You know how it is. A new year comes and with it, a surge of resolutions and goals.

We mean well. We do.

Perhaps for the first few weeks of January we find ourselves to be unusually productive: we purge old files, motivated to fill the space with new leads; we mark up day planners in different colored pens; we make all-important networking calls, the ones we managed to postpone for months; we sign up to attend professional development events and then studiously follow-up with new colleagues via email.

It all feels energizing until it doesn’t.

With the best of intentions the energy many of us want to bring to the new year cannot be sustained.

Fast and furious is never the way.

”Slow but steady wins the race,” wrote Aesop, the Greek storyteller, sometime between 620 BC-560 BC.

This is wisdom that holds true with modern times and yet how many of us really heed it? Unless you live in a rural community, contemporary society pushes you to move quicker. Technology is immediate. Why wait for anything? A handwritten note; when’s the last time you wrote or received one from a dear friend? These are the days of instant gratification, and I fear for my own children, that such expectations will only lead to disappointment and burn-out and fractured thinking. It’s no wonder, I think, that ADHD had become so prevalent. Haven’t we all become a bit ADHD in our approach to living?

All week I wrestled with wanting to do more. Sure I crossed things off my list, but I could not muster the energy to tackle some of the bigger to-do’s. There’s really no explanation but lack of energy. Such feelings peaked midweek; I would have preferred to nap and read in bed all day, but lucky for me I had a long-scheduled therapy appointment.

On and on I spoke to my therapist about the swirl of things to do–digging deep into a new book project; necessary sales and marketing for Both Sides Now (tall tasks I really wish someone else would do but obviously cannot); freelance work on a first-time author’s book and new website for single moms; securing new speaking engagements; and more.

I couldn’t help but notice the way I slouched deeper into the sofa. My therapist noticed, too.

“Nancy,” she said calmly, “you must own your energy.”

It was a curious comment so I asked if she would elaborate. Here’s the distilled version:

  • You must ask for what you want from people.
  • Do not dilute your energies.
  • Own what it is that you want to be in the world.

No surprise I left her office feeling lighter. We solved a few nagging issues, devised a priority game-plan, and off I went feeling cleansed and centered.

The rest of the day and throughout the night I found myself repeating her words “Own Your Energy.”

When I woke the next morning the most beautiful sunrise greeted me (it’s pictured here). How good it felt to just look out the window and watch a panoply of pink, purple, blue and gold fill the sky. Life stands still at such moments, and it’s here, looking out at the world where all the hope and yearning inside of us rises to meet the day.

Own your energy. It’s yours to claim.

Nancy Sharp
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