Pacing myself: Full speed until the fuel runs out isn’t a good strategy

Here’s a conversation where I talk about the importance of pacing myself and managing my energy throughout the course of a day. 

I have a tendency to go full speed whenever I feel energized—until my tank runs out of fuel and I crash hard. 

Today, I practiced breaking that pattern. When I felt excited or inspired by an idea, I didn’t immediately rush into action. I stayed with that feeling first, and acted more deliberately. Or at least, I tried. Turns out breaking deeply ingrained patterns isn’t that easy, but like so many things in Inner Work—it starts with awareness. You do the best you can right now, and if it matters enough, you keep practicing until you get better at it.


Today’s podcast episode is all about energy management. It’s not really time management, that’s key it’s energy management that can make all the difference in the world. And in the conversation that you’re listening to today, it’s a raw conversation. It’s the very end of a very exhausting day. You’ll be able to pick up at the beginning of the conversation.

I’m exhausted and I don’t want to have a conversation. I don’t want to record anything. I don’t want to talk about anything. But then a very important conversation develops one that I find meaningful and I wanted to share with you as well. That’s a conversation about how to manage one’s emotions and one’s inner energy levels.

Especially one thing that I’ve noticed recently is that when I get excited with enthusiastic, when I get a burst of energy, I expend that energy too quickly. I go into sprint mode too fast. And then at the end of that tunnel, I get exhausted. So I’m not really great at pacing. My peak energy levels.

Currently, you’ll hear a lot more about that topic. My observations around that and. W what the learnings are, but you’re also gonna hear a Steli that is sort of exhausted and depleted, which might be fun to some of you might be boring to others. But this is a conversation I had after a day that started with immense motivation in the morning, and then kind of crashed and burned towards the evening and then concluded in this very recording.


What I had this morning is I knew what was happening and what I was doing, but it kind of like my awareness caught up with my actions, just a tad too late. Okay. You know, I’ve been reading a lot about like suppressed emotions, right. And most of the stuff that’s written about, like suppressed emotions is usually about negative emotions.

And then a few weeks ago I read something about suppressed, positive emotions, and I thought that was kind of interesting. There was one. Thing that was described that resonated really strongly with me. And I made a mental note to keep an eye on this. And that was, that was like kind of a description of almost like sometimes when we have a very positive and powerful when we have a positive experience or a positive emotion.

Sometimes we rush really fast to share it with others, right. Or do use it to do something else. And that’s understandable, but almost like a running away from that emotion as well, versus like maybe staying with it for a moment. And when I read that I could really identify with this because especially in the last.

Let’s say two years where my energy level, where it struggled with energy, I’ve very consistently experienced this where I would have these bursts of inspiration or motivation, or, you know, just feeling creative or like Kevin, like a surge of positive emotion. And. Almost without fail when I would feel that I would run to, to others like it.

And when I say run, I mean, like I would feel, let’s say I would have like some creative ideas for content and I would like feel kind of creative. I would instantly write you seven messages and then, you know send a message to a bunch of other of my friends and the ping my co-funders to discuss, like I would.

Instantly use that energy and spread it. And without fail, I would, at the end of those sprints feel exhausted again, like it’s almost like I got a little bit of a, of a booster, Nate immediately expand all of it. And so when I read that, I was like, Oh shit, I, I do think I’ve done this many times. I want to be more mindful of it.

And. I had this this morning. So I had this may be since I’ve read that and made that mental note, maybe like twice, I did have the awareness to catch myself in an enthusiastic moment or something. And to try to tell myself, you know, not to, to just like, sit with it and enjoy it and breathe it in. Enjoy it a bit myself and grow it a little bit before I instantly use that energy and focus it outwards to peop to other people.

And, you know, it’s kind of a sh it’s been a shaky thing like twice where I noticed it, then once I was able to like, stay with it a little bit, and it was kind of nice. The other time, it was almost struggling. I was like, but I really want to write Rumi this brilliant idea. I have all these other things and I’m like, don’t just stay with you.

It’s kind of a little bit of a struggle this morning. I woke up, I got your fucking message, which put a huge smile on face. I wasn’t a great mood. And then I knew I had like a half an hour or so before I had a call with Sophie and, and Alex, it was kind of excited about that call and I’m listening to some music and I’m just, I noticed I’m like, I’m in a fucking dope mood.

And I’m like, that’s awesome. And I have like a lot of energy. I’m like dope. Awesome. So I make my breakfast, I drink my coffee. I get on this call and. It’s like an hour and a half call, super intense. Oh my God. Like just all kinds of things. Roller emotional roller coasters going on with all these people on this call, I’m on fire, hearing, all kinds of wisdom, thunders, bolting out of my ass.

We’re having a great time amazing call. Right? We hang up the call and I’m sorry. So buzzing from the call. And this has been a thing. Like dynamite. Ex-wife she’s been having a struggle that she’s been sharing with me for the past couple of days. And then when I ended the zoom call with my friends, I had this massive urge because I was in such a good mood.

