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One of the subjects that I’ve become obsessed with recently is the idea of managing my energy. Working full time as a United Way Executive, a city councilor, coaching clients, speaking to almost any audience that will have me, providing communication training for teams, being a husband, a father and trying to stay sane requires insanely high levels of energy. While I take pride in my discipline, I’m always looking for ways to improve and that’s when I stumbled upon the best best advice I’ve ever heard of for having more energy.

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Yes, I know, we all get enough diet advice, but how many of us follow it? It’s my bet that the reasons most of us don’t follow it is that 1. we get way too much information and  2. it’s all so complicated.

I picked up this advice in a fantastic little book called Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull. In the book, Sull makes the point that simple rules are easier to follow than a sex of complex rules. Shocker, I know, but think about it: how many complex diet schemes have you started and then abandoned? I’m guessing more than one.

If you follow this simple rule, you actually fuel your body with real food.No more of the factory produced toxins that lead to blood sugar spikes only to be followed by the inevitable blood sugar crash and the low energy that it brings.

By following this rule, I eat when I’m hungry. I eat until I’m full. I just don’t eat anything that I can’t pluck, pick or kill. This means fruit instead of Snicker bars, vegetables instead of Cheetos and a nice steak over a Big Mac. Not only is it delicious, it keeps me on a consistently high level of energy all day.

One thing to keep in mind: this isn’t a weight loss strategy. I’m not advising anyone on how to lose weight. It’s a strategy to better manage blood sugar levels which will translate into higher levels of energy throughout the entire day. I’ve experienced this myself. I’ve been pretty fanatical about my diet for a while now, but by eliminating all of the processed “healthy” stuff from my diet, I’ve found that I’m better able to attack every day and stay present longer when I’m engaged with someone. The side benefit has been watching my pants fit better and having more room in my suit jackets, but that’s all it is, a side benefit because nothing can top the feeling of winning the day. 

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself that it sounds way too easy to work, let me remind you that things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. Don’t get trapped into thinking that complex is better than simple. If you’re struggling with consistent energy levels, I’d urge to give it a try for a couple of weeks and see if you don’t agree that it’s the best advice you’ve ever heard.

If you have advice on how to best manage energy levels, please share it in the comments section below.

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