Energy Leaks in Your Life = Energy Leaks in Your Business

Phone rings, dog barks, child screams from the kitchen. Oh, is it my turn to drive the car pool? Oops!

If you’re an entrepreneur working from your home, you’ve probably thought about putting a padlock on the door to your office or, at the very least, purchasing one of those little noise diffusers so that you can block out all the noises and nuisances that drive you to distraction as your creative juices spin and swirl and dance in your head.

But even if you work outside the home, there are energy leaks everywhere. Energy leaks rob you of your creativity.

They keep you up at night.

They send you screaming into the day with troublesome to do lists, sleep deprivation, guilt. Instead of feeling like a little hanky panky once the kids are in bed, you’re feeling downright cranky.

I have a unique perspective on this phenomenon. You see I’m right in the trenches with you. I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur who specializes in helping fellow entrepreneurs nourish themselves, at every level. And the biggest problem I see in my practice is Energy Leak Syndrome.

Energy leaks in your life mean energy leaks in your business.

If you want to feel good about your life and stay awake long enough to ENJOY doing what you love, you’ve got to attend to the leaks. Here are a few of my suggestions:

1. Establish clear and consistent boundaries with friends, family, and colleagues. It isn’t your job to speak for others, read their minds, or to worry about them. A little positive energy goes a long way. Keep your side of the street clean and bright and let others sweep their own curb.

2. No is a complete sentence. How many times do we say yes to a friend, colleague, or loved one when we really want to say, no? If you’re a “yes person,” begin with, “I’ll think about that and get back to you.” It takes anywhere from sixty to ninety days to change a habit. This is a great start.

3. Change your mind. Be willing to withdraw your commitment to committees, volunteer work, social obligations, car pools—whatever it is that contributes to the stress load in your life. You’re allowed to change your mind. Look for the story you’re telling yourself about your commitments and then be willing to write a new script.

4. How important is it? The next time you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with restless mind syndrome, ask yourself, “How important is it?” Give yourself the gift of perspective.

5. Don’t be reluctant to ask for help. If you have a lot of responsibility at work or at home, consider hiring a personal assistant. That may sound like an extravagance but I guarantee the cost of the assistant will be far less than the cost to your health. And if you don’t yet have a virtual assistant—what are you waiting for?

6. Stay away from people who drain your energy.It is not your job to be a receptacle for someone else’s sorrow, anger, or wrath. If this one has you stymied, go back to numbers one and two. This is a boundary issue.

7. Create a nourishment menu. What feeds you? A walk in the woods? An intimate conversation with a wise and wonderful friend? How about music, art, dance, or just curling up with a good book? Do you give yourself permission to have fun? Every time you feel your energy leaking, replenish it with something from your nourishment menu.

8. Slow down. If you’re someone who lives a massively over-scheduled life, you may want to play with the question, “What am I running from?”

9. Detach from drama. When we make a concentrated effort to look at the positive side of a situation, our energy lifts. Closing one door in our life gives us the spaciousness to open another.

10. Did I say have fun? Good, it bears repeating.

Here’s to unbridled energy and a flourishing business.


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Sue Ann GleasonSue Ann Gleason is a culinary nutritionist, radiant life expert, and writer living in the Washington, DC area with her husband John. When not working with clients, she can be found sampling exotic chocolates or building broccoli forests in her mashed potatoes. Click here for Sue Ann's No Longer Asleep at the Meal ebook or check out her chocolate playground on facebook.


  1. Great post, Sue Ann! :)

    I love #7! I don’t stop and ask myself enough about what “feeds” me. And when you say it like that, with the word nourishment, it becomes even more important to me that I take some time in my schedule to replenish.

  2. Bianca, I have my nourishment menu on my desk. I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur. I could happily work all day and into the wee hours of the night/morning. I really have to remind myself to nourish. Yes, me too. My adrenals thank me. It’s so much easier to prevent than to repair. Thanks for reading and responding to the post.

