Managing your own and your team’s energy is a key to maximizing daily productivity and avoiding long term burnout. Today’s guest, Energy Master Jeanine Hofs, shares the system she developed for identifying dominant energy types based on the 5 natural energies in Chinese medicine: Fire, Earth, Metal, Wood, and Water. If you like DISC, MBTI, and other similar assessments, you’ll love this framework for thinking about how to build, communicate with, and motivate the most impactful teams. My type is Wood, characterized by achievement  big dreams, organization, and trust. Join us to learn what your type is!


Episode 29: Creating a Culture of Energy Mastery with Jeanine Hofs

Shani: Hello, Leadershifters. Welcome to another edition of the Leadership show with Shani. Do I have a special treat for you today? We are joined by Jeanine Hofs from the Netherlands, form about an hour south of Amsterdam, so everybody say hi to Jeanine. Jeanine is what we like to call an energy master, and I know that sounds like, wow. Master. She really is a technology master because she is a true mentor, coach, and consultant in all things energy management. She teaches people techniques so that they can sustain their energy throughout their whole life and in the day to day of working, and leadership ’cause we know how important it is when we’re going after these huge goals to manage our energy and not get burnt out.

We’re going to talk about energy management today with Jeanine, including the results of my energy type test and that will lead to a discussion of perhaps what type of energy you have and how you can use that to relate even better to the people around you in your life. Jeanine, welcome to the show.

Jeanine: Well, thank you, Shani. Thank you so much. I love being here. I’m excited.

Shani: Great. Well, let’s get right into it. Give Leadershifters a sense of exactly what you do.

Jeanine: Okay. I teach people and I help people with energy management techniques because I believe energy management is the most important thing you have. That’s your biggest asset. From there, you can achieve everything. Everything works from the inside out. That’s what I want. I want to teach people how they can muster their energy their biggest asset, so they can master their life, their business, their health, every area of their life.

Shani: Absolutely. Okay. How did you get into this?

Jeanine: I think I’d been working with energy or interested in energy all my life. When I was a little girl, I read books from Anthony Robbins, my mentor, and big example. Also Wayne Dyer. Then I started to see that you can influence your life by thinking differently, feeling differently. I’m a water-energy type myself so that means I like many things, many people. I’m interested in every subjects all at school. I wanted to do everything so I went from making my own clothes and being a fashion designer, to accounting, to programming. I’m a programmer in computer science. Then I ended up at the gym, the health club of my family. That’s where I learned the western part of energy.

So from mitochondria to ATPs, I know everything about energy on cellular level, the western side of energy. Then I came into contact with the Chinese philosophy and Chinese medicine. I started to learn that. It took me four years to do the study. Then I opened to practice in acupuncture and herbs, and I’ve read a book on energy. I rolled into both sides of energy. Do the western side but also the eastern side and that gave me a complete new and whole idea on energy. Because energy is so much more than going to the gym twice a week and eating healthy. It’s so, so, so much more. Yes, that’s my world right now. It is fantastic to work with that.

Shani: That is so fascinating. I love the varied path that you took in and I relate to you so much because it sounds like you do some really left-brain things like the accounting, the computer coding. It’s some of the right-brain thing with the clothing design and the energy. I love it. I think there’s so many people have those diverse interest and don’t know how to reconcile it in ultimately knowing your energy type will help you understand why you like certain things and create diversity or not. How many types of energies have you identified in your system?

Jeanine: Within this system, I work with five types. Because there are five elements in the Chinese philosophy.

Shani: Yes.

Jeanine: That’s fire, earth, metal, water, wood, then you have fire again. We have them all inside of us because that’s what nature is made up of. Everything that lives or is there or is organic has those five movements. They’re really their movements of energy. We have them all because we are a part of nature too, of course. We have them all, but there’s always one dominant energy. From that dominant energy, you will make choices when you are mad or sad. You will react from your dominant energy type. Yes, I could talk for hour, weeks. I think about those energies, it’s amazing. In China, they use this too for work there, compose music, to reorganize businesses or leads those businesses but also for your health. When there’s something wrong with you. For example, when you have a headache that’s one of the signals of wood energy being in stagnation for example. It usually fits and it’s like a jigsaw puzzle.

