How do I stop people draining my energy?
So many ask me about how we can maximise our own energy and in particular how we stop people other people or situations from draining our own. We often feel we are surrounded by people who drain our energy, who constantly look for approval, feedback, support or inspiration.
In this short article we will look at what we can do to deal with the challenge of working or living with people draining our energy and how to protect ourselves from it
Make it real
We often hear people say “well it doesn’t happen too often “or I don’t really mind “ maybe because we are afraid to say how we truly feel. We should acknowledge and honour how these behaviours make us feel. If we don’t we belittle ourselves and that serves no one.
It is always an interesting exercise to equate this to something tangible such as money. So when the person who interrupts or takes “5” minutes 5 times a day walks in picture them asking for €5 or €50. Would you give them that every day or do they repay that in other ways such as performance, sales opportunities, problem solving. If so it may be a fair trade off. If not there is an issue here to be addressed. How is the balance really expressed in the relationship? Are you or they in debt to the other, is this a short term situation or reflects a longer term trend, is the other looking to continue relying in you or develop their own skill sets whether practical or behavioural?
This is one way of seeing how this relationship is impacting on you positively or negatively.
We understand that we often invite people (consciously or subconsciously) into our lives to help us to learn and grow. How often have we said or heard others say “why always me?”, “why do I attract the needy team member, the insecure friend, the difficult employee?” Often we attract them precisely because we want to learn how to deal with them or that aspect of them.
So as a first step we should look to recognize these patterns. We can do this by looking at the relationships we have with people, where the energy is generated and how it flows; we can start to identify those things that annoy us and track who is doing them, or, indeed, how many people are doing them. Often we need to use some tools to help us look at what is around us, to help us see these patterns. This can take time and, too often, people tell me they are too busy. For me, this is an excuse we often use when we know we may not want to see the answer.
We can work with coaches or other advisors (rarely family and friends!) who can help us see these patterns. The time spent on this will help in two ways. The perspective will allow us to externalize this issue by seeing what is really happening and why and so we need not be consumed by it. It also allows us to see we have real power to deal with the situations as we look at our own behaviours and role in them.
When we do take the time to see the patterns we then need to look at our own behaviour. We should look at two things.
Firstly, we should look to understand how much of others’ behaviour are we inviting in, how are our actions enabling this behaviour? Do we allow people to interrupt us or impose deadlines they know to be unreasonable? When we look at the actions and activity we can ask the most important questions…What is it that the other person is really asking from us? When we answer that question we can then look to break the pattern. For example, often we are being asked for validation or emotional support, or we are put under pressure so the other person can exert power. When we understand where they are coming from we can act whether that may be building confidence in that individual or developing mechanisms to protect our own boundaries.
Secondly, we need to understand what lesson are we trying to learn? When we see what the other person is really looking for we can understand our own involvement and the learning that is available for us. Is it an opportunity to learn how to develop people or to see how we feel insecure ourselves and deal with that? If the other person is looking to exert power are we trying to learn how to be more forceful ourselves or are we looking at realizing how often we ourselves create situations to exert power over rather than power to ( are we seeing the mirror image of our own behaviours?) When we recognize the lesson that is available for us and look to learn from it we start to notice the situations arise less often. There is simply less need for them to be there.
For details on the ideas or exercises discussed here please join us on
Or check out this upcoming Workshop – Fulfill Your Potential