Breaking Through to the Other Side
Updated: Mar 22
As the world hit the pause button, life changed in a blink. What did the future hold? When we expect change from everyone and everything but ourselves... what happens when we start to change?
What do you think about energy? More specifically, what are your thoughts on the energy we bring into our lives and how our energy impacts how we see and ultimately experience life?
“ How we label our experiences and people in our lives can really influences our thoughts, feelings and actions.”
During my training at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, I learned a concept that I’d like to share with you, that nothing has meaning until we give it meaning. How we label our experiences and people in our lives can really influences our thoughts, feelings and actions.
Each one of us brings a certain level of energy into our day and I’d like you to think about those energy levels like a dial – they can go up and down. Now, none of these levels are either good or bad they just serve us in different ways. However, when our dial gets stuck we can be impacted, and when this happens we may no longer feel in control of how we see and experience our world.
In what I do, core energy coaching, we look at 7 levels of energy. Today, I would like to share what the lower energy levels can look like and how they can impact us in ways that we may not wish…and to do this I’m going to give you a glimpse of what happened to me in March 2020.
Entering the Unknown
Like many of us, I found myself being shoved into the unknown. Kingston had just entered lockdown and overnight I went from entrepreneur to a full-time care-giver of my two children, aged 5 and 7.
“ Each day I wasn’t choosing how I wanted to show up - the situation I was in seemed to have all the control.”
I was uncertain what would happen to a business that I had invested 7 years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars in, a business that still had a substantial amount of debt. To say I was stressed would be a gross understatement. I remember the immediate impact, the thoughts of “This isn’t fair!" "I didn’t do anything to cause this!” “What are we gonna do?” and “Why me?”
I found myself living at, what we call in energy coaching, a level 1 - victimhood. These thoughts greatly impacted my feelings and everything that I did. My energy was low, I began fueling my body with poor food choices - which made me feel worse, and I gained at least 10lbs. I felt stuck! I’d lost 2/3 of my business and I was trying to keep what was left afloat. Yet, each day we received messages that members were quitting, they did not want to be served on our virtual platform. Our camp programs would not be running and we had to repay tens of thousands of dollars in pre-paid camp fees and had to dig into savings to do so. I watched how others seemed to make their business work when I felt I wasn’t able to. I thought, “Why aren’t others struggling like me?” I remember writing a letter to all of my members through tears thanking them for their loyalty, informing them I was quitting. I never sent that letter…but I wrote it.
Each day I wasn’t choosing how I wanted to show up - the situation I was in seemed to have all the control. My thoughts and feelings where being dictated by my circumstance and I was not easy to be around. My energy impacting me and my family. I would sometimes avoid responsibilities pretending to be sick when I really just wanted time to feel sorry for myself. I wanted that space. I just binged Netflix! I began judging everything. I hated how I felt and I hated what was happening and gradually I began shifting from level 1 to level 2 energy - I started to fight.
An Unwinnable Battle
I felt like I was fighting an unwinnable battle against an unbeatable lion - stress levels where at an all-time high and I wanted to feel a win but I didn’t think I could. Winning my business back seemed like too much so I shifted my attention to home, where I spent all of my time and where I thought I could get a win. I consumed social media and began comparing myself to others who seemed like they were winning COVID. I felt I was being eaten by the lion so I started blaming my kids for having to care for them, because I wanted to have the time to fight for my business that was being devoured by the pandemic.
During that time, our home seemed to be all telling and yelling. When I spoke to my kids it was all TONE - which sent messages I didn’t intend to send. I was angry. I was frustrated and I was scared. The thoughts of “How dare you!,” “Because I said so!,” and “It is my way or the highway!” all those thoughts occupied my mind, my tone, and my home.
“ The more time I spent thinking and feeling like a victim the more I seemed to attract that kind of energy into my life. The more I fought with my kids the more they fought back.”