Shani: Wow. Okay. Leadershifters, before we started the show Jeanine and I were talking off-camera. I woke up today with a headache and I am wood energy, so what Jeanine describing that a headache meaning wood energy is feeling stagnated. Let’s actually go right into the energy test that you had me take in advance of the show and explained to the Leadershifters what wood energy is, and how you knew from my test that I was wood energy and what that means.

Jeanine: Yes. How I know that you are wood energy is because you took the test. I don’t know you and I have a big test and a smaller one you could do in two or three minutes. Then you have a good idea of what your dominant energy type at the moment is. Wood energy is like the energy of spring. For example, you don’t look outside for one week because you’re the holiday or something. Then you return, you’re like, “What happened?” Everything is growing and everything was like this high grass and now it’s that high. Wood energy has power but never random. It’s always organized.

People with wood energy high in their profile, they know how to organize, how to plan. They also want to achieve things. They always have a goal and they go towards that goal. They know what they want, how to get there and they want to win. Like every element, this element has qualities of course and also has pitfalls because we all have them. When you take a quality like the power to grow and to see the big picture. When you do that too much, you grow, grow, grow and you don’t see the tiny details or you don’t have an assistant for the details or you don’t work together with somebody with earth energy for the details, then you will lose control of your business or your ideas because you never finish something because you’re going, going, going to the next new thing bigger, bigger and bigger. That’s what wood energy is and has qualities and also pitfalls when you exaggerate the qualities.

Shani: Yes, absolutely. I see that a lot that many times someone’s biggest strength when it’s overplayed can become a liability. We have to learn to modulate and keep it in the straight zone.

Jeanine: Also, that’s the beauty of this test. I do with people is, then you know what to focus on. For example, for you Shani if you have wood energy high up in the profile, it’s not good for you to focus on the tiny details even if you have a business. You need to focus on the tiny this, but you don’t need to focus on those.

Shani: I do, I get so frustrated when I feel like I’m in the weeds I just want to come out.

Jeanine: It’s necessary for the business or for the job you have or do, then you better work together with somebody who is interested and whose specialty is any details. For example, earth energy. They work a little slower. It’s also your allergy, so you have to watch out for that. I always say, “It feels nice to hire people or work together in a team with people from the same energy, but you also have this thing– pitfalls. When we’re together with an opposites element, then you were little in fight mode because their opposites. You’ll be annoyed from this person being slow, or too exact, or too much into details, but it’s necessary because it’s yin-yang balance again.

Shani: What’s the opposite of wood energy for me?

Jeanine: Earth and/or metal because you have five, so there are two in the opposite. The next one, from wood, you have fire as the next one. Wood is heating fire because you can put woods on the fire, but the opposite from earth. If wood energy can, they say the first next one is, you can fit the element. Second next one, you can control that element. For example, if earth energy is too slow because it falls, wood energy is the one to say, “Hey, hurry up, please.” That’s the controlling parts within these elements. [crosstalk]

Shani: Energy is grounded and stable, like you would intuitively think.

Jeanine: Yes. Yes. It’s also earth is very social elements, always wants to please people, wants harmony within a team and within people, groups of people, also is very diplomatic, doesn’t like hard words. It’s a bit softer. The pitfall in it is that people take care of other people more than they do about themselves. They never put themselves in the first position. It has a little bit less of that. Earth energy is very sensitive to this. [crosstalk]

Shani: Tell us a little bit more about fire energy.

Jeanine: Fire is like the summer. Everything, in wood time has grown. It’s peak in summertime. That’s the peak of yang energy. Ther’s a lot of heat, and those persons have a lot of heat, too. They’re like, “Da, da, da.” They talk and they talk and they talk and they talk, and they love talk to many people as much as they can. This is fire energy. I’m doing this right now. It was very rising energy. They talk a lot, not very good listeners. They’re very social. They don’t like to be alone. They’re very forgiving, the most forgiving of all the elements. They believe everybody makes mistakes. I make mistakes. You make mistakes, so what? So I can mention them. When you have somebody who is talkative, “Da, da, da,” and laughing and says, “You stupid hair,” talks again, and you’re like, “What? What did she say?” It’s normal for fire because they believe everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has thingy. I can mention them because I forgive them immediately.

