If you’re trying to figure out what your personal Red Thread is all about, start with what you can do better than anyone else. For many people, figuring out what’s going to be powerful for them is easier said than done. Power is energy sustained over time. So, where does our energy come from? And how do we find a way to keep using it regardless of the situation?
There are three basic concepts surrounding energy that can help you clarify things. First of all, there are certain activities that are net energy negative: they drain our energy when we do them, probably because we’re not that great at them. There are other things that are net energy neutral: you might be pretty good at them, but you don’t necessarily feel one way or the other about them after you do them.
What you really need to pay attention to, though, are the net energy positive things that give you energy when you do them. What are those problems that you just can’t stand to see? What ideas get you excited? Energy is a signal of the potential power behind something. Pay attention to where you feel energy coming back to you, and you’ll have the key to unlocking the powerful pieces of your personal Red Thread.
– What are some of the things that you could do in your sleep, the things that seem so easy to you and so mystical or hard for others? Any of those things can be a clue to what your personal Red Thread is really all about, and it all comes down to energy. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com and that’s what we’re talking about this week on Find the Red Thread.
When you can find the thing that you do better than anyone else, whether you’re an individual or organization, that is the source of incredible power. It’s the source of value to the people you serve. It’s differentiation that translates into real dollars in the marketplace. And for whatever reason, that seems to be a very difficult thing for people to find. What is that thing that really is going to be powerful for them?
Well, the first thing we have to understand is that power is energy sustained over time, which means we need to do two things. One, we need to understand where our energy comes from and second, we need to apply it in a way that we can keep applying it, regardless of what the situation is.
I like to think of these things that we do, everything from everyday administrative tasks to philosophical questions and the problems that you solve, the monsters you slay, and the swords you carry, in terms of three basic concepts, all tied back to energy. And it’s about how to think about, when you do something, what does it do to how you feel? And this is where the three pieces come in.
There are certain things that we do, that when we do them, they absolutely drain our energy— probably because we’re not any good at them or we don’t think we’re any good at them. They’re the things that pretty much anybody could do better than us and we want them to, because we hate doing it. It’s the least favorite things that we’ve got to do. So one thing is pay attention to how many of your activities are energy negative like that, that they zap energy.
Second thing, second category, is what I call energy neutral. You can do these things, you’re good at them, you may even be better than other people at them, but you don’t love doing it. In fact, you’re just kind of borderline with how you feel afterwards. It’s kind of a pain, not too much of a trouble, but whatever. I’ll tell you, honestly, writing is one of those things for me. I’m pretty good at it, I just hate doing it. So I do videos instead.
Now, the one to really pay attention to, because it can be a clue to your professional or personal Red Thread is, what are those things that you do that are net energy positive? Even though you have to expend a little energy to do them, when they come back, after you’ve done them, you have more energy than before. And now this is important, because the things that give you energy are going to be, by definition, more sustainable. They’re the things you enjoy, the things that you look forward to, the things that you’ll push the other things, the energy neutral and the energy negative stuff, out of the way in order to do. What are those things for you? Pay attention to them.
Figure out, what are those problems that I just cannot stand to see? I had a great meeting with some fellow entrepreneurs today and we discovered that one of them was really focused on not wasting time, another was really focused on not wasting opportunity, another was really focused on not letting a voice go unheard. Each of those things, when you listen to how you talk about what gives you energy, the things that when you see a problem exists, you just find the energy to go solve it, that’s going to be one of those big monsters you slay.
And when we’re talking about how you solve those problems, those swords that you carry, look at what are the kinds of things that you do that you love and get energy from? You know, so for me, that’s not writing, but I love talking to people. That’s why I do this in the form of video or in audio, however you’re listening, but it’s also why I do the vast majority of my work in person, one-on-one, or on camera. I don’t like to do it as just a big group of people or, worse, on some kind of written back and forth.
Figure out, what are those things that when you do them, you feel even better afterwards and those are going to be great hints to those swords you carry. And the ideas, one of the energy positive ideas, were those ones that you were willing to get up and get ranty about, get up on a soapbox about, because you believe in them so strongly. And after you’ve talked about them, you’re like, “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel and I want other people to think about that too!”
Energy is a signal of the potential power behind something. So pay attention to where you feel energy coming back to you and then all you have to do is figure out how to link that energy to the pieces of the Red Thread and you’ll turn them into your personal source of power. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com and this was Find the Red Thread.