Fill your tank and avoid your energy vampires this festive season

The end of the year is a time for reflection so I have been looking back at some of my earlier posts. Here’s one I would like to share again as it has as much relevance now as it did when I first shared it two years ago.

One of the most effective things you could do for yourself for 2017 (over your Christmas break) is to identify your ‘positive flashpoints’ and your ‘energy vampires’  Read this post for what they are, how to identify them, and how to respond to them when you do.

Enjoy your break dear readers. I am so incredibly grateful to you all for reading and sharing The Leader’s Digest. Writing The Leader’s Digest is one of the biggest positive flashpoints in my life, that’s for sure!

(From November 2014)

Every year around this time, the focus of most of my coaching sessions seems (for the most part) to be less on ‘development’ and more on ‘how the heck am I going to get through to Christmas?’. In other words, resilience and filling up our tanks enough to get through to our long-awaited break.

Cue positive flashpoints and energy vampires.

What are positive flashpoints?

These are the things, people, and activities during your day or week that get you in ‘flow’, make you feel good, and give you energy.

When I ask people what their energy flashpoints are, the answers come pretty quick and fast. It’s usually exercise, creative activities, or spending face-to-face time with their team, family, a mentor or someone who makes them feel better. Even a working space can be a positive flashpoint.


Identify yours. And when your tank is running low, channel them. Ensure your week has positive flashpoints built-in. Ask your team members what theirs are (as individuals and as a team) and, wherever practical, try to incorporate and encourage their usage.

This is a great way to build resilience.

Conversely, what are energy vampires?  

These are the things, activities and people who suck your energy or make you feel low. It’s not always possible to avoid these altogether (although sometimes it’s more feasible than you originally think), but there are things you can do to ‘ringfence’ or limit them.

Common energy vampires? Toxic colleagues, boring and pointless meetings, high maintenance clients, certain work activities, procrastination, alcohol and other drugs – even particular working habits.


Identify your energy vampires.

Ask, what’s within your power to limit, reduce, change or avoid?

If it’s a necessary part of the job (reports for example), ask, what can I change to make it more efficient? If you brainstorm, you can always find some potential solutions.

Your challenge between now and when you return from your Christmas break?

  • Identify your positive flashpoints and energy vampires.
  • Know what fills your cup and what sucks it dry.
  • Channel your positive flashpoints. Find strategies to reduce your energy vampires.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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