  3. Great post, Sue Ann! I especially like #1. All the others spring from that, ya know? If you want to transform your life (or the world) stay with yourself instead of jumping around trying to live everyone else’s lives for them. Love the wisdom you shared here! xo

  4. Yes, Helen, yes! One of my favorite lines is: Your opinion of me is none of my business. (Or maybe that’s “busy”ness.) Here’s to transformation. And celebrating even the smallest steps. . .

  5. Such great advice Sue Ann! These are wonderful insights to help anyone from going into “victim” mode. What we need to understand , is the greatest gift we can give anyone, is our “presence”. That requires us, giving time to ourselves, so we can be present, and not scattered all over the place ( “leaking” everywhere.) ! Especially remembering to have fun!

  6. ESPECIALLY remembering to have fun. Thank you, Pat. I’m dipping into my nourishment menu right now. Thank goodness I can still find a way to “play” in my kitchen. . .

  7. I’m also going to forward this to my daughter. Really great ” boundary-setting” guidance
    Sue Ann!

  8. A friend of mine once mentioned that his greatest energy drain are his kids. Imagine that as a writer, you get better results writing in “the zone.” With kids around, it’s almost impossible to get in there.

    • Kevin, I hear you! LOL In my first life I was a first grade teacher, so I fully understand the “no zone” dilemma. Now, I help people “negotiate” zone time with their partners, their babysitters, their colleagues, their friends—whoever they can nab! Perhaps you can invest in some “trade time” with a friend who has the same needs. I suspect those kids are going to be around for a very long time. . .

  9. Love this post. I love Change Your Mind … we unintentionally overcommit sometimes and while I’m not a fan of breaking my word. There are times when breaking my word trumps breaking myself (from stress/exhaustion/complete and total overwhelm). Also love “No is a complete sentence.” … we (especially women) forget that we don’t OWE anyone an explanation for anything. No is all we need to say.

    Always such great tips from you, Sue Ann! :)

    • “Breaking my word trumps breaking myself.” Beautiful, Cris. Doesn’t that paint a colorful picture of what it really means to overcommit at the expense of our health and vitality.

      This has been a journey for me, too. The healer’s journey, yes? One step at a time. It’s a practice.

      I look forward to watching you give yourself permission to do all kinds of things to change your mind and nourish yourself from the inside out.

  10. Oh yes, the energy leak syndrome…it can get to those of us who work for ourselves. But you’ve identified ways to deal with brilliantly. I’ve gotten better with boundaries and saying no, but only recently have I embraced #7. The nourishment menu=genius!

  11. LOVE your Truth and clarity here, Sue Ann. Ah! Makes me feel like standing up and saying No to the things that do not serve. And saying Yes to the things that make life easy and fun.

    Thanks for your inspiration! You never cease to amaze me and make me say “Ooooooo!”

  12. Great post Sue Ann. I love all of them especially #5 because I often try and handle everything myself when what I need to be doing is just asking and delegating tasks.

    • Yes, Cynthia! Where did we get the idea that handling everything ourselves was somehow noble? I’m still working on this one, but for me, it’s learning to “trust” that someone else will take on the task with the same level of dedication and care. Here’s to finding people in our lives to support us as we grow and evolve. . .

  13. A great reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in your story and forget to step back. It happened to me just the other day. I was momentarily overwhelmed by everything coming at me and began an interaction with one of my coworkers annoyed and defensive. I luckily realized what was happening quickly, but it’s so easy to fall back into.

    • Love it that you noticed the tone of the interaction, got curious, and didn’t beat yourself up for falling back into old habits. First we notice. Then we start making different choices. And finally, we integrate new behaviors in our life and the old ones no longer exist. Thank you for leaving a comment, Jon.

