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Working with Energy

This piece was started weeks before it wanted to be finished; it simply didn’t want to be written fast. I thought about writing something else at the time, but that didn’t feel right either, so seeing this was about energy, I thought I would spend some time noticing where the energy was.

Slowly I became aware that, perhaps, this not writing wasn’t for a lack of energy, rather there was too much energy, an energy that scared me somewhat. The image of a horse bolting out of the stable came to mind, the sense of a horse bucking and me trying to hold on, I know that type of energy and I have learned to respect it, fear it a little bit.

What I noticed in one of my programmes was that in order to move a horse, you need to notice where their energy is. One of the horses demonstrated beautifully that if you simply pushed energy towards him without paying attention to the direction of his energy, nothing much happened. Let me correct that, a lot happened, the horse resisted more and more, it became less and less likely to move.

Discussing this with the participants we spoke about how this reminded us of what happens in organisations. What it reminded us of, is trying to make a change in an organisation which has no relationship to the energy and direction of that organisation. Some theories of change assume that nothing is happening in an organisation before we decide to change something, and yet those of us discussing there in the workshop agreed that there is always energy present. You can go with that energy, you can shift the direction of that energy, and you ignore it at your peril. Each of us had stories of how when we discovered and worked with that energy, real change might happen. Whereas if we just put in energy without being aware of the energy of the organisation, the only energy we felt coming back was frustration and resistance.

We saw something else in the ring, often when someone got the horse going, the energy flowing so to say, they next positioned themselves in such a way that they stopped the horse again. You could argue that this was because they didn’t know how to work with a horse and that is partially true. It also reminded me, however, of the idea that often we are the ones who stop the change. We somehow block the energy, we may do so unconsciously, and still it is us doing that.

And that then brings me back to why this didn’t want to be written, because apart from not writing this, I have been stopping some energy recently. Since starting to write these blogs I became more and more clear that this is an important part of my work. And I had ideas about next programmes, about taster days and a coaching circle. And I didn’t do anything about it; because if I did – the horse might bolt, I might need to make choices about what I do and don’t do that I hadn’t made yet.

In order to write this blog I needed to not only understand that you need to see energy before you can work with it, I needed to apply it. And I learned again that in order to lead we need to be able to see, follow and then work with the energy that’s already there… even when it scares us, especially when it scares us.

This is nr 7 in a series of 13 about my insights from 2013 which i took into 2014 ... These have been published on my earlier website and I am reposting them here because they still feel relevant.


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