Yesterday my two daughters had two birthday parties.
Needless to say, by the time the evening arrived, they were totally ramped up. They were loud, rambunctious, and everything that young children should be (though, not always). At one point, one of the adults at the second party said, “Wow, they’ve got a lot of energy.”
And they do. Often, too much for me and my wife.
While it may be a struggle to keep up, high-energy is something to be harnessed in the positive. High-energy often also means high productivity, if, of course, it can be tapped appropriately.
This made me think more about the importance of meeting all learners where they are, and making sure that the challenges, and supports, we provide are tied to what individuals need. Those with bounds of energy need to be able to express themselves in ways that allow that energy to be used; they also need boundaries and safety nets to catch them if they go to close to the edge or overexert themselves.
In most cases, our “energy level” ebbs and flows throughout our lives, but often, if we are high-energy youngsters, we retain much of that enthusiasm and “gusto” through our adult lives. In our family, I tend to be super high-energy while my wife is more reserved. While both of our children would be classified as “energized,” my oldest clearly operates on “high-test” batteries.
In our professional families, we see much the same. The fluctuations in energy and enthusiasm don’t only shift with our staff members and learners, but adjust with the given topic or initiative at hand as well. We need to truly know what makes our communities tick, if we are to support them and set them free at the right moments, and for the right reasons.
A key part of leadership is helping those we serve figure out how best to use their stored energy when it is high, and recharge when it is low. A part of that, in turn, also means making sure our own batteries are charged and ready.
I’m happy to be the parent of two energetic kids. I’m also happy to be a leader and a learner in an organization that works hard to harness everyone’s collective energy. And that is something we must do if we are to help reach the heights that we know we can be capable of.