The Power of Full Engagement

”Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”

An aha moment is described as a moment of clarity; the defining moment where you gain real wisdom – wisdom you can use to change your life. I don’t know about you, but such  moments usually catch me by surprise. The following incident occurred at 8:30pm on Monday, November 28, 2011.  I’d just finished a two and a half hour Executive Board meeting for Teen Living Programs and was mentally and physically exhausted.  On some level, I knew that after such a long and trying day I should simply say my goodbyes and go home, but I was turning over a new leaf.   Just a few weeks before, I decided that I would develop stronger connections within my network. To me, this meant taking the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversation whenever possible.

So, it was 8:30pm and the meeting was adjourned.  People were starting to wander over to the food and wine table. It was strangely quiet considering that we are normally such a lively group. Looking back now, I think people were recharging or at least resting. But I had something very different in mind.

I wanted to talk.

The results were disastrous.  I started a conversation with one of my fellow Board Members as she was preparing to leave her seat.  My thoughts were not clear and my words were jumbled.  I’m sure they were delivered with a total lack of coherency.  After 5 minutes, I surrendered to my fatigue and asked the Board member to join me at the wine table.  I’m sure she was just as relieved and I was.

I have turned this into a life lesson I’ve consciously added to my new list of mantrasDon’t force it!  If my inner voice is too faint to hear and I can’t seem to read a situation, it means I need a break.  It’s time for me to stop, breathe, listen, recharge and refocus.  Plus, if I feel compelled to push a conversation with someone, it most likely means that I am not speaking with them as often as I should.  As a result, I try to cram in everything I’ve wanted to speak with them about for the past three weeks.   So, here’s a revision to my mantra:  “ Stop, breathe, listen, recharge, refocus and connect.”   As Loehr says,life is aseries of sprints, not marathons.”

It’s clear the capacity for my future growth will be in learning when to sprint and when to recover.  Most important of all, when to listen to the little voice that says, “Not right now.”  I must remember to enjoy the break before the sprint.

Here’s an excerpt from The Power of Full Engagement, an amazing guide to pacing yourself in order to achieve full engagement and peak performance at those crucial moments:

“We live in a digital time. Our pace is rushed, rapid-fire, and relentless.  Facing crushing workloads, we try to cram as much as possible into every day.  We’re wired up, but we’re melting down.  Time management is no longer a viable solution.


Principal 1:  Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy:  physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Principle 2:  Because energy diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal.

Principle 3:  To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.

Principle 4:  Positive energy rituals – highly specific routines for managing energy – are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.

Making change that lasts requires a three-step process:  Define Purpose, Face the Truth and Take Action.”

Other Pearls of Wisdom

“Performance, health and happiness are grounded in skillful management of energy.” 

“To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.”

“Great leaders are stewards of organizational strategy.  They begin by effectively managing their own energy.  As leaders, they must mobilize, focus, invest, channel, renew and expand the energy of others.”

Recommended Reading

The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.  How managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.


Categories: Professional Development

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2 replies

  1. Awesome information Sherry. Thank you!!!!

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