have to keep a waitlist. I love coaching but because I connect so deeply to my clients and their goals and challenges, I have to set these limits within my routine to avoid exhaustion.
Your daily routine shouldn't be restrictive or feel like a burden. It should be realistic and serve the sole purpose of helping you effectively manage your work and other life themes so you optimize your energy levels.
Another way to be mindful of your energy is to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Self-care is a broad term for activities that improve your overall health and wellness.
I define health as what you need to survive and wellness as what you need to thrive. Going a step further: surviving is living or existing, while thriving is developing and progressing in life.
It’s not enough just to focus on preventing energy drains, you also need activities that replenish your energy so you feel mentally and physically vigorous.
Self-care has become such an impertinent part of my life as a fellow HSP, that I created a course based on a research-backed integrative framework which includes:
understanding the factors that influence your well-being
personalizing a strategy based on your unique situation
This 11-step program focuses on helping you make small lifestyle changes that yield significant improvements in your ability to survive and thrive.
A powerful method of managing how you expend energy is to leverage your life philosophy — the set of values and belief systems that help you navigate life.
For example, since energy is so intimately connected to emotions — in that your emotions are clear indicators of where you are energetically and your energy directly influences your energy — Stoicism could be a great way to stay balanced.
I use Stoicism to help make wise decisions about what's within my control and what’s not so I don't exert energy on what I can’t change.
Stoicism also enables me to elevate my thinking which regulates my mood helping me maintain an even-keeled disposition even in the midst of ups and downs.
Another philosophy I use is minimalism. To me, minimalism is less about clean design or how many items I own and more about the simplification of decision-making.
One challenge HSPs often face is using up their personal reserves on non-essential things. Minimalism helps you have awareness, clarity and focus so you become inept at expending youe energy on what actually matters to you.
Take inspired action
As an HSP use this article as just a starting point to answering the important daily question: how can I manage my energy so it works for not against me? For advanced resources related to this article access my members-only resource library or attend my complimentary masterclass.