Wednesday, December 14, 2005


One of the things that is always problematic about taking time to do the things that recharge you is that others around you might not understand. Not understanding why you need to do it, why you need to spend money or time on it right now. It is very easy for those around us to make judgment calls about the new things we start in life. (Especially if we are the type of person that starts a lot of new things.) You may be considered selfish or self centered. If they do not understand what recharges them or the importance of these concepts, they will perceive these things as somehow taking away from them, wasting time, finances, and energy. If they can somehow become aware of the principles you are learning about recharging and then see you honor the rearranging of time, energy, money to enhance their life, it will be an easier sell. This way, you will be giving each other permission to do the things that refuels each of you individually. If you are married, you will have to navigate this area gently and with respect.

Being intentional about taking the finite resources (time, energy, money) and directing them to these areas that bring recharging will be your first step toward success. You will need to expect disappointment from someone in your life about your choice to be aggressive in this area of your life. It is an impossibility to stay on track or budget in any area of personal life or business life without disappointing someone or some group of people. You may not be intentionally targeting people to disappoint, but the nature of staying on track with goals brings disappointment somewhere. If you cannot become acquainted with this aspect of disappointment, you will never be able to lead yourself or anybody else.

By the very nature of saying “yes” to this part of your life you are saying “no” to other areas. Those other areas may also be good things. That’s what makes it hard. Someone once said, “You have to say no to a lot of good things, in order to say yes to the best.” That will always be true. Staying on track with a physical fitness program means that you will have to disappoint yourself because you cannot eat what you want, drink what you want, lay around as much as you want. You will have to push yourself in training beyond where you are comfortable in order to get the results you desire. The same is true with this. There will be times in which I say no to someone at work in order to say yes to me. I will have to say no to my children, my spouse, my neighbors, my parents, just about everyone that wants my time, energy, and money to be focused on them.

There is a never ending parade of people needing us for something. I could spend most of the day with my kids and at the end of the day tell them that dad needs to be by himself for the next hour, and one of them would be disappointed and may try to make me feel like I never spend time with them. Those around us will take everything we will give them if we are not careful. Be careful of the guilt that gets thrown your way intentionally and unintentionally. This does not mean we ignore the other areas of life. I’m taking for granted that you are concerned about balancing time between important areas. I do not want to be misunderstood so that someone will use this writing as a weapon or a way of just being more self-centered in their life. There is no way possible to stay emotionally refueled by doing these new things and at the same time ignoring family and relational responsibilities. It will not happen. It will not last.

Living this new way, should always be a benefit to you and those around you. If you are spending time, energy, and money on the thing that you say refuels you, and yet you come home after involvement in it more depleted, grumpier and less loving, something is wrong. You either missed a point a long the way or you weren’t honest and authentic enough to get to some great answers during the self analysis portion.


When you were growing up, what did you love doing during your free time? When you got home from school, what did you choose to do? You might have had to do homework or get chores done around the house, but after you were finished with your responsibilities, what did you enjoy doing? Were you outside playing with friends or by yourself pretending? Were you competing, drawing, exploring, building something, experimenting with something, just walking around, playing or listening to music? You would do chores faster so you could get to this activity; you would arrange your day so you could get to the thing that you really wanted to do. What was that?

Think about your life around the time you were in grade school. You might have to think back to the house you lived in or your neighborhood in order to bring back memories. Also, I’m not looking for things that other people said you did well or thought you were good at. I want to know what you loved doing, whether or not you were great at it or ever won any awards for it. This gets to the heart or essence of what you wanted to do rather than the influence of parents, relatives, and teachers. Now, do the same type of thinking back process to the time when you were in Junior High, High School, College, when you were in your twenties, thirties and so on.

For myself, I loved being alone, in fact even now if I do not have enough time built into my schedule for being by myself, I become drained very easily, and I do not function at my best. It becomes tough to make wise decisions. I also love listening to Rock, Jazz and Blues Music. I love watching bands perform on stage. Watching great musicians at their craft is something that energizes me and fills me up emotionally. I love mixing live concert or studio work. I love helping people solve problems. I love the creativity, activity, energy and excellence of places like the Vegas Strip (even though I don’t gamble).

No one can build a life just doing the things that they love doing. We all need to interact with others, do our jobs, care for family and friends, and live life in all of its ups and downs. But we need to know exactly what it is that fills us up, recharges us, refuels our emotions and then build those activities into our life. If we don’t, we lose ourselves and can never become what the creator had in mind for our optimum performance. What is it that gives you a second wind in the middle of the race of life? And because of your involvement in a certain activity or hobby or place, you can go back to your family, job, life and hit it once more with a fresh start, more energy, enthusiasm and the ability to make wiser decisions until the time you need to pull away in order to refuel again.

Once I find out what it is that fills me up, then it is a process of building these things into my life. Remember, what refuels you emotionally is most likely something that either you rarely take time to do or never. Even if you are one of those rare individuals who actually does try to build these beneficial things into your life, I bet that your attitude towards it is one of “if I have time, money or energy, then I’ll try to work this into my life throughout the year.” We’ve come to think about these activities like they are bonuses. As a matter of fact, we learned this growing up because of hearing phrases like “You need to get your homework done before you can go outside and play.” Or, “When all your chores are done, then you can go and do…” whatever, you fill in the blank. Then when we got older it was always another thing that we had to complete before we got to do what we wanted to do. Now don’t get me wrong, that is called responsibility and learning about being successful. If we only did the things we wanted to do, we would be considered lazy, self-centered, uncaring and the other gauges of our life would deplete, and we would suffer harm. Even if you had all the time, energy and money to do what you wanted all the time, it would not lead you to emotional replenishment because of the negative effects that type of lifestyle would have on the other areas of your life, such as relationally, spiritually, physically. It would be very easy to become an egotistical, slothful, self-centered individual.

