Are you aware of your catabolic & anabolic energy? A self-awareness lesson: It’s more than science!

Publication 14, Issue 9

Many of us leave the house in the morning basically happy, positive and looking forward to what the day may bring.  Then we commit to the access ramp of a major roadway and confront a sea of vehicles going nowhere.  Suddenly our mood shifts:  we’re going to be late for work and the schedule that seemed so rational is headed to the waste bin.  The whole day could go down the tubes-that quickly!

That’s catabolic and anabolic energy at work!  The catabolic energy is the destructive, emotionally disconnected, working in crisis mode, control-freak energy; and the anabolic is the collaborative, encouraging, team-oriented and engaging energy.  Most of us shift in and out of catabolic and anabolic energy throughout the day.  But if a manager is overwhelmed with catabolic energy for hours, it makes it a long day, for everyone!

I’m not asking you always to be anabolic.  That’s kind of impossible in this day and age with all the traffic, tragedy and drama in our lives; but what I do ask of my coaching clients is to be aware of which energy they are using throughout the day.  If they find themselves using catabolic energy, they need to find a coping mechanism to become more anabolic.  Activities such as taking a walk or a break of some kind; taking a quick look at social media to catch up with friends and family; or perhaps locking yourself in your office for 30 minutes for some quiet time, with the excuse that you are working on a deadline.  Whatever works for you-figure it out and do it!

If we get caught in the depths of catabolic energy, our monsters could appear.  That’s no way to live:

Peacemakers become Avoiders to protect themselves. They’ll try to accommodate all requests and begin to get nothing done or make mistakes.  As managers they could be accused of encouraging mediocrity and start to over-personalize things!

Organizers become Micromanagers to protect the process. They won’t want to make exceptions to the process or the project.   As managers they’ll ask a million questions, which in turn will create mistrust and, believe it or not, they could become even more structured!

Revolutionaries become Yellers to protect someone else. They’ll bend the rules regardless of the consequences.  As managers they become “fire drill coordinators” and bark out orders!

Steamrollers become Dismissers to protect their reputations. As managers they’ll take requests under advisement, but not necessarily do anything with them. They could be accused of not caring and being abrupt!

Scary!  These monsters should not define us as managers, but they will if we live in our catabolic energy!  We need to find that healthy balance. I challenge you to figure out your coping mechanisms-which I know could sound psycho-babble-ish.  What works for someone else might not work for you.  Spend a few minutes every day learning how to be aware of which energy you’re applying.   If it’s catabolic energy, learn how you can overcome it and shift to a more positive frame of mind-your anabolic self.  It’s another game-changer in your communication style!  Let me know how you are doing!

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