Last week, we spoke about the simple concept that governs every interaction we have with another person, The Concept of Fair Exchange. Understanding this concept is the key to whether our relationships grow and advance, or decline and fall away. It’s the key to whether we are energised or exhausted by such simple things as driving to work, or having a conversation with any given individual.
First of all, let’s review the concept:
If you GIVE more than you TAKE, you feel RESENTFUL.
If you TAKE more than you GIVE, you feel GUILTY.
Keeping our exchanges fair allows us not only to keep moving forward without running out of energy, but to build the relationships we have. An exchange requires two sides. We’re only in control of one of those sides – ours – so let’s have a look first at how we might monitor and operate our side of “Fair Exchange”.
The only person you have control over is YOURSELF
In order for us to effectively run our side of any relationship (work, customers, staff, family, etc), we have to have energy to contribute to that exchange. Let’s think about where and how we give away our energy – because our energy is precious and finite. We wake up with X-amount of energy every day and how we use that energy is up to us. We can keep it or give it away. We can spend it and recharge it. We can use it for growth, or waste it. It is our energy, our responsibility, our choice.
If we give it away without measure or consideration, we’ll find we have little left to accomplish what we need to get done. For example, how much of your energy did you freely throw out the window of your car on the way to work because someone else was driving undesirably? If we’re not aware of how we spend our energy and we don’t value the energy we have, then we allow it to leak away. This happens through procrastination, through unaddressed fears that take up mental space, through inefficiencies that we allow to continue because we think it’s easier than having that conversation, or perhaps through lack of planning. Sometimes we throw whole handfuls of energy at situations without weighing up what we’re expending relevant to the importance of the outcome. Often, we take on other people’s stuff and use our energy for that before we’ve done what we needed to do for ourselves. There are many ways our energy is frittered away each day when we don’t value it and move to protect it.
You can make a marked difference just by acknowledging the value of your energy and not giving it away for free! Be discerning about who you exchange your energy with. Give consideration to where you need to direct your energy today. Prioritise. Once you decide what is and isn’t worth your energy, there are many things that fall away.
Worrying, for instance, is not worth your energy. If something is within your control, stop worrying and act. If it’s not fully within your control but you may have some influence on the outcome, then act to the best of your ability and leave others to do their part too. If it’s not within your control at all (the weather, the economy, COVID19), then work on letting it go and rather applying your energy to the things you can do something about.
So, why do we need to be so judicial with our energy?
Every exchange is an exchange of energy
Every exchange we have with another human being is an exchange of energy. You may start a Monday morning on a high from a particularly positive weekend, feeling revitalised and ready to take on the world. If the first person you have a conversation with has had a horrendous weekend that they’re dying to tell you about, you’re going to have to be very guarded in your exchange, or the likelihood is that you’re going to come away from that conversation feeling a little less pumped up than you did at the beginning. Possibly even a little down depending on how much of your energy you exchanged with that person. They may feel all the better for having shared though!
Often, we voluntarily share our energy with others. This is one of the most powerful parts of being a team – none of us operates on 100% energy all the time, and being part of a team means we can cover each other. The point is that we understand how valuable and vital our own energy is, and that we’re discerning about where we invest it.
Whilst awareness of how we exchange our energy is a good thing, we need to bear in mind this fundamental:
Growth requires excess positive energy
In order for anything to grow and move forward, it requires excess positive energy. It’s true of seeds, it’s true of us, it’s true of our relationships, and it’s true of our businesses. If you have little or no energy, no growth is possible. Even worse, if you stay in the red for any length of time, decline sets in. The whole point of understanding The Concept of Fair Exchange is so that we can make a positive impact on our relationship and help them grow. We’d love to retain clients and create loyalty. We’d love to grow our businesses with happy employees who put their energy back into their work. We’d love to educate and raise the next generation with a fire for learning and development.
All these things require energy. Our energy. And if we’ve allowed our energy to leak, or we’ve given it away indiscriminately… how will we contribute to our side of the exchange? We don’t even have to understand the concept – we’ll already have lost if we have no energy to exchange.
- Every exchange we have with another person is an exchange of energy.
- If we’re not discerning about who and how we exchange our energy, our energy will leak and we’ll have little left for ourselves.
- Growth requires energy. Our growth. Our business growth. The growth of our relationships.
- Valuing our own energy means we can add value to our side of the Fair Exchange equation. It also means we can start to more effectively assess the value of each exchange we’re offered and know how and why it’s fair for us.
- Understanding The Concept of Fair Exchange means we can not only determine how this pivotal concept affects the growth of our relationships, but we can be proactive about how we want those relationships to develop.
So gather your energy. Use this week to look at where it leaks and plug those leaks. Find the things that slow you down and snag you up and recognise the value of solving them. If you can’t change the situation, you can still decide how much of your energy it deserves. Recognise the value of the energy you’re given. Start to think more about how you’d like to exchange it and the impact you’d like to have on your relationships.
by Christen Killick
June 7th, 2021