July 21st, 2016


Everyone has an energetic makeup. What’s yours and how does it affect your thoughts, feelings, and decisions as a leader? Your energetic makeup is comprised of two types of energy: catabolic and anabolic. Catabolic energy is draining, resisting, and contracting energy. It releases catabolic chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline into our bodies, which eat away at our cells. Catabolic energy can give you an energetic boost during a moment of stress, however, it can also act as a filter or blinder by showing you a limited view of a situation. This restricted view limits your choices available to you. When experiencing catabolic energy on a long-term basis, it takes an emotional, physical, and mental toll that is destructive on you, your organization, and all those around you.

Anabolic energy, on the other hand, is constructive, expanding, healing, and growth-oriented. Anabolic energy releases anabolic hormones such as testosterone into our body, and helps move us forward to achieve positive, long-term, sustainable results in all that we do. It is also useful in leading others in the same direction. Your use of anabolic energy allows us to have a more complete and conscious view of what is going on around us, and this allows us to come up with solutions and innovations more easily. Each energy type is exhibited by a chain reaction within our bodies. See the Energy Flow Chart below for how that chain reaction takes place. The creation of either anabolic or catabolic energy begins with our thoughts, and these thoughts provoke brain stimulation.

thoughts arrow brainstimulation arrow hormone arrow feelings arrow emotions arrow action

Figure 1: Energy Flow Chart

The brain then stimulates hormone production. It’s here where our core energy assumes an identity of either anabolic or catabolic. If the energy around the stimulation is catabolic it can generate feelings of sadness, apathy, conflict, or anger. If it’s anabolic it can create feelings such as forgiveness, compassion, and peace. Either way, these feelings will generate emotions which will lead to some type of action.

Both anabolic and catabolic energy are spread across a spectrum of seven levels known as the Energetic Self Perception chart. See the chart below. Read this chart from left to right, beginning with Core Thought on the left, Core Feeling/Emotion in the middle, and Action/Result on the right. Each one of us has something called an Average Resonating Level or ARL that falls somewhere between one and seven. This is the overall energy level we not only experience from life on a normal basis, but also when we experience stress. It is comprised of both the subtotal of every thought we have ever had, every emotion we have ever felt, every action we have ever taken, as well as those we are thinking, feeling and doing at the present moment. At any given time, our level of energy is some combination of these seven levels. Everyone has a mix of both energy types. Different energy levels show up in different situations for each of us. It is normal for all of us to move up and down this chart all day, every day, however, depending on life’s influences, some leaders may have more catabolic than anabolic energy.

Catabolic energy is found in Levels 1 and 2 (the deep blue section) and can be exhibited by feelings of apathy and anger respectively. The core thought around Level 1 energy is that of a victim- usually to events, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. It represents of the things that hold us back from success. Core feelings with Level 1 energy are that of apathy or indifference, and the result of these feelings is the inability to take any action or to see any options. Those experiencing chronic Level 1 energy may carry feelings of self-doubt, guilt, and have very low self-esteem. Additionally, they may also experience worry and fear. All of this comes from victim energy. Those experiencing Long term, chronic Level 1 energy have just given up. They have adopted an apathetic attitude and see themselves at the mercy of life. The philosophy associated with Level 1 energy is “I lose.” An example of this could be an executive who will stall or avoid making decisions. This person is someone who does not want to take any initiative and who prefers to hang out in the shadows as opposed to sticking their neck out and being visible. They retreat from responsibility instead of stepping up to it. It is about avoiding that responsibility and decision making. They would rather just wait until either someone else makes the decision or until the decision is made by some other related action. The key characteristics are lack of motivation, not taking initiative, avoidance, and the thought behind these feelings/behaviors is whatever the outcome, it is going to be “I lose.”

With Level 2 energy (about 70% catabolic) the core thought at this level is conflict, which can translate to judgement, struggle, or black and white thinking. The core emotion tied to this level is one of anger. Those experiencing Level 2 energy can also have Level 1 energy along with it. These thoughts and feelings usually result in actions of defiance, resistance, or rebellion. Level 2 energy is the most prominent energy level in the world! Successful people with a lot of Level 2 energy have adapted to their life situations and know how to get what they want and don’t really know any other way to survive. They have been taught and have mastered the “winning at any and all costs” philosophy. Those who are successful in life who resonate at this level have learned to play the game and win. Although people may be successful, they are usually unhappy, ALWAYS unhealthy, and their success is limited. Continuing with the example of the executive making decisions, a Level 2 executive is someone who is forcing their agenda. Traits of this individual would be someone who is tasked with making a decision but does not take in information from those around them. They only care about the decisions they are going to make because they are the ones who have the power to make that decision. The way they read it, feel it, and see it- that’s the way they are going to do it. They make decisions on their terms only and this is solely based upon the fact that they are right and everyone else is wrong. This is not only about who has the decision making authority, but it’s also about who is right. This is where conflict, anger, and resentment could begin to develop among colleagues and employees. The thought behind this is they think they are the only ones with the experience and qualifications to make the decision. They are the only one who has all of the information to make that decision because other people don’t see what they see, and therefore, they are the best person equipped to make that decision. Executives with Level 2 energy hoard information instead of sharing it. It is a power struggle, and the belief is I have information that you don’t so I am more powerful.

