Are you an energy taker or an energy giver? You most certainly have met someone who you feel “drains your energy.” Children are good at that. They have an abundance of it and desire constant attention. But the rewards are so great that the energy exchange between an adult and a child is almost always gratifying for the adult.

But what happens when the child is acting out and saps your energy in a negative way? More significantly, what happens when a potential customer becomes an energy drain as you’re trying to sell them insurance? And even more significantly, what happens when you are the energy drain in the lives of other people? Most people fail to recognize when they are sapping the energy of other people, but each of us is at different times either a taker or a giver.

My philosophy on human energy is that, like love, it has an exchange rate. When you share love and are truly giving it, you receive it in return tenfold. Likewise, when you give personal human energy, it comes back to you in the form of money. But when an individual seeks free money without the willingness to pay with his or her personal energy, then a deficit builds.

One could argue that this is the problem facing the global economy. Deficit spending by organizations, governments, households and individuals has created the worst economic crisis in nearly a century. The problem is a matter of human energy. Humans have spent more money than they have earned because they want to enjoy the benefits of wealth without having to give energy.

Thus credit card debt has risen to alarming levels. Unreasonable incomes of greedy executives have sapped the energies of their organizations. Homes were purchased by people without the means to pay. And, in some cases, people spent lavishly without planning for their long-term needs.

So what now?

You have to give energy in order to earn the money and receive the love you want in life. I believe this is a crucial time during which you must decide to give more love and attention to others and not less if you want to merely maintain your current level of success and happiness in life. If you want true growth, you must give more energy than ever before.

It is no coincidence to see a boost of life insurance advertising on television; it is a perfect time to remind people to get back to the fundamentals of long-term planning and family security. The job and challenge you face is to inspire your clients to become stronger energy givers. A lifetime of security for their families is the perfect way to start.

Prisoners, vacationers and contributors

There are three kinds of people in the workplace: prisoners, vacationers and contributors. The first two are energy takers, while contributors are the true energy givers that create profits (financial and emotional) for themselves and their organizations.

If you have worked with a man who continually gripes about his job or the woman who simply does not try to excel at her job, then you know exactly the types of behaviors one sees in prisoners and vacationers. The astounding thing is that both of them always have excuses and reasons to justify their bad attitudes and laziness in the workplace.

You may wonder what you can do to survive and even thrive in this challenging economic climate. The answer is simple: Give your energy selflessly and you will be rewarded with the money, recognition and esteem that you desire. Try to coast and you will fool no one.

Faith wins

The key to success is faith.
Faith is a belief, but it is not only a belief. Faith requires action. Faith requires you to believe that if you do the right things and take the right actions as you help your clients provide security for their families, then success will follow.

You can’t push for the sale by pushing only the investment benefits of a policy; you must also sell with integrity and remember that the prime objective of the insurance is family security. You must have the faith that your clients will see the true intention and benefit of your products and you.

One agent with whom I recently worked was so focused on trying to convert his client from a term to a permanent life insurance product that the agent lost the sale and an opportunity for a larger relationship with his client. The agent lost out on a $500,000 term life policy and probably a chance to help this client in other ways. The problem was simple: the agent was an energy taker and not a giver. He was more focused on his commissions than the client’s budget and intentions.

It is also time for business organizations to become more powerful contributors of energy to employees, customers and the community. When we emerge from this recession, the victors of the war will be those who have fought bravely during the tough times. The victors will be those who give positive energy to others with the faith that this energy is an investment in the future.

By achieving this sensible balance of energy, good insurance organizations will outperform their competitors in the long run. Individual agents will win also if they take a leap of faith. Give your loving energy freely and the results will take care of themselves.

Rick Davis is president of Building Leaders Inc., a Chicago-based sales consulting company: You may e-mail him at rickdavis@buildingleaders.com