My iPhone slipped out of my hands like a newly-caught fish making a bid for freedom and landed screen side down on the asphalt of my parking lot.
The spider-web pattern of shattered glass on the screen could only mean one thing. A trip to the Apple store.
I wrote it off as bad luck, ordered a replacement case and mentally filed it under “sometimes these things happen.”
Until the same thing happened 7 weeks later.
I’ve had some version of the iPhone for 6 years and had never shattered a screen before now.
I couldn’t figure out how I’d managed to break my screen twice in 2 months, until I realized that I switched cases about a month before I broke the first screen.
I changed cases because wanted something slimmer and more compact and I thought the new case offered a similar level of protection as the first one.
After spending $158 on two Apple Care service fees ($79/apiece), that theory is blown.
I’m telling you this story because I want to highlight an important fact: I never blamed my iPhone for breaking. Rather, I blamed the case for providing inadequate protection.
Like my iPhone, my clients possess a valuable tool — their energetic sensitivity — that they need to learn how to protect.
What Is Energetic Sensitivity?
Energetic sensitivity is an acute awareness of non-verbal information in your environment, particularly the mood or feelings of others.
(People with this trait also have a heightened response to visual and auditory input as well.)
This type of sensitivity requires a specific set of protective strategies in order for them to function at an optimal level.
But too often, they blame themselves because they get overwhelmed or depleted by the demands of daily life and their business.
Just like I didn’t recognize I needed a specific type of case for my phone, my clients often don’t recognize they need to protect their energetic sensitivity.
So they try to pretend that they aren’t sensitive by ignoring their need to rest or take time by themselves, and wind up feeling overwhelmed, depleted or sick.
As intuitive, empathetic people, my clients often fall into the category of “highly sensitive person”, (This is a term that was first created by researcher — and fellow HSP — Elaine Aron.)
Many of them don’t like to acknowledge their sensitivity because they think being labelled as sensitive means they are weak.
But I don’t think this sensitivity is a weakness….it’s a superpower.
It’s an amazing gift that allows you to be more aware of things that other people might miss.
You likely see connections between things that others don’t and sense emotions that might unrecognized by others.
Your sensitivity is what makes you a gifted person — in a cool way — not in a “bless your heart”, I’m-trying-to-placate-you kind of way.
Intuitive, empathetic people have an energetic sensitivity that is analogous to the touch screen and lightweight design of the iPhone. Those design elements make the phone more vulnerable to breaking but they also make it unique and desirable in terms of function.
As one of your most important and valuable tools, your energetic sensitivity needs protection just like your iPhone (or other smartphone).
Over the next few blogs, I’ll be sharing some ways you can protect your energetic sensitivity so you can be productive in your work without feeling depleted or overwhelmed at the end of the day.
Today I will share how to create a container for your energy around your workday by creating a specific beginning, middle and end to your day.
Creating A Container For Your Energetic Sensitivity
To Begin Your Day: Set An Intention
Setting an intention for your day is like putting an address in your GPS. You are setting a destination for your day, for both what want to do and how you want to feel.
By doing this, you create a focal point to direct your energy, and to help re-center your attention if you start to get off track.
I like to set intentions that include at least two of these components:
- What I want to happen
- How I want to feel while I am taking action
- How I want the people I work with to feel based on my actions
My morning practice (and the one I recommend to my clients) has two additional components to support the intention. If you’d like to hear more about it, you can download my free e-book “The Productivity Prescription”.
At The Midpoint Of Your Day: Reconnect With Your Intention
Before you resume work for the afternoon, take 3-5 minutes to sit quietly and bring to mind your intention.
Reconnect with the internal feeling that you had when you made your intention. Imagine yourself holding on to this feeling all afternoon.
**Important note: Implied in the step is that you ACTUALLY TAKE A BREAK FOR LUNCH. ***
Even if it’s just 30 minutes, it’s incredibly important to allow your brain to rest at midday and for your energy to settle back down to it’s normal resting state after the busy-ness of the morning.
Just like a snow globe gets cloudy when it’s shaken, your mental and emotional clarity gets cloudy when you don’t allow yourself to take a break from the constant stimulation of your workday.
Taking a break allows any heightened emotions from the stress of the morning to settle back down to your baseline level.
At The End Of Your Day: Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
Acknowledging your accomplishments is a concept I learned from my friend and coach Teri Beckman. It’s a practice based on the teachings of Buddhist monk Tarthang Tulku.
The practice is simple: Write down the things you worked on during the day. Then, express gratitude for completing them.
Even when you don’t accomplish all that you wanted to, acknowledging what you DID get done is a way to give yourself a sense of completion and closure.
This allows you to transition into the evening without the lingering thoughts of unfinished business swirling around you, which depletes your energy.
Taking specific steps to acknowledge the beginning, middle and end of the day will help create a protective container for your energy during the day that will help you stay grounded and focused even on the busiest of days.
What are the other ways you manage your energetic sensitivity? Please share in the comments below!