I was full of energy. I had this huge urge to call her and. I had some stories that I wanted to share with her that I thought might be helpful to her with her current struggle. So I called her and I launch into this, like, you know, I’m just in the zone. Like I’m sharing all kinds of stories with her and I I’m all my animals G and love and inspiration and everything I have to give.

I’m just like giving everything I got. I’m like on stage here with an audience of one. Just like giving all I got and an hour into the call, she’s loving it. We’re having an amazing, cause she’s like super appreciative. This is a great conversation by all means. Yeah. But an hour into the call, I have like an, a moment where I go, Oh fuck.

I’ve done it again. Like you could almost feel like I went off a cliff. And I felt so exhausted and so destroyed. Like I was just like, I was full of energy, full of energy, full of energy. And then boom, my car is like in the middle of the fucking you know, freeway and it’s like out of gas and I’m like, fuck, I’m trying to like navigate through these cars.

And I’m like, and I kind of feel him, like, I’m getting stranded here. Like I don’t have any energy anymore. Like I literally. In that moment, I could have hung up curled in a ball on the couch and cried. I was so exhausted and I, and I could feel like I’m like, I’ve done it again. I had great energy in the morning.

And for now, I mean, it was two, one and a half hour calls for like three hours straight. I’ve been on a stage. Oh yeah. Okay. Speeches. And now I’m fucked. I’m just fucked. And ate and told her we laughed about it, you know, try to like, and then, you know, we ended the call and now I know I’m like, fuck in 30 minutes, call where she’s going to call me because I’m telling a story to my kids before they go to bed.

And I’m like, okay, just like read a little bit, will gather a bit of energy and they get the call. And I talked to them and I give them my best effort. And since that point, I mean, this is now, now it’s like, by that time it’s noon. So since noon, I’ve been trying to recover and just not being able to re because like, I, you know, I had a bunch of call schedule instill I altered my plans so drastically I wanted to go to the gym.

And I could just tell a little bit of throat pain. Okay. Yesterday I also had like the whole wisdom tooth being pulled and all that. And I’m like, at some point I felt like I can’t do it. Like I want to mentally go to the gym. I’m not going to the gym. And then I want to do all these things. And I had to like edit down editor in the morning, dude, this will pain you item magical moment of motivation.

And I was like, I have. To record now, like a tweet uh, posted a tree saying, you know, you’re doing fucking well. Don’t overthink. Just keep fucking going. Right. Just you’re doing whatever the fuck you’re doing right now. You’re doing well. Just keep doing it. Don’t overanalyze. Just go. And I had, I could sense in me, I’m like, if I push record now, magic is going to come out of my mouth.

I could just record magic right now. And then instead of doing that, I was like but I’m in the middle of this thing, I’ll finish this thing and then I’ll do that. And then when I finished this thing, I’m like, Oh, in three minutes, I’m having a call with Alex and Sophia. And then after the call with them, I called Ben.

And then I was, and it’s that moment of magic was gone. Right. A couple of times during the day, I was like, could I I’m like, I, I don’t have the magic. I’m like, I could record, I could make a recording about how to feel like suicidal, but I’m not, I’m not in bed. I’m not on fire anymore. And I, I just thought pacing, you know, pacing, like finding a good pace.

And not sprinting and then having to take a break and then the moment you feel energy again, I’m instantly on the sprinting. And because I have moved for so long, a pace and a rhythm that I can sustain consistently. Right. And a big part of that has been, you know, treating myself better, resting more.

Taking better care of myself and I’ve felt a consistent search of energy, right. And a fulfillment and happiness. I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been in a long time. I’m feeling great, but there’s this other part of pacing where it’s like, when I have the most energy, not overextending, not sprinting, like managing that.

That’s still something that I realize. I have to get better at like I have to learn. Yeah. And I was not aware of, or I was aware of it, but it didn’t penetrate my awareness to the point where it was a priority or something that it was like, I will now work on this and improve this in this morning. I caught myself like, just like one minute past the point.

I was like, Oh fuck, I’ve done it again. It’s too late. I can paddle back. You know, I’m already stranded. And, you know, there’s nothing I could do about this now. Like it’s just already, already done. And again, like during the day I took breaks, I tried a couple of things to like re-energized and I’ve done.

Okay. Like I had a good day, but I’ve just, I, you know, I went on a, it’s also been like a, almost a disconnect. This is another thing that I’ve. That I want to play with. And I I want to learn more about within myself. Sometimes I almost feel like there’s a too big of a spread between my emotional and mental expenditure and my physical one.

Right. And it’s almost like if I’m physically, mentally and emotionally. Either resting of the same level or expanding like active on the same level. I find that that creates a certain level of harmony. It’s almost like if I mentally, you know, work for 20 hours and just write, write, write, and do it, but I have moved my body that Delta, that difference is fucking me up in some way.

Just crazy, super weird state that you’re in. Yeah. And today I felt that I felt that like I was emotionally exhausted to the point where I didn’t want to do anything physically, but physically I hadn’t done anything. I just were sitting, talking. Right. And I was like, it would be good for my body to move, but I felt like I’d expect.

