When you meet someone charismatic, knowledgeable, attentive, interesting, generous, it’s always a pleasure to be in the company of this person, isn’t it? It is true in professional settings, at parties, and even during random interactions.Campfire

The draw is unmistakable: you want to look up, to listen up, and to stand closer.

You feel energized by the encounter, and moreover, you yourself feel more interesting as a result of this interaction.

What exactly does this person bring to the exchange that makes the experience so invigorating? Is it just charm? Is it really expertise? The looks, maybe? Sense of humor? What’s your best guess?

If you peer group is made up of people in their mid-thirties and older, and if they are anything like you, most of them are highly intelligent, funny, charming.

Yet, there is one who stands apart as most engaging. Why?

Energy. This unmistakably attractive person has energy. This person has enough energy to deliver a spark, light and warmth, like a campfire. He gives off enough energy to fuel to those around him, in contrast to people who always feel drained, and demand energy from others. He (or she, of course) has energy to talk, to listen, to share, to take in, and to ignite.

(When I say “the person has energy”, I mean “the person feels full of life”. You can almost visibly perceive the person’s light being turned on inside. I am not referring to the coffee-fueled mechanical energy of the Energizer bunny, and not to the esoteric “positive aura”.)

Abundant personal energy is so attractive because it’s so rare in mid-adulthood, as many of us are simply chronically tired. And it shows, even if we show up and do what we have to do.

The better you are, the more overwhelming life can become, because a) you want to do more when you’re at the top of your game, and b) more is expected of you because you’re so good.

Your children (and often parents) needs and want your help and attention. You want to be involved in their lives and to give of yourself.

You still want to make a big push in your career; you’ve already achieved a lot, but you can still have more impact.

You want to give your attention to your good friends. You probably have fewer close friends than you did when you were in your early 20’s, and now it takes more time and energy to maintain the quality and the depth of the friendships you’ve kept.

Plus, you want to keep up with the news in the world, updates in your professional field, to read and watch things for pleasure, to keep up with your social and professional networks.

Oh, did I mention romance and intimacy? To feel treasured and connected, you probably invest time and energy to either keep up or create that unique connection.

This may all be exciting and fulfilling, but …you are spent. Your energy is drained. And often, it shows.

We show up, because we are excellent, and because we are responsible, but showing up doesn’t always mean that we bring energy. Technically, bringing energy is not a requirement.

If you want to be unmistakably attractive, to wow, to charm, to deliver happiness, you must bring energy.

Beam with it, share it, give out your warmth and light. You will be a welcomed, refreshing change at any gathering.

I hear a million dollar question (courtesy young professionals who manage successful careers and being involved parents to kids under the age of 7): “Where, oh, where to get this extra energy?!!!!” Here: evaluate whether your personal energy battery is full or empty, and make time to recharge it when empty, above all else.

There is no other secret or magic– you must give yourself time to refuel, if you want to stand out and to up your game, if you want to show up 150% for your kids and career.

Needing time to recharge, and giving yourself this time without guilt and regret is one of the greatest challenges of mid-adulthood.

Let’s do it anyway, though, so that we can recognize each other in tired, dusty crowds by the warmth and light emanating from us.

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NEW programs: Executive Development +Intuitive InsightLearn more here.  

PrintNEW developments: I’ll be teaching a custom-designed 2.5 day program on Developing Intuition & Creativity at MIT Sloan School of Management in March. Would you like to introduce analytical thinkers in your organization to a similar program? Please, set up a call to discuss , or send me an email at Alina@AlinaBas.com   

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potterybymartincathraeYou don’t need any more pressure during this holiday season – your plate is full, I know.

Still, no matter how full your life is at the moment, I know you make time for self-reflection this week.

Because it’s who you are. Ok, I’ll put my cards on the table: “because it’s who I am”, and I know we have a lot in common.

You are at the stage where you probably don’t make New Year resolutions anymore. Instead, you just do what you want to do, whenever you feel ready to do it. (Has it been working well? Let me know if I can help.)

You know yourself. You know what’s working well, and you know the gaps between your current and desired career/relationship/self.

After 10-20 years in your career, in friendships, relationships, and living with yourself as an adult, you probably have a good sense for what shape you are in.

You’ve dropped (or are in the process of dropping) connections, habits, and projects that are not working for you. You are on the lookout for the next grip, the next step, the next effective routine that will get your body, career and relationships in shape you desire.

Then why does the process often feel more like a mess than a controlled action of an experienced expert that you are?