Shani: They’re the ultimate extroverts.

Jeanine: Yes.

Shani: Got it. As you’re describing, I keep thinking of all the people in my life and being like, “Oh, he’s a fire.” [crosstalk] How about water? You said you’re water, so tell us a little bit about that water.

Jeanine: Sometimes a little difficult for me to say that because then I talk about myself, so sometimes a little bit of a harder. Water is the energy of opposites within one element. Water can be very quiet and can be alone, likes to be alone, needs the most alone time of all the elements, but also likes to put in a little drama, or have red hair, or have strange clothes, or wear funny shoes. Water is a dreamer. Water has dreams, always knows, like water where it wants to go. When water is in its qualities, water knows. I want to go there, that’s my dream and I will get there. I just know I will get there. If you put a rock in my way, I don’t fight the rock, I go over or I pass it on the left side or the right side or both. I even erode this [crosstalk]

Shani: You could have been decorated the rock. [laughs]

Jeanine: Yes, for example. You don’t fight. That’s the quality of water. You have trust. You believe and you have dreams, and you go for it. Water people are always much and many. They like many things. They like to study everything. They are multi-passionate. Sometimes many of them know a lot of things. Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.

Shani: Sure. That’s fantastic. The last one is metal. Yes?

Jeanine: That’s all. Metal is in between earth and water. Metal energy types are most introvert of them all. Water is double. It’s both. Metal is introverted and likes to be alone too, doesn’t like big groups. If you have an entrepreneur who is metal energy, you would advise him or her to create this online business, for example. You better not suggest doing a challenge with 5,000 people. No, no, no. Go one-on-one. Go do VIP packages because they like the one-on-one connection, real soul, deep connection. They don’t talk with many gestures. I’m not metal. They talk softly.

Shani: Neither. [laughs]

Jeanine: They like structure. This is how we set up this plan so we’re going to do it like this. This is how we play the game. I’m going to be really angry if you don’t do as you said before, if you don’t play by the rules. They are very attached to routines, structures, and doing as you should do. That’s a pitfall too because other people could have different meanings or values in life, not so because– metal knows two things, white or black. You always have to teach them, “What are you grateful for?” They’re like. “I’m grateful for the–” No, no, no, because I have to paint the roof, only not the house. I’m grateful for my– no, no, no. It needs oil change. I’m grateful for my clothes. No, no, no, because I gained a little weight. I always have to put them in the middle. You can be grateful for 50% of it, or, “Oh yes, oh yes, that’s a thing, too.” [laughs]

Shani: Interesting. As you’re talking, I’m thinking about some of the similarities of the various energy types to another assessment that I’m certified in and I use a lot which is DISC. I’m sure that some of the folks that are listening and watching are thinking the same thing, and saying, “Well, I know my Myers Briggs type or my DISC type or my inside type.” There’s obviously a variety of these different tools. Tell me how the energy type testing results is either different than the same as, or compliment some of these other assessments.

Jeanine: I think when you take the other tests, and you put them on top of each other, then you will see a red line. Do you say this in English, a red line or a threat? That’s what we see in the Netherlands.

Shani: Like a theme.

Jeanine: Yes. You see a theme. You see similarities. You should because, otherwise, one or the other isn’t true or isn’t working. They have similarities. For me, what I like in those five elements that you can use them all on your physical health, your emotional, your physical being, your emotional being. For example, I’m water energy. I have to be very careful with my knees and my back. If I have problems with my knees and my back, I know, “Oh, now– image or that’s too big of a word. “I’m a little vulnerable in my main energy so I really have to take care of this.

I also know as a mentor and coach when somebody has a certain physical complains that I now, “I have to watch out for this energy, and I can give these tips to this person to strengthen that again. I’m right to the point. I don’t have to take the whole picture. I can go right to the point with it. That’s a big difference, and that’s what I love about differentiating between within those five elements, but you’re right, you can compare those systems with each other, same as you can compare Myers-Briggswith four colors, the DISC colors.