I had exhausted myself so much emotionally that I didn’t have it in me to do a lot. And I ended up, I went on a walk. I was like, and I really didn’t feel like it. I’m like, you just go. If you don’t feel like it turnaround in three minutes, just the three minute walk, but maybe it’ll feel good. And then when I, when I started walking, I’m starting to walk and then I start to run.

And I’m like, why am I running? I’m like, I don’t know. My body just feels like running right now. Okay. All right. Well, do I really want to run? I didn’t want to go on a run and I’m like, yeah, but motherfucker, your body just started running. You don’t even just shut up your mind and just, just see what the body does.

And I read for, I don’t want me to be like 20 minutes and he felt great. And then at some point I was, I felt exhausted and I’m like, all right, then just like walk and I. Now again, in hindsight, this is all experimentation, right? But the run felt amazing because literally it was my body. Like I did not think running.

I was just, I walked outside and it was the conference chair. And then I just re I ran to the light and then it was green. I ran over and then I was like, go running feels nice right now. I’m like, but you should take it easy, but I’m like, but my body wants to run, you know? But then when I stopped running and I went on a walk, that would have been the perfect distance, I think in hindsight to turn around and walk back and call it a day.

But I kept walking. And I, you know, what, how I know that this was mental and not physical is that I walk to the point. I always walk. And then I turned around that walk is like now a walk. Right? And so. When I returned from the walk in the last 10 minutes, I felt like I’ve overexerted myself now. Like I was like, you might out, started to balanced out the emotional overexpression physical it’s, it’s the sort of thing where it’s a balancing act once you’re so out of balance or sort of like, it’s like, it’s almost like you’re on a, on a.

Tight. Nope, actually. Yeah. And, and you’re holding like 50 kilo barbell on your right hand. It’s like, yeah, what the fuck, this is not gonna work. Right. But that, that, you know, that was my, it was a beautiful out of touch or out of like balanced day. And I saw it and I could feel it and sense it all day long, but I just, like, I just caught it too late.

And then I was like okay, well, okay. Yeah. But like you, you have the awareness and the presence to realize, and you practiced that at least that. Yeah. I’m not cool. I’m not bummed out about it. And I, and I’m actually excited about the prospect of. You know, I’ve worked so much on the resting bit and now, Ooh, there’s this other bit I haven’t had paid a lot of attention to, which is the, what do I do when I am full of love or full of excitement or full of energy or full of passion?

Ooh, maybe I want to play with that because I, I, I always go into an automatic mode and I realized that that automated moat makes me. Exhausted source too quickly. It doesn’t grow it. It just exhausted for myself. Right? So staying with that feeling a bit longer, what will they do? Right. Being a pacing myself a bit better, what will they do?

I’m excited to explore that. Right. But that’s, to me, all that is positive, but I come to you with great exhaustion. And as many times as the thing, why I love talking to you. It’s because you are one of the very few people. You’re the only person right now. Let’s just say it that way. Where every conversation with you right now for the past two months is giving me energy.

That’s a dope, right? That’s like that you win the price. Nobody else gets, gets that title because nobody else is close to being there. And oftentimes. Well, not often. I mean, considering that we talk six days a week or something for an hour each day, it’s not that often, but let’s say there’s been like three or four times in the last month.

Where I’m like today. I really don’t think I have anything. Right. And I’m so exhausted, but I will do five minutes. And if I don’t feel it, I’ll tell her I have to get, and then I look at the watch. We’re 30 minutes into this call. All right. Oh, I ran, I ran again. I just kind of happened, you know? So that was my, that was my day.

And it also comes with, like, there’s been a couple of moments, like for the past three hours or so I was a little lost. I’ll be honest. Like I could, I couldn’t find what I should be doing. So it was like should I read? And then I sit there and read and I was like, this is okay. But no, like I’m just doing it to do, but it’s not arresting me.

It doesn’t feel good. Okay. Maybe we should do some work, maybe. It didn’t do everything. I wanted, maybe do one more thing and it did a little bit of work. I’m like that doesn’t feel bad, but now I don’t feel comfortable with this either. I’m like, Hmm, should I eat a little bit? I have no. Huh? I’ll sit out in the sun and just maybe chill for five minutes.

Yeah, this is nice, but no fuck should go on a walk. And I went to the walk run and I came back and had like half an hour before getting on a call with you. I’m like, what shall I do now? Like, Oh, thank God the laundry’s done. So I have to like, hang up all my shirts, all my shirts. I’m like, Can I have 10 more minutes?

What I literally, for three hours purpose, can I fill this with I’m like, I don’t know what to do with nothing good. Nothing. It feels like it’s just, I just don’t really know what to do with myself. I know that state, I just, I did my best, you know, it’s fine. But it was also it’s it’s funny to be in that. So I’m like, Oh, well it is what it is.

I can’t change. It can just do the best I can with it.

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