Here’s the thing about mid-career, mid-relationship, and mid-self: it’s all about choosing what to keep and of what to let go. This is hard because “new” feels unsafe and uncertain, and “old” often has sentimental value and comfort, even when you’ve outgrown it. It’s also about finding just the right mix of rest and drive.

When you were younger, your life was all about drive and energy: push, ignite, explore, explode, create, move, be moved.

Later in life, another 20-30 years down the line, I think a large part of life becomes about making time just to be, reflecting rather than expanding exponentially.

In mid-life, you want to enjoy what you have, and you want to push forward (and sometimes be pushed forward); you want safety and adventure; you want a home and a journey; you want the comfort of familiarity and you want to be surprised…

You feel spent (you’ve worked hard!), and you want and need to invest into career growth and meaningful relationships.

You want rest, and you want to be an energy generator in order to feel alive, interesting, and attractive.

You accept yourself, and you want to keep changing – become better, faster, stronger, smarter, more present, and more radiant.

My articles that get the most readership are all about change and making choices: handling life changes, necessity of change, what to do when things change, what to do when you need a change, how to know it’s time to leave your [fill in the blank], 50 signs you need a change

However…

Maybe, just maybe, in mid-career / mid-relationships / mid-self, what we need is a gentle shape-up rather than an earth-shattering change?

Much like in pottery-making, we may need warmth, mindfulness about the shape we want to take, gentle pressure, soft attention, an expert’s or artist’s eye on our progress.

Nothing is the same as it was 20 years ago, but we are not done shaping up.

We are still on the throwing wheel.

We are shaping up into forms that are more stable, more artful, forms that can hold more of what we need, and withstand more of what we must, forms that hold a balance of rest and energy that fits our growth.

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NEW programs: Executive Development +Intuitive InsightLearn more here.  

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Full or Empty? Manage Your Personal Energy

December 5, 2016 Gut Feeling

  You’re at the top of your game. You act with authority and get results. You have an outstanding track record of resolving issues, and a long list of clients who are thankful to you. Yet, instead of enjoying your success, you feel drained, exhausted and completely lacking energy by the end of the day. […]

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When Options Look Disappointing

October 31, 2016 Decision-making

Turbulent September gave way to contemplative October: deciding when to say “yes”, and where to take distance. October has been about choosing options that luckily work, and minimizing disappointment of letting go of good alternatives. What if all your options seem disappointing rather than inspiring, though? I know that with the Presidential Elections coming up, […]

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Grace Under Fire: Handling Life Changes

September 28, 2016 Career Change

I’ve always loved fall. It is colorful, fresh, unpredictable, and usually brings about all sorts of new promising beginnings.  This September came as a mixed bag, though. It has delivered new work projects and soulful celebrations with friends. It has also brought a cosmic reboot (read: “a series of small, but epic failures”). My phone […]

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When Your Expertise Fails You

September 13, 2016 Am I Good Enough?

What do you answer when someone asks you “What do you do?”?  I’m guessing you can easily reach for one or two explanations about what you get paid to do, or what you spend most of your time doing. If you’ve been practicing something deeply and mindfully for years, it is likely that you’re very […]

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Chase For Upgrades: When Is “Good Enough” Good Enough?

July 27, 2016 Career Change

This summer has been filled with more questions than answers for me. About parenting (is it better to cut kids some slack, or to continue with sports practices 5 times a week through the summer?), about work (is the safety net of an internal corporate Exec Coaching position an upgrade or a downgrade from running […]

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Happiness Routine That Actually Works

June 15, 2016 Decision-making

(Originally posted here , but this important topic deserves a second look; I’m putting it at the top of the blog so that you don’t have to look for it.) “You should follow the advice that you give in your blog posts. Maybe, you’ll feel better”- my mom said. “I’m fine”- I snap back. “I don’t […]

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Control or Let Go?

May 31, 2016 Decision-making

Analytical Thinkers’ Guide for Letting Go As analytical people, we often try to control situations to create or get what we want. It seems logical: we want something, so we make it happen. Intellectually, this is clear that in many situations that we’re trying to control, all we need to do is be ourselves, do […]

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Sustainable Work-Life Balance: Possibility or Fiction?

April 28, 2016 Decision-making

Sustainable work-life balance is one of the greatest challenges of today’s leaders who want to have a meaningful career, to make time for the family and friends, travel, play, and develop interests outside of work. Often, as soon as you manage to create a pocket of time where there’s a fair balance between work and play, […]

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