Shani: Yes. Okay. Really interesting. I love that because it sounds like people will recognize the energy types from having done some of these other more corporatey assessments and your system gives people a way to manage not just what their behaviors are, but sort of who they are. How they can help them manage their energy, which is kind of where I want to go next. Because to me what is so intriguing about this is how to use it in an organization to help build the culture because that’s obviously one of the big things that the Leadershifter’s project is about is how do we help leaders build the right cultures in their organization so that their people can thrive, and they want to execute on the business strategy. Tell me how you would work with a company, and you can even give me give the example you were sharing with me offline. Jeanine is currently working with a software company and all the folks in the company have taken this. How would you work with a leader or with a company to implement this and help shift their culture?

Jeanine: Yes, thank you. That’s a great question because it’s so important that leaders don’t just theoretically lead the company but they use the qualities of their people. That they use- that’s not the right word, enhance; so they use the qualities for the best of the company. If you can enhance somebody’s qualities, if you can enhance somebody’s energy, then they will give you everything they have. Then they will work with pleasure for you. Then they will feel free within the company, they will feel recognized. They will feel seen and heard.

For example, if you are a leader in your company, and you have a team; small or big, doesn’t matter, and you know he or she is a wood energy type, he or she really wants to be heard. Let’s say it’s a him, let him talk because that’s what fire wants, but also you have to be careful because when you give him a finger, he will take your hand, and arm, and everything. You need to be careful because he will take over the company within like a week, so you need to give fire boundaries, for example. If you have earth energy types in your company, you will know. They’re very nurturing, they will be like the mother or the father of the whole team.

You can recognize those people by saying, “Oh. I really love what you give us. I really love what you do for this team. You are so gentle, you give away so much to us and it feels wonderful that you take care of us, you feed us.” Then earth feels recognized and they will give you more and more. Water likes to be recognized for his knowledge. Metal likes to be recognized- metal can work, like solopreneur, very good and it’s very good in organizing and structure, et cetera. You need to help metal with– metal likes– no, it doesn’t like, but it is– I’m looking for the English words, I’m sorry. Sometimes the translation is a bit lost. Metal–

Shani: Motivated by?

Jeanine: It thinks in a negative way, that’s the first thing metal thinks, in a negative way.

Shani: They default to negativity.

Jeanine: Yes, correct. You need to help him or her to see the good things in a company, in a team, in what he’s doing. Stop him and say, okay, now stop and smell the roses. What you did is wonderful, and do you see this or that. You’re great and then metal feels good again and then will work double as hard as before. Then you have wood energy and wood energy are your leaders. Those are the ones who can network very good, who can coach a team. who can lift the team up to a next level and can see the big picture of where the company needs to go.

When a leader knows these characteristics and knows and recognizes what energy is in a team, then he can hire for example, more wood energy into his team, or he can hire more earth energy for the balance. Sometimes I do these workshops with companies and then I let them find out what energy types they are, and it’s a great team-building where they go, oh now I know who is fire and everybody goes, he is fire. That’s a great team building.

Shani: Everybody can appreciate each other so much better.

Jeanine: Exactly, and you know which tasks are for which types. For example, water like me can be very chaotic, so water needs maybe a metal energy type to work together and say, okay, first this than that, then that. Not playing around with new things. Okay, finish it and no chaotic behavior, just do it.

Shani: I can see using this tool for shaping the team and for interviewing, recruiting, and making sure that there’s a diverse, all five elements on the team because a lot of mistakes that I see people making is, “Oh, we want to hire people that are culture fit.” Which in some organizations is sort of code for, we’re going to hire people that are just like us. We’re not going to have the breadth of expertise and skillset and so forth. It’s important to hire folks that that are different and that can complement each other so that it’s more like woven the fabric of our team.

Jeanine: Exactly. Then you have a whole because five elements are always there in the company, in a person, in nature, and they will always move together like the elements or the seasons. You need them all, so when you hire only fire and wood, it will be one screaming bunch of people always–

Shani: Oh gosh, my body just hurt when you said just hiring a company that’s all wood and fire, and obviously I’m wood, but I can’t even imagine working with all people who are like me and fire, it would be exhausting.

Jeanine: Exactly. Also for the people who are working in the team, it’s so good for them to know their type. It’s good for them to know how can I improve my energy. For water, for example, needs to rest, needs to shut down, retract and be out of sight. For fire, it means go have a party. For wood, it means it could be retracted, but also go and do something with speed, or something new, or something exciting [crosstalk]. For earth maybe massage.