I remember reflecting on my thoughts and feelings, I didn’t like where I was. I didn’t like who I was. I thought to myself, how am I showing up each day and what is it costing me? What was it costing my kids? The more time I spent thinking and feeling like a victim the more I seemed to attract that kind of energy into my life. The more I fought with my kids the more they fought back. I started to think, “What did I want?” Really want? Truth? I wanted to feel in control. So, I asked, “How is what I am doing getting me what I want? It wasn’t. If I wanted control, was I willing to do what I needed to do to get that sense of control I craved? Yes, I was. Was I willing to try a different way? Absolutely. So that is exactly what I did.
A Commitment to Change
I remember the moment I made that choice. I remember standing in my bedroom at the side of my bed, at the end of a physically and emotionally draining day. I stood head down, deep breathing as I thought about my current situation and my experiences over the last month and a half. It was so tough. How many times had I apologized to my children for my reactions and told them it wasn’t them, it was me? How many times had I said to my children, a real apology is changed behavior - but I wasn’t changing. How many times had I woke up with a knot in my stomach not looking forward to the day? How many times had I thought, you’re a failure? It sucked! Then I thought, do I want to continue like this or do I want to change for me and for my family? I made a commitment right there and then to change - and for the first time since March I felt hopeful, not helpless…and it was right then that I made a conscious energy shift.
Over the course of the next few months I talked to others who supported me, began an early morning workout regime, built a garden in the backyard, and totally changed my diet. I began setting aside my concerns for my business - the elements I could not control - so they wouldn’t consume me and started being present with my kids, spending quality time with them.
“ I started realizing that the moments I spent with my children were helping me make up for lost time.”
As I shifted, I began to move to higher levels of energy, sure I fluctuated between the levels as I began to resolve what wasn’t working but I began serving those closest to me, my family. My ego, which had created so much tension in my life since March was mostly absorbed by the empathy I now permitted myself to have for me and for my kids and what they were also experiencing.
My focus was now on what was right and what was working for us as a family -and the gift that I had been given. The time to be with my kids. You see, I remembered my son saying to me prior to COVID, “You like work more than us!” I remember how that felt - so raw. I started realizing that the moments I spent with my children were helping me make up for lost time. We started to come together as a family, again, to create something greater - with experiences that fueled our connectedness and in doing so, I was able to demonstrate what resiliency really means - to move forward in the ways you are able when facing adversity - and not getting stuck with low levels of energy.
The Other Side
As a family, we started having weekly restaurant nights where the kids and I created a home restaurant experience for my wife when she arrived home for work. Because we couldn’t go out. We created fun! We called our restaurants names like Caleb Cascadia or Mila Italiano and expressed what we were grateful for prior to eating. And as I got healthier, I lost over 25lbs and ran my first 21 km, which all contributed to how I was now more responsive than reactive. I had a responsibility and it was seen in my new ability to respond. Not perfect but a healthy shift. I played board games with my children and started reading them chapter books. I was more present and stopped worrying so much about was next for me and focused on what was right in front of me. My kids. And gradually my wife and I began to pay off our debt.
“ I have just become more mindful of my thoughts and emotions, which has made it easier to consciously shift in a way that better serves me and my family. ”
As I shifted to higher levels of energy, I began to look for lessons again and began to grow and seek opportunities and I started to leave the drama I had been creating behind. Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning. I set a new trajectory and began putting energy into realizing that the growth I once offered athletes, I could now offer to others who wanted to become their best selves. Now, that doesn’t mean that I do not find myself in lower energy levels at times - where I think, ‘Why me?’ or ‘How dare you!’. I have just become more mindful of my thoughts and emotions, which has made it easier to consciously shift in a way that better serves me and my family.
One way to impact our energy levels is to shift what we focus on during our day. Your level of consciousness affects others on some level - the energy of the thoughts you bring to your relationships, teams, organizations has a real impact! Being mindful of thoughts and emotions experienced brings with it great benefits. So, let me ask you:
What do you want in your life?
How is what you are doing getting you what you want?
Are you willing to do what is needed to do to get what you want?
And, are you willing to try a different way?