I am so busy”, “I could use a nap”, “I am just tired”.  

Does any of these sound familiar to you? If yes, you belong to the vast majority of adults who keep going every day despite all such feelings – like driving a car with a flat tire.

What happens when you drive a car like that? The engine has to work extra hard to move the car forward, it’s performance goes down and eventually, it causes a breakdown and/or a fatal accident. For the human, it shows up in low morale, lower performance, physical sickness and eventually leading to burning out, etc. “Isn’t that normal, what everyone else is doing?” my client Mark got impatient in a recent coaching session. Mark is a director at a global manufacturing firm in the mid-west.

Yes, it is the norm, unfortunately. The good news is, we can do something about it by cultivating emotional vitality – increasing more joy in our lives. In the EQ (Emotional Intelligence) assessments for my high achieving, high performing clients, very often I see one outlier – very low emotional vitality. According to this book, Emotional Energy Factor by Mora Kirshenbaum,

70% of our total energy needs have to be from emotional energy. Navigating the challenges of life with low emotional vitality is like driving off road with low tire pressure. It puts an enormous burden on one’s willpower.

Self-care, hobbies and fun, meaningful activities help build emotional energy. Sadly enough, most of us are very stingy about self-care. We don’t have time to do anything fun, hobbies or any other regular activities for our own pleasure. Not too long ago, when I noticed this in my own EQ profile, I started a few activities to address it. One of them was taking a Zumba class which brought quite a joy in my life. Hiking in nature, spending quality time with friends and family, spending time for a hobby are some other ways to increase one’s emotional vitality.

Mark is well liked by his team, he is happily married with two young children, he also recently received a well-deserved promotion. It all looked perfect. As I asked him about the promotion, surprisingly, he responded with a very low tone. “It’s ok,… same old, same old, I don’t feel any genuine excitement inside me”. 

“When was the last time you felt a genuine excitement?” I asked. After some struggle and a long pause, he said, “I used to do woodwork with my Dad, it became my hobby as I grew older. When do woodwork I forget everything, all I enjoy is the smell of wood and the joy of creating something with my hands”. That evening Mark got in touch with his sense of joy and recommitted himself to make time for woodwork at least once a week. 

Dear Reader, you must be wondering how this solves the “problem” at work. Here is the interesting part.

People with high emotional vitality are usually more excited and energized, they collaborate well with others – they get their joy from everyday life. When you integrate self-care, fun activities in your life, you are having those good set of tires in your car. Since your engine is supported by the resilient tires, you are now ready to embrace all sorts of an off-road adventure. 

Just imagine, how that would look like at work and other areas of your life!