A Phased Approach

Following up on my last blog post, I wanted to expand on one of the realizations that have recently come to me. As I mentioned previously, I’ve recently restarted a self-development program called Reset. Over the course of 16 weeks, our coach, François Lemay, gradually introduces various concepts and exercises to help us transform our lives. This is now the fourth time I’ve participated in the program, yet it is like an entirely new program each time I take it.

As François’ understanding of the world evolves, so does the Reset program. This year, he has introduced the concept of energy phases – this is what I wanted to discuss today.

In one of our recent modules, François presented the graphic you see above. This is how he visualizes the world. At any given point, each of us are in one of the three phases – Alignment, Movement, Regeneration.

  • Alignment: This phase is when you take stock on what your need is, and build/design/layout the framework (whether concretely or mentally) for what you need to do to meet that need.
  • Movement: This is the phase where you’re in “action-mode”. You’re living the out the plan that you’ve chosen to do. This is where we spend most of our lives – doing. This phase eats up an enormous amount of resources (time, energy, etc.)
  • Regeneration: This phase is when you take a step back, recharge your batteries, rest and recover.

The first challenge with these phases is being able to recognize which one you are in. By default, most people spend the bulk of their time in the movement phase, and periodically shift into regeneration mode when they are feeling tired, run down or sick. It’s largely done unconsciously. People who suffer from burnouts are staying in the movement phase too long and aren’t taking the necessary time to regenerate their mental and physical energy. I was falling into the opposite trap.

My big realization over the past couple of weeks has been that I have been living in the regeneration phase for far too long. While in and of itself this doesn’t seem like a bad thing, because this is where you rest, recover your energy and generally feel better about yourself, there is a downside to staying here. You can get caught in the trap of wanting to always feel safe and secure; this also means that you are not moving forward – nothing’s changing, you’re not progressing.

A little over two year ago, I made a career move, going from a more demanding leadership role to an individual-contributor role. I no longer needed to worry about 20-some other individuals and their needs and performance, just focus on my own tasks and projects. Then, a year ago, I further shifted and took my current role where I focus most of my time and energy in creating and generating reports for others to use. These two actions were me moving into the Regeneration phase. I had come to the conclusion that I needed to put the focus on myself for a while; to get my mind and soul back to where they were before. And it has done wonders. But after two years of being in the same phase, I’m feeling trapped. I’ve become afraid to try things, to push myself into the movement phase, for fear of losing that feeling of serenity that I’ve cultivated. I’m stagnating.

Over the past week or two, I’ve consciously shifted myself into the alignment phase. I’m deciding what I want to do; what my soul needs in the moment. I want to be more vigilant with my energy phases and follow through the cycles. There will be some challenges and likely some wavering of engagement on my part, but I will do my best to endure and power through. I can’t wait to see how life will amaze me going forward.

And how about you? Where do you think you’re currently located in your phases? Do you tend to spend more time in one over another? Or are you one of those people, like I was, who is just stuck in that one phase?

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