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Crystal Salt

From Burnout to Burning Passion?

Some might think the promise in the headline is a bridge too far but I seek to point my clients to that level of passion for their goals, so long as we can envision manageable steps along the way. The book, Powered by Me by Neha Sangwan MD is almost an instruction manual chock full of steps to raise one’s self-awareness leading to resilience to move toward goals that fear and doubt prevents.

I met Neha through a session run by David Goldsmith, a coaching mentor. She piqued my interest with her focus on managing five energies that lead us to moving from burnout to following a self-determined path. When David promised that all attendees who bought the book would be invited to weekly sessions led by Neha covering the five energies I jumped at the chance.

We just finished our five meetings. Neha ran the sessions more as a friend and confidant than an MD instructor. She would regularly interrupt the flow to allow us to share or she would refer to one of the many personal experiences in the book that either made her aware of the burnout she was living with or where she took action to honor her values carrying her toward more validating life and work choices. In what was a big risk she left a secure partnership in a thriving (and way too busy) medical practice to become a consultant and author. I could feel her high level of anxiety as I read her story.

The five energies one must become aware of are physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Now some might be thinking, “Okay another book on wellness.” At a surface level that is valid. I have read dozens of books in my search for tools and tactics of the best ways to build self-awareness and translate that into making choices in our lives and at work that honor our values and highest aspirations. Powered by Me is the first book that provides tools and tactics for both greater self-awareness (physical, mental, spiritual energy) and making choices in the real world (emotional, social energy). Kind of like a one stop shop for not only recovering from burnout, but retooling to build direction and resilience to deal with the inevitable resistance the world will bring us.

I encourage you all to check out Powered by Me. Her “prescription” is based on identifying our internal navigation system (the five energies). When incoming data for any energy is misinterpreted or dismissed we find ourselves struggling or confused. She directs us to “identify what we missed and use

it to recalculate the best path on our journey.”

Here are some headlines detailing each of the energies:

Physical Energy – When your body needs to communicate that something is changing it uses signals (heart racing, stomach turning, sweating, etc.) to get your attention, like the check engine light in your car.

Mental Energy – We value analytical thought, speed and productivity so much that we often revere the mind above all other energies. To this end, we dismiss the body’s cries for rest, the heart’s desire to express itself and the soul’s longing for purpose and meaning.

Emotional Energy – We often gravitate toward emotions that feel good and avoid the awkward or uncomfortable ones. When one ignores challenging emotions they don’t go away, they grow and become a consistent energy drain.

Social Energy – We are communal beings who require connection and belonging to thrive. This connection must be worked at! Developing strong relationships requires asking for help, valuing other’s styles and drawing healthy boundaries.

Spiritual Energy – Your own set of values direct all the other energies toward what gives your life meaning. They reveal “why” you do what you do. They lead you through uncertainty, standing up for yourself, transitions and toward risk when needed.

At the end, Neha shared the outcome of raising our awareness of these five energies. We will become Me-Powered. She even describes the four phases we may go through to get there depending on our level of burnout – Other Powered; Me-Conflicted; Me-Aware; Me-Aligned.

In addition to the several medical and social studies she cites to validate her thesis, there are easy to follow tools to identify and assess our awareness and management of each energy. She is generous in sharing many personal stories to show she has taken this journey herself. As I closed the book, I was completely energized to take action to better my own path forward.

1 Comment

Nov 21, 2023

Thanks for sharing this, and I've just ordered the book on your recommendation. These five energies are well-validated and used in CCL's "Burn Bright" offerings. The addition of the tools and techniques along with the focus on intentional choices sounds powerful. I look forward to digging in!

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