I’m fortunate to have access to a lot of people who give freely of themselves, they seem to have endless amounts of energy and they are very generous with their time, their talents, their knowledge etc. etc. I recently watched a video where Gary Vaynerchuk was talking down a fourteen year old who was struggling with his lot in life. The interaction moved me. I have a really soft spot for men who help boys because frankly, boys need help and the pressure to be strong and not show emotion is still very real (I have two teen sons myself). Gary was being a giver that day and being a giver doesn’t come with an instruction manual.
I fit this archetype to a degree as well, I make myself accessible but if I’m honest with myself, I’m also cautious about it…
I once heard a sermon that I’ve never forgotten. The pastor described a phenomena he articulated as being a “water sprinkler parent”. You know those sprinklers that shoot out really far with a click-click-click, spray and repeat? If you watch them closely, you’ll see that it’s the grass that’s farthest from the sprinkler that gets all the water. So as the analogy goes, many pastors are susceptible to giving the most of themselves to their church or those in need in the community or even across the world. Yet the children and family can often get neglected — getting the least amount of water being the “grass” that’s closest to the sprinkler.
The reality is that no matter how energetic or extroverted some of us are — we are individual human beings. We can only scale so much. Even those who have a support staff behind them. If all our energy sprays out to the furthest patches of grass — it is the grass that closest to us which will begin to wither and/or possibly die.
Guarding your energy may seem selfish but it’s actually the most selfless thing you can do
When we guard how much of our energy goes out into the world and prioritize what’s closest and most important to us, it gives us the foundation we need to act as a more sustainable energy source. The thing about high energy, generous people is that they sometimes lose themselves in their acts of generosity. Being generous gets the endorphins flowing and the act of giving for some people can be so rewarding that it begins to eclipse everything else. As with most things in life — a healthy balance can prevent burning out, crashing or waking up one day only to realize that you’ve given the best parts of you to the people farthest from you.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be generous. I’m not saying we shouldn’t give of ourselves. What I am saying (as a giver) is that it’s on us to self regulate how, where, why and to who we give our energy to. The more energy a person radiates, the more demand there will be for their time and attention so if you’re a giver of all of the above and you feel at times, depleted — you can’t blame others for that. High energy people attract others who become infused by the energy source.
So if you’re someone who can relate — and you thrive off sharing your energy, don’t do so naively. Your energy isn’t an endless source. There might be those closest to you who need more of it. Dispense your energy wisely. Guard it when needed. It’s your most precious resource and it’s on you to steward the gift you’ve been given.