  14. Thanks for the timely article, SueAnn & LKR! Perfect timing to consider this, especially during the holidays, where we have the added craziness! Secretly, these days, I kinda enjoy the challenge of “stopping the leaks” during the Holidays. It’s my specialty :)

    • I think when we start changing our habits, establishing new boundaries and finding our voice, we get a little giddy, yes? It’s almost like we have a new toy to play with. Holidays are a GREAT time to practice boundaries. How many holiday functions do you attend out of obligation and how many out of sheer joy? Here’s to plugging a few more leaks! Thank you, Aimee.

  15. GREAT article. Needed to read that tonight. Stay at home mama and full time entrepreneur. I finally realized with some help from a friend that I needed to “ask for more help than I think I deserve “. I did that and it helped so much. I’m actually thinking of asking for even more help! And I’m looking at the energy leaks of negative people in my life as well as not taking care of my own nourishment. The food I’m getting back on track with, but I’m not really doing much of anything else but working or being a mama. Need to find better ways to divide up my time as well as making commitments to get UP and Move my body more. xo

    • This is a process, Catherine. Giving yourself permission to ask for help is HUGE. Yay you!

      Look, you loved it so much you’re ready for more. It’s so much easier to give than to receive, yes?

      I suspect you do far more than you give yourself credit for: “not really doing much of anything else but working (full time entrepreneur) and mama.” Wow! That’s actually “three” jobs right there.

      Start crafting that menu, Catherine. Sounds like some sort of nourishing (fun) movement is going to be at the top of that list! Let me know how it goes.

  16. Fantastic list of tips Sue Ann! You know I am a huge fan of yours and LKR. I have been working on boundaries and managing time spent with people who drain my energy. The bonus is that when I do that, I create space for people who give me energy. :)

    • That’s a golden nugget, Laurie. Spaciousness. What can we let go of to create space for things, people, even activities that fill us (nourish us) in a deeper more satisfying way? Thank you.

    Sue Ann!

    As always, your words inspire me AND make me smile! I love the Nourishment Menu–I am going to work on mine tonight (sleep, the good quality stuff, goes at the top of the list).

    I am making it a practice to disconnect all energy vampires from my life–especially people who want to plug in to my energy and use me as their power plant :)

  18. Slowing down is the best advice that I got from this article because in this fast paced life when everything is just chaotic, slowing down is the key to get things better.

    • Especially at this time of year, Mike. I like to leave a little “white space” in my day when the holidays come splashing into my life. My favorite greeting card saying: I used to be driven. Then I pulled over. I’m still pulling over. . . one day at a time. Thanks for illuminating that!

  19. WOW! This is something I needed to read right now as the year ends and plans are being laid out for 2012. I need to remember to “slow down” at times, I find that I am both flying all around like a busy bee not a butterfly! Back to basics in 2012, not to mention the obvious. Thanks for these remarkable reminder.

  20. Thank you, Nasrine. Maybe we can make a pact to remind each other how important it is to just “land” from time to time. Be well!

    Sue Ann, not only did I learn from your wise, well-written post, I gleaned tons from your follow-up comments, too! Thank you for pointing out the “leaks” and providing such do-able repairs. Time to revise my menu…

  22. What a great post. If only there was more than 24 hours in a day to put some more time for work while entertaining these distractions, sadly there isn’t. We just have to learn to work through these distractions, and learn to put them in their place. Because in the end, we are the ones who are going to be affected by it.

  23. Brilliant post Sue!! Thanks for the tips, I can totally relate. And we know, we know that some things take our focus away yet we really need reminders from our peers every now and then.
    Blessings, BK

    • Yes, Bahieh, we ALL need these reminders. I post them for myself as much as for my readers. We’re so lucky to be part of a community that “gets it” and supports each other so powerfully and profoundly.

  24. I am so grateful to see this self-care conversation continuing. If you would like further support in this area and it feels like a good fit, come on over and check it out the Inner Circle program I am launching in January. “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.? Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” ~Jane Howard