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The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal Paperback – January 1, 2003
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Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People A remarkable application of the athletic metaphor to high-performing people and organizations.
About the Author
Tony Schwartz is the founder and president of The Energy Project, a consulting group that works with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including American Express, Credit Suisse, Ford, General Motors, Gillette, Master Card, and Sony. He was a reporter for the New York Times, an associate editor at Newsweek, and a staff writer for New York Magazine and Esquire and a columnist for Fast Company. He co-authored the #1 worldwide bestseller The Art of the Deal with Donald Trump, and after that wrote What Really Matters. He co-authored the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Full Engagement with Jim Loehr.
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There are plenty of valuable and realistic suggestions that are broadly applicable and cover many situations and contingencies. There's quite a bit of common sense, but everything is laid out in a clear and concise manner with extensive real life examples, including setbacks. Also included are templates to allow for the more obsessive and meticulous to record and document everything. Even without buying the whole concept, there is still plenty of solid advice and useful tidbits. Anyone in a situation where they feel over their head or on the way to burnout will find the book a pleasant and helpful read.
1- "We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance."
2- "-Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy. We call this oscillation. -The opposite of oscillation is linearity: too much energy expenditure without recovery or too much recovery without sufficient energy expenditure. - Balancing stress and recovery is critical to high performance both individually and organizationally. -We must sustain healthy oscillatory rhythms at all four levels of what we term the "performance pyramid": physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. -We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity. We must systematically expose ourselves to stress beyond our normal limits, followed by adequate recovery. -Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward."
3- "-Physical energy is the fundamental source of fuel in life. -Physical energy is derived from the interaction between oxygen and glucose. -The two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating. -Eating five to six low-calorie, highly nutritious meals a day ensures a steady resupply of glucose and essential nutrients. -Drinking sixty-four ounces of water daily is a key factor in the effective management of physical energy. -Most human beings require seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function optimally. -Going to bed early and waking up early help to optimize performance. -Interval training is more effective than steady-state exercise in building physical capacity and in teaching people how to recover more efficiently. -To sustain full engagement, we must take a recovery break every every 90 to 120 minutes. "
4- "-In order to perform at our best, we must access pleasant and positive emotions: the experience of enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity. -The key muscles fueling positive emotional energy are selfconfidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy. -Negative emotions serve survival but they are very costly and energy inefficient in the context of performance. -The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership. -Access to the emotional muscles that serve performance depends on creating a balance between exercising them regularly and intermittently seeking recovery. -Any activity that is enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming serves as a source of emotional renewal and recovery. -Emotional muscