“Never forget the ABCs of business travel,” my friend, Paul, said to me years ago. “Always Be Charging.” This was, of course, before business travel mostly involved walking down the hall to a spare bedroom.
His point was simple: our devices are always using energy. Without a charge, they’re expensive and useless paperweights. If you use paper any more.
It’s time for us to learn the ABCs of change-making. The world, especially when in crisis, takes energy from us. Constantly. Just like that supercomputer we carry in our pockets, those who are working for change can get sapped of energy to the point where they’re not much good to those around them.
The wise change-maker recognizes this reality and pays attention to his energy levels. He knows that he needs to practice self-imposed patterns of recharging. Over time, she learns what recharging she needs to do and when she needs to do it so that she can bring her best self to the challenges around her.
They pay attention to their emotional reactions, maybe even training their brains to notice both triggers and the narratives those emotional reactions reveal.
They treat their bodies with at least as much respect as they would give to a highly engineered and expensive piece of technology. That means they energize it through diet and exercise and sleep.
They curate a group of people who will stretch and encourage them. They take the risk of being open with them.
These are all acts of humility because they acknowledge how limited we are as humans. That recognition prevents us from becoming insufferable crusaders. Instead, it says to to those around us, “I’m with you. I’m not special. Let’s do this together.”
You’re doing important work. It will take energy out of you. Always be charging. We need the best version of you out there.