Shani: Traveling all over the world.

Jeanine: Do you like speed? Driving in your car very fast or–

Shani: Yes, so fun. All right, so let me ask, let me play devil’s advocate for a second because there are leaders in the world who may be listening to this and going okay, this sounds like a bunch of “woo-woo bullshit”.

Jeanine: Woo-woo, yes, it is.

Shani: What would you say to that person?

Jeanine: You could see it as woo-woo. It depends on what you are used to because is nature woo-woo? Is it woo-woo that after spring, summer comes in, and after that you have the Indian summer and then you have autumn again, that’s not woo-woo.

Shani: No, there’s nothing more reliable than the changes that [crosstalk]

Jeanine: Yes, it’s working with nature. I can explain, that’s because I have a better brain. I can explain to cellular level why this is, why energies of the same frequency attract each other. Why the law of attraction works and why it doesn’t work. If you do it the wrong way. I can explain this to you on cellular level, but it takes me a few hours to do so. Is it woo-woo? No, not at all. It is it is science; only we’re not used to that. It is the management techniques, the energy management techniques, I use are soft techniques. Yes, that’s true. It’s not program, although, I reprogram people, I help them reprogram their own brain. Is it woo-woo to say, I need to shift my mindset? No, it isn’t.

Shani: No. A lot of times what it takes to succeed is to get unstuck from an unhook mindset.

Jeanine: I do believe that in order for me to help my people best, is they need to be interested. They need to be curious about it, that’s enough. If you’re curious about it, that’s enough. You don’t need to understand the whole process, because I don’t need– yes, I do understand how electricity works, but that’s the better brain, but normally not everybody knows how a painkiller works, not everybody knows how the electricity works, still you use it. You don’t need to know every process because if you did, you were expert in it, you would be doing this stuff. Hire your experts and if you’re curious, that’s enough.

Shani: Got it. I love that. In fact, I’m going to use that because sometimes it is hard to get through to people who are so– maybe they are, let’s see, the ones who are black and white are–

Jeanine: Metal, yes.

Shani: Yes, I wrote on my notes in there. The working with metals who see things in the black and white and they’re like, “It’s too esoteric to talk about elements, I’m comfortable thinking people are a high D or a low S, an ENTP or whatever it is,” but those are assessments that have been made by humans and not that they’re not great, I love them. What I love about this is we’re working with nature, with the natural cycles and there actually is nothing more scientific than aligning with what exists on the planet on, with the earth and the elements, it’s very, very cool.

Jeanine: We’re too much on the Yang side, we’re too much on the masculine side. That’s the male-female thing, Yang is the masculine energy, we could translate it as masculine and the Yin energy could be translated as the female, leadership, power. It has nothing to do with male or female, but we, in the whole world, in businesses as well, have too much Yang energy and that’s why many of those companies, they turn around slowly, you see that. That are the companies who are most successful right now, and the ones who are stuck, they’re stuck in this Yang energy, controlling, “I wanted like this. We need to have a pyramid form of power.” That’s Yang energy and that’s not the balance, only Yang energy is always daytime and ever night, always hot water and never cold water. It’s not in balance. It takes some getting used to, but slowly, slowly, bit by bit.

Shani: Yes. The world is changing so quickly that every leader in any organization, I don’t care what industry it is or what geographic it is, if leaders aren’t flexible and shifting constantly, they will fail. We were talking about, before the call, that if there’s no movement, then that just equates to death, death of an individual, death of an organization. It’s almost like, leaders have to learn how to ride waves, to be surfers.

Jeanine: Exactly. But that’s what energy is, it is waves, it’s vibration and you need to learn how to ride it, exactly.

Shani: Yes, ride the waves. Something you said earlier, that you might have a dominant type, but everyone has all five types within them, and riding the wave is learning to access those non-dominant energy types when you need them in various leadership scenarios.

