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We’ve all experienced those people, places, thoughts and experiences that inspire us and move us into appreciation or action. We’ve also all experienced the contrary situations of times we’ve felt weighed down, blocked or stuck.

When people talk about energy, they tend to use the terms negative/positive or bad/good.

  • “I got a bad vibe about that place.”
  • “She’s full of positive energy.”

In the Energy Leadership model created by Bruce D. Schneider, we prefer to use the terms catabolic and anabolic. Think of catabolic as:

  • being more in line with destructive thoughts, feelings and/or reactions.
  • energy that dissipates when it is released.

The average person lives in a catabolic state from 75% to 90% of the time. Living in a catabolic state generates a significant amount of stress and uses up a huge amount of your energetic resources.

We do not judge catabolic as bad energy and anabolic as good. And, it is not about eliminating catabolic energy from your life. In fact, when you understand how these two energies work, catabolic energy can actually be harnessed to drive anabolic reactions.

What percentage of your life are you living mired in catabolic thoughts? How often are the choices you make destructive in nature? Do your actions undermine your goals or your relationships? Or are you so paralyzed by an inability to choose or act that you are stuck on the sidelines, watching life pass you by?

The first step to change is awareness. Begin to make a mental note (or actually jot it down) each time a catabolic thought pops up today. Don’t try to change or fix anything…just be aware. Right now, catabolic energy is generating stress in your life.

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