Beginning with Level 3 (the light shade of blue) we start to see anabolic energy (about 60%). At this level, our core thoughts include responsibility and accountability; responsibility for how you feel and about anything and anyone. No one controls your realities or emotions. But let’s be clear; it is not about taking responsibility for other people’s actions, nor is it taking responsibility for actions in the past when you could not have known otherwise. It IS about taking responsibility from this point forward in how you interpret anything in your life. Level 3 is also about forgiveness. You forgive those who may have harmed you or held you back. Core feelings and emotions at Level 3 include forgiveness while letting go of any resentment or anger. Cooperation also begins at this level. Those experiencing Level 3 energy begin to cooperate with other people and begin to accept them for who they are whether they like them or not. The core action or results that come from this are usually cooperation, or working toward a shared goal or common benefit. The philosophy with Level 3 energy is “I win and hopefully, you win too.” Following with the example of the executive making a decision, the executive can be more cooperative when there are more people involved. This could be where the executive wins first then everyone else wins afterwards, or, it could be the company’s decision making policy comes first before the employees, customers, vendors, etc. The behavior here is about cooperation, but it’s also about how the decision that is made is going to put one entity’s priorities or interests first and above all others. It’s not about others losing or forcing something, but rather making the best decision for one specific party or interest.

At Level 4 (still in light blue) we have about 70% anabolic energy. The philosophy with this level of energy is “You win.” The core thought at this level is concern, interest and care for others. Those experiencing Level 4 energy are successful people who are able to get a lot done in less time. The core feeling or emotion here is compassion, sympathy, and concern for the suffering or misfortune of others. These feelings can be described as empathy, warmth, tenderness, and kindness. The results of these feelings are serving and helping others. Individuals with this level of energy are known as “The Helpers.” Continuing with our executive example, the behavior at Level 4 is all about concern for the other party. The decision is made solely with the other person/entity in mind. An example would be an executive who put their employees needs and interests first and made sure they are completely taken care of with hopes the company’s needs were also met in the process too. Many times this type of decision making requires executives to go out on a limb.

Level 5 is ideally the level where the philosophy is “We all win or no one wins.” Very successful people operate at this level of energy. They are able to create opportunities everywhere. It is at this level where we reconcile right and wrong and good and bad instead of looking at things in judgement. The core thought at this level is reconciliation, where we come together in agreement and understanding. Any judgement we may have disappears at this level. The core feeling or emotion at this level is one of peace, calmness, harmony, and contentment. The actions that result from these feelings are acceptance, a willingness to receive, and the acceptance of differences. Here is what Level 5 executive decision making looks like. The decision maker here does a couple things:

1. They share a lot of information and data with their team

2. They share the project and decision making with their team

You would see characteristics here such as trust, honesty, and forthrightness. They are seeking the decision that best meets everyone’s interests, so everyone wins. The other benefit to this approach is that the most obvious answers don’t always benefit everyone involved, and it requires sharing information and brainstorming to come up with the best answer. By taking this approach it moves the organization to a whole new level.

The last two levels exist in the outer part (purple) of the circle. At Level 6 there is almost pure anabolic energy. The core thought here is synthesis or a connection with you and everyone around you. Carl Jung described it as the “Collective Unconscious.”. The core feeling or emotion at this level is joy. There is a permanent sense of pleasure with life overall which can’t be taken from you. The action or result at this level is wisdom, or having insight, intuition, or enlightenment. This is the level where those tap into their “higher coach” and the philosophy of people at this level is “We always win.” One drawback with this level is that some may be perceived as being disconnected from reality. Our executive at Level 6 assimilates and shares information and data. They are open to trusting the instinct of others with whom they are sharing the information with by recognizing that the best decision will come from following that intuition and following the process to get you to that decision. Here, the philosophy is “We always win.”

Lastly, at Level 7, the core thought is one of non-judgement and lack of fear. This is the level of truth and true genius. Think of the color white. While it appears white has not color in it, it’s actually is made up of all the colors. When we operate in this level we are consciously aware of all other levels and can use them at will, without fear, and without judgement. The core feeling associated with this level is absolute passion or total bliss for any and all experiences. The action at this level is creation or genius thinking. Those operating with a Level 7 energy level believe “Winning and losing are illusions.” Some of the most successful executives in the world operate at this level. Executives that operate in this mode operate with a total lack of fear and while exercising non-judgment. They have an absolute passion for what they do and nobody is going to stop them from pursuing it. Executives at this level have the ability to create new experiences at will and can use all of the lower levels of energy as they choose because at this level winning and losing are just illusions.

Figure 2: Energy Self Perception Chart   Source: Bruce D. Schneider: Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching

Figure 2: Energy Self Perception Chart

Source: Bruce D. Schneider: Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching

How we display this energy and how we experience life is influenced by our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. Given the above information think about where you may show up on this scale with yourself, your friends, family, and colleagues. As a leader, is it where you want to be? Unlike our DNA, our energetic makeup can be changed if it is not serving us in the capacity we want.

If you are interested in discovering your true energetic makeup, contact us to schedule your Energy Leadership Index Assessment today. Its purpose is to help you with the following:

  • Have a much sharper awareness of who you are and how you act
  • Be able to respond instead of react to the stressors in your life in the way you want
  • Understand what drives your perceptions, feelings, and actions so you can recognize and change habits and patterns that are not serving you well

This comprehensive assessment only takes 20 minutes to complete online, and will reveal more about who you are as a leader than you ever thought you knew.

Contact us today to schedule your Energy Leadership Index Assessment!