Energize your career with the Gain-to-Drain Ratio

Want to energize your career? Or maybe take it a step further and energize your whole life? Well, duh. Of course you do.Who doesn’t?

If pretty much everyone would answer yes to that question, why are so many people dragging their butts off every morning to another zombified day at work like, a bad sequel to Night of the Living Dead?

There are a bazillion reasons for that, but I’m convinced that one of the big ones is that people don’t realize how much lies within their power to change, and just how simple it is to do si.

I’m a fan of simple. In my past thirteen years helping people create careers and lives that energize and inspire them, I have found that often the simplest ideas are the most powerful. And it doesn’t get more simple than this.

It’s an approach you can use to consciously, purposefully raise the energy in any aspect of your life. I call it “maximizing the Gain-to-Drain Ratio.”

Conceptually, it couldn’t get much simpler. All you do is:

  • Bring as much as possible of what gives you energy (the Gain part of the equation)
  • Do whatever you can to minimize the things that drain your energy.
The Gain-to-Drain Ratio is essentially a fraction. Visually, the idea looks like this:

The more you can incorporate the kinds of things that energize you into your life, the more Gain you have. And the more you can change the things that suck your energy away, the smaller your Drain will be.

You can start applying the Gain-to-Drain Ratio by applying it to your work. Take a look at your job and do what I call a “personal energy audit.” Ask questions like:

  • What do I love about this job?
  • What about this job leaves me feeling energized?
  • What about this job leaves me feeling engaged?
  • When do I feel in the zone in this job?
  • What about this job is fun?
  • What do I dislike about this job?
  • What about this job saps my energy? What leaves me feeling drained and depleted?
  • What about this job feels like a grind?
  • What is tedious about this job?

Once you identify your Gains and Drains, you can ask questions to help you start increasing the Gains and reducing the Drains, like:

  • What can I easily bring more of into the picture?
  • What can I easily change?
  • Which changes would make the most impact?
  • Which changes do I want to prioritize?

While I’m at it, I need to give my ever-present caveat that this isn’t a magic wand. It’s not going to take a crap job and make the angels suddenly sing. But it does create an opportunity to start taking control of what you can and change things for the better.

I encourage you to make it a regular habit to stop and ask yourself, “Where’s the Gain here? Where’s the Drain?” It’s a simple way to shine a light regularly on what impacts your energy so you can manage it as you go, rather than trusting to chance or taking action when the Drain gets too strong to tolerate.

Keeping in mind that your work unfolds not in an isolated silo, but in the interconnected, holistic system that is your life, you can also use the Gain-to-Drain Ratio to examine your life in 360 degrees. Look at the different areas of your life, like:

  • Attitudes & Beliefs
  • Finances
  • Health & Wellness
  • Hobbies & Activities
  • Home Environment
  • Meaning & Making a Difference
  • Relationships
    • Romantic
    • Friends
    • Family
    • Professional
    • Community
  • Sex & Sexuality
  • Spirituality
  • Work

As with so many things, much of maximizing the Gain-to-Drain Ratio is about awareness. You can’t change what you aren’t aware of. Examining the Gain and Drain breaks it down into specific, tangible things to work on.

[Want to do a deeper dive into maximizing your Gain-to-Drain Ratio? My Passion Catalyst coaching can help.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

Time for a career change? Start with
The Occupational Adventure Guide