Daily Archives: September 25, 2013

Low energy and its causes

Today I am having a low energy day.  There might be a number of reasons why these days happen.  Low energy days, months, years, can happen, but why do they happen?  These moments are the building blocks of burn out syndrome.  Before discussing what we need to do to get our energy back, perhaps we need to focus on the causes so they don’t happen in the first place.

So, what can cause low energy?  Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Physical reasons – Not enough sleep, depression, poor eating, etc. can cause low energy.
  • Not enough kudos – Yep, not feeling appreciated could lower your energy.  This could mean kudos in terms of monetary compensation as well as gratitude.
  • Too many energy vampires – Too many people using your energy for their purposes can get you into an energy slump.
  • Not enough support – When you feel you have to do everything yourself, your energy cannot sustain this scenario.
  • You commit to too many people and projects – Many of us have trouble saying no.
  • Emergency situations – Your adrenals go into overdrive and you are left feeling utterly exhausted!

There may be other reasons as well, but these seem to be the top causes of low energy and the road to burn out. 

What happens during these low energy moments?

  • Fizzled passions
  • Thoughts of giving up
  • Wanting to cancel
  • Cravings for a really long nap
  • Entertaining new directions

Aha! Entertaining new directions.  This means that low energy moments could have a big purpose in our lives.  They do trigger the thoughts that something is not quite working right, and it might be time for a change.  Low energy moments do have this silver lining and can help you get back on a track that feels better for you.

But, how does this relate to audience development?

You can’t give your best to others if you yourself are in a low energy lull.  This seems to be happening to many nonprofit orgs and arts businesses, mainly due to chugging along the same old path that continues to drain our energy and continues to not work. 

Another way low energy relates to audience development, if you continue to take and take from your audiences and not give back to them in ways to increase their energy, this causes a vicious cycle to happen.  Your audiences will burn out on you and eventually your arts business will burn out as well. 

For example, I heard from a past volunteer of an organization.  She said she was burnt out because they took so much energy from her. She is no longer associated with this organization and rarely attends events by them.  She needed time away to recuperate. They lost a sensational volunteer and audience member because they didn’t give back to her.

How can we turn the energy around?

You can end this low energy cycle by using the best of audience development, which is appreciating your people in ways that bring more energy and joy.  This will start a high energy cycle instead. What can you do to help them be happier?  What are your audiences’ wants and needs that you are able to fulfill? You reap what you sow, so why not sow better energy so you can reap better energy?

Wouldn’t this be much better?

– Shoshana

PS Give and take is best when balanced.  Look to see if you are causing any imbalances in yourself, your life, and other people’s lives. 

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