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Know energy rather than know passion

30 August 2021

Do an Energy Audit of the work you do.

The word passion is often attached to the idea of career.  The misleading advice is to find your passion then make career decisions that align with that passion.  This is shaky advice for all sorts of reasons.  

You will be better off following your energy rather than following your passion.  The energy you have when doing things at work is often a short hand indicator of things your are talented at, care about, and will put sustained effort into, making you even better at it.  

Trusting that simply noticing what gives you energy at work is unlikely to give you a full picture.  It is usual that all activities you do have bits you enjoy and bits that you don't, and this can camouflage the energy giving elements.

An Energy Audit will give you a more granular level understanding of the things you do in your work that give you energy, and the things you do that take away energy.

Here is how to do it:

Every half hour for two weeks reflect on what you have been doing and note the level of energy you felt.  A reliable way to make sure you do this is to set an alarm on your phone or in your calendar.
Each day print out your calendar/schedule for the day.
Use two different highlighter pens (one for energy giving, one for energy draining) then when your reminder goes off appropriately colour the half hour slot.
At the end of each day take five minutes to note what it was about the energy giving times that you most enjoyed.  For example between 2pm and 4pm you were in a meeting and normally meetings drain your energy, but the meeting today was focused on strategic ideas, rather than the normal status update meetings you usually attend.
At the end of two weeks consolidate your learning into five clear, simple dot points that can help you understand the conditions you need in your career that are energy giving.  The following questions can help with your reflection:

  • Who is around when you feel energised?
  • Where are you when you feel energised?
  • Is there any technology involved in the times you are more energised?
  • Are there activities that are similar, but don't give the same level of energy?
  • What things interrupt your times of energy?

As always, wishing you a flourishing career.


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