When you live in the desert of Arizona, there are two absolute must-haves in the summer: a swimming pool and a dependable air-conditioning system. When our family moved to a new house this summer, we quickly realized that the latter was just barely keeping our house habitable. Our system was running on overdrive just to keep the house at 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The result? High energy costs and many sleepless nights.
To get to the bottom of our problem, we hired a Thermographer (which I had no idea existed) to assess the efficiency of our house and the status of our system. Turns out, our house was bleeding energy. The system was inefficient, ductwork was incomplete, and walls were uncapped. As we walked the house with an infrared camera seeing hot spots everywhere, I couldn’t help but reflect on how frequently human beings are unaware of their own energy leaks.
The truth is, these energy leaks are easy to miss the longer they exist. They create a comfortable numbness that you start to ignore. While some energy leaks are obvious (like illnesses), others might stem from habits, work environment, or an extra load you willingly put on yourself.
Recently, Scott, our Chief Performance Officer, had 3 months in a row where he was continuously crossing 8+ timezones. Knowing this was coming, he had his blood drawn before this demanding stretch and again afterward. On the surface, he appeared okay and even felt okay since he followed his High Impact Travel strategies. Unfortunately, his blood biomarkers (another version of a Thermographer) told a different story. His testosterone and growth hormone levels were bottomed out, both of which are critical for recovery. His cortisol production was pretty much non-existent, meaning he had adrenal fatigue to the point that his body could no longer adequately respond to his stress load. Even his HbA1c was slightly elevated, so his blood sugar had been unusually high. This was a huge 'aha' for even those of us inside TIGNUM because he was doing everything he could to manage this stress and rule his impact, but like all of us, he's still human.
In another case, we were testing a wearable and wanted to see the impact of the heat waves the world has been experiencing. Being a glutton for punishment and for data, I decided to bike to work to see the impact elevated temperatures have on my recovery. When I left my house, it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit and I was feeling energized for the day. However, during my ride home in the 113-degree temperature, my wearable indicated the load was twice that of my morning ride. Continuing the house example, it was as if I left my front door and windows open and energy was leaking everywhere. The next day, my recovery markers showed that just that one day of exposure to the heat had left me significantly under-recovered.
The fact is that we often don't know where our energy leaks are. We may even feel okay in the short run but then find ourselves surprised by sudden fatigue. Becoming aware of your energy leaks and taking action to stop some of them will allow you to show up optimized and prepared to handle the load you are under so you can Rule Your Impact.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.