Jeanine: I would say stick to your own qualities, then see the other qualities and hire them or work together with them, because you need to see them and know how they work, but I wouldn’t advise to go and do that within your own profile. Stick to your upper two elements, then you will feel most in power, you can reach the top easily. It’s energy-costing when you go into the other elements too much. The only exception a little bit is water energy because it has everything. When I have this profile in percentages, I see water energy types have all the percentages up in the list, so water and wood will all close together, the other elements have two on top and the rest of them are a little bit lower. Water is much and many, so they have them all, they think they’re everything, they know everything, they do everything but your elements just get tired of doing them, or bored, or angry in wood cases or feeling lost for fire. [crosstalk]

Shani: Right. I try to see someone who’s in the wrong role because–

Jeanine: You’re not in your elements.

Shani: They’re not in their element, they’re not leveraging their strengths. It’s like their rowing upstream, I keep using these water analogies.

Jeanine: Losing energy, exactly.

Shani: Excellent. First, tell us how we can find you and access both the short free version of the energy type test and the longer version.

Jeanine: Yes. The longer version takes you about an hour, I offer these in my courses and in my retreats. I do online courses and I’m filming right now in English language because I do this in the Dutch language normally- before. There’s an online training and I also do retreats, so I take people to Spain and to the Sahara, in the sand, in the Sun, to teach them all about energy management, that’s where I offer those expensive tests. The short version is free and you can find it on my website, it’s my name,, it takes you about two, three minutes and then you know your dominant energy type. That’s fun to do and you will know, “Oh, okay,” send me a message, I would love to hear if it’s true what you think or is different on what you thought, I’m curious about that [crosstalk]

Shani: If a company wants to hire you– I know you live in Europe but I’m assuming you’ll travel to the States or other places to work with companies.

Jeanine Hofs: Yes, I love traveling, so that’s one of the reasons I go outside of the Netherlands because Netherlands is too small for me. I like traveling and I travel wherever the fun is because that’s my drive fun, I always say bubbles was this, when I’m in good energy, real energy then I feel like champagne is bubbling. I have the best ideas, I’m most creative, I take the best decisions, I’m focused, I’m hyper-focused even. I can work eight hours straight, hyper-focused on something when I have bubbles, and traveling gives me bubbles, so then I travel. You can also do a lot of things through video calls, I coach most of my clients through video calls and it’s up to them whether they meet me live or on video call

Shani: Fine. I think it would be really amazing for us to do a retreat together one day, and bring all of our tools to companies.

Jeanine: Yes, that’s a good idea.

Shani: Yes. To come help shift your culture, you’re going to have to find me and I will loop Jeanine in. Thank you so much for joining us today. This was so much fun and Leadershifters, I think there are quite a few things for you to think about in the aftermath of this podcast. First of all, think about finding out what type you are using Jeanine’s free test, are you fire, earth, metal, wood or water? And then start to think about what type are the people on your team, do you have a predominance of one or two types, or do you have a well-balanced team? How do you hire? Are you hiring people that are more like you? Are you hiring a mix of people so that you’ve got an entire all five elements?

For those of you who are really stuck in using some of the other assessments, think about not replacing them, but supplementing them with trying to think about what energy types you and your team are, because this will help not only with shifting behaviors, but also help people manage their physical and emotional energy, and how people talk and relate to each other, which is so important in creating the right culture on your team. People can only feel psychologically safe if they feel seen and appreciated and understood. I feel like this identifying which of the five energy types people are on your team goes even deeper than some of the tools that I know I’ve used in the past and that many of you are using.

Jeanine: It also protects them from burnout and being ill. That’s an important thing in a company too but it costs you a lot of money when somebody is [crosstalk]

Shani: Oh my god, billions of dollars in health care across in burnout. Yes, so thank you for bringing this interesting perspective to the Leadership show today, Jeanine. Leadershifters, you know how to reach me. All of the various social media and Once again, Jeanine, give them your website.

Jeanine Hofs: Thank you, Shani, by the way, for introducing me, for asking me on this interview. I really liked our conversation and I hope I can help your guests, your listeners to get them more energy to master their energy. You can find me at Jeanine Hofs. We need to write it down somewhere, maybe in short notes.

Shani: J-E-A-N-I-N-E-H-O-F-S .com.

Jeanine, yes. There you’ll find me. You’ll find me on social media. I share tips and videos and all good stuff. You can find the free test there as well. Look me up and send me a message, I would love that.

Shani: Okay, thank you, Jeanine. Thank you Leadershifters for joining us today. Until next time.

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