The Surprising Truth about What Energizes Us

Human energy is the fuel that helps organizations run successfully, but what actually energizes us at work?


Dr. Ashley asked Ted and Steve, “How do you feel at work most often?”

Ted: “I feel eager and enthusiastic! I’m positively aroused and challenged.

Steve: ” I feel tire, overwhelmed, sluggish and exhausted.


Ted sets a goal and starts working towards it. Steve, starts re-organizing and makes a big deal out of setting a goal. He is procrastinating.

Ted reflects on why he is doing what he is doing. He thinks, “It has meaning to me and others.” “It supports my values.” “I enjoy what I’m doing.”

Steve is distracted. He is too busy doing little things that can wait.


When faced with a problem, Ted asks. “What can I learn from this?” “What do I need to learn to improve this?”

Ted worries. Instead of working on a plan to meet his goals he frets over what might happen instead of living in the moment.

When it comes to collaborating with others, Ted is looking for a team member that he can help.

Steve, uses this time to vent. He vents his frustrations to his team members. This will cause others to not want to work with him.

When it comes to helping others, Ted has already paid attention and listened to what others are needing.

Steve on the other hand, asks, “How can I help?” That causes the person that needs help to have to figure out what Steve can do. And remember, the team member already knows that Steve vents his frustration, so he probably won’t be given a task to help.

How people choose to manage their energy at work has a surprising impact. 



More goals, less reorganizing.

Setting a new goal and chasing it down, even if it is a small goal, will energize you more than reorganizing your to-do list.

I find having a to-do list gives me energy. I gives me small goals that I need to accomplish during the day. – Brenda Mueller

More learning, less worry.

Under stress, people thrive by focusing on learning, not worrying about failing, what they might miss, or even winning.

Employers need to have a robust training program or resource for employees to expand their skills. – Brenda Mueller

More collaborating, less venting.

Everyone needs to vent, but don’t do it at work. Energy at work comes from connecting and working with others.

Don’t be the person that people want to turn away from. Be the person that others want to be around and to collaborate with.  – Brenda Mueller

More meaning, less distraction.

Reflecting on what gives you joy and meaning at work will energize you more than taking a break from work.

What is your favorite part of your job? What aspect of your job gets you out of bed in the morning? Focus on those things. If there are parts of the job that don’t give you energy, how can you turn it around? – Brenda Mueller





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