As an adult we feel guilty for taking money, time and energy doing things that we want to do when there are always other things and lists that need our time, money and energy and other people that need us as well. There's usually someone close by to remind us of these facts. So, we’ve learned to feel guilty about taking the “finite” resources of Time, Money and Energy and spending them on ourselves when there are other things that need all three.

Some tend to be work-a-holics and others can’t seem to relax without feeling guilty when they take the time for themselves. Why? Because it never seems like the job before us is ever done. We need to make sure our spouse has the time that they need from us for all aspects of our marriage and relationship. Our kids will take all the time that we can give them and more. Once we spend quality and quantity of time with them, then we need to make sure we’re not neglecting the things around the house and yard that need attention. Then there are the civic responsibilities and things that we volunteer for, that we desire to and the things we volunteer for because we feel we have to. There are Church responsibilities. Add extended family needs, illnesses, sports and school activities. It becomes very clear why we don’t take time for ourselves, much less take it with any consistency. We could almost make a case that adding anything else into this tangled web we call a life would be a mistake, even if the action we are trying to take is a good one.

It is evident that our lives are filled with a never ending cycle of things that are constantly devouring our time, devouring our energy and devouring our money. We are all in desperate need of building into our lives emotionally refueling activities that are designed around our unique design.

In order to do this correctly, you and I have to take time away from other people and things in our life. This is one of the toughest parts of what I am asking you to do. While you and I are busy doing the things that emotionally refuel us, there will be people close to us who are waiting for our involvement in their lives or tasks that they have for us. They will make judgments about the activities we are engaging in as being a waste of time, energy and money. Why? Because the activities that refuel us, most likely will not be the same ones that others around us find compelling. It will be very easy to see this new found habit as one more thing that they have to compete with. It will depend on us to discuss and educate them about the reasons we are doing these things. Why are we doing what refuels us? So we can be at our very best when we are engaging the other activities of life including our time with them. I am doing these things so I can be at my best for my family, career, decision making, relationships, finances, spirituality, and emotional well being.

Now this might be a tricky thing to sell at first. What if golfing is the thing that “you say” emotionally refuels you. But during the game and when you return home, you are always in a bad mood because of how your game went. If after being away for 5 hours and spending quite a bit of money you don't come home replenished at all, you will have a hard time convincing your spouse that golf is what really refuels you. You may love to play golf and get together with friends while you’re doing it, but it may not be the activity that emotionally refuels you. That’s okay, just know the difference between the two, and don’t try to convince others around you, they’ll see right through it.

Next post we’ll talk about a great comment by John Cowart in the area of How to Manage, Honor and Validate each Partner’s or Family member’s needs in this area.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Since all of us have only so much time, energy and money, we usually wait until there is an excess of those things before we do the things we love to do. We treat them as bonuses that take last priority in our lives, only if there is leftover time and money. The problem with that way of thinking is that for most people, those times are rare, so we never consistently do the things that recharge us. Basically, no one is recharging as much or as often as they were designed to be.

Around my house, we have many things that need recharging, such as cell phones, cameras, video equipment, flashlights, remote control cars, and laptop computers. Therefore, we have a lot of different chargers around. We have found that we cannot take the remote control car charger and plug it into the camera and expect it to work correctly. The laptop charger does not work with the flashlight and vice versa. I have to admit. that it is kind of irritating that I cannot interchange the devices and chargers, but that’s the way it is. It does not matter how asinine I think it is that I need a specific charger for each and every device I have, that’s the way they were all designed. Each device needs a different amount of electrical input in order to charge and function at its best.

The same is true for us. The environment or event that recharges you is not going to be the same that recharges me. There may be similarities, just like all the different chargers had similarities. Each plugged into the wall, each was black, each had a cord, and each had a round end to be inserted somewhere. But there were enough minute differences to cause them not to be compatible.

I like to be alone to recharge and that might also be true of you. But I might like to read and you might like to knit. I might like to be alone in a city and you might like to be alone on a mountain or on a hike. We have all been designed differently, and those details need to be paid attention to. If I want my electronic devices to work the way they were designed, and to have as much battery life as possible, the instructions for charging and the equipment for charging needs to be exact.

You and I need to know exactly what regenerates our emotional well being. We must take the finite resources of time, energy, and money and consistently schedule whatever that is into our lives.. Not always waiting until we have leftovers, but accepting that it is one of the most important things that we can do with our time, energy, and money. We need to begin to spend money, plan time, and preserve energy for the activity that refuels us. This is all about intentionality.

We are each designed to be recharged in different ways and to love different things. This is not something that I learned or you learned. It was a gift from the designer. The thing that refuels you and you love doing, was designed into you. You did not learn it from anyone else. You may have been given opportunities growing up to experience it in different ways or may have been exposed to it by someone like your parents, friends, or a teacher or relative, but they never possessed the power to make you love it or be refueled by it. It originated from somewhere else; it was built into the design of you from the beginning. That is why it is important to pay attention to and discover exactly what form this takes with you.

And since it is a design issue, you must do it consistently if you ever want to live at optimum levels like you were designed. If you want to create and work, and love and play the way you were meant, you must pay attention to this aspect of your life. We would be foolish to not plug in our cell phone and expect it to work correctly. If we don't plug in our laptop, it won't be fully charged and ready for use. The same is true for you and me.

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