May 2005 Issue --> Personal Article
What is Draining Your Energy Part 1
By: Cheri Baumann


The Lack of a Strong Personal Foundation is a Major Energy DrainerWhat happens when you are under a lot of pressure and it feels like everyone and everything wants a piece of you?
Do you crumble inside? Do you get angry and awful to be around? Do you get sick? Curl under the covers and hope for it all to go away? How much energy do you have when this happens? Probably not a lot.
Maybe you react in another way. Perhaps you just drink more coffee, shut down your feelings, and plow through whatever is in front of you. During this process you may ‘feel’ energized, but this form of energy comes at a huge price. Down the road, perhaps just when whatever was in front of you has been dealt with, or perhaps much later, you collapse. Your body says, “I’ve reached my limit” in some way or another.
Now what if there was a way you could respond to situations proactively rather than react to them after the fact, and lose so much energy in the process?
Having a Strong Personal Foundation is that way.
Just as a skyscraper needs to have a strong foundation to avoid collapsing under stress, so too must your life. A strong personal foundation provides you with the tools and inner resources to handle all of life’s situations with finesse and grace. Without it, you will always be struggling against something and draining your energy.
It’s a fact. The stronger your foundation, the easier your life becomes and the amount of energy you have increases. Instead of spending the majority of your time in ‘crisis control’, you can focus your time on activities that are meaningful and fulfilling, and increase your energy as a result.
A strong personal foundation allows you to eliminate and prevent common problems that are usually thought of as an expected part of life. Here are the 4 basic elements of a strong personal foundation:
  1. Gaining a better understanding of what is most important to you and then implementing a plan to ensure your life becomes an expression of exactly that.
    Determine what your core values are (not the societal or familial ones you grew up with), but the ones that are absolutely personal to you only and then create a life strategy that is oriented around them. A simple exercise to help you do this is to make a list of 5 people you admire the most. Next, list all of the qualities you admire about these people. Review the list and look for patterns in these qualities. Qualities that repeat themselves are most likely to be some of your true core values. Now start making decisions based upon these and watch your energy begin to increase.
  2. Living your life based upon a set of standards that allows you to constantly be in integrity.
    Personal standards refer to the behavior and actions to which you hold yourself accountable. For example, one may have the personal standard that ‘I tell the truth’. Raising that standard to ‘I always tell the truth’ now holds you accountable to not even ‘telling white lies’. We may think that a ‘white lie’ is alright and doesn’t hurt anyone, when in fact it does hurt someone – it hurts you and drains your energy in the process.
  3. Proactively getting your needs met so that you are not wasting your energy constantly chasing after them.
    Everyone has a set of personal needs. Don’t mistake common needs like the need for love, shelter, water etc. with personal needs. Personal needs drive us to certain behaviors that may or may not be good for us. For example, someone may have the personal need of attention and in order to get it met, may stay in a relationship that is not good for them. If the person was aware of this need, then he or she could make decisions to proactively get it met in a more positive way.
    There is another price that we pay for not being aware of our needs. Think of a glass of water - you are the glass, and all of your life energy is the water. Each personal need that is not being met is like a hole in your glass of water. How much water is draining from your glass?
  4. Extending your boundaries so you feel secure within yourself by protecting yourself from outside pressures.
    Boundaries are like imaginary lines that you draw around yourself to define the way others and the outside world may ‘be’ with you.
    Imagine that your life is like a table. The top of the table is made up your core values. The legs of the table are the standards you live your life by and what supports your values. Boundaries now, are the rules that you set to allow someone to come and eat at your table. If you don’t set any rules, your table may become an awful mess, and it will take a lot of energy to clean it up.
These are the basic elements of a strong personal foundation. I encourage you to take a good look at how you can strengthen yours. Remember, a skyscraper does not start at street level. A tall building requires a very deep and strong foundation. This holds true for people as well. If you want to have lots of energy, and live an easier, simpler and more fulfilling life, then take the time to strengthen yours.
Cheri Baumann, Life Strategist, Personal Development Coach & trainer with My Private Coach, Personus Coaching & Training, and the University of British Columbia. You can get more information about Cheri at and contact her for a complimentary coaching session at either or . This article may be published without the consent of the author as long as the publisher’s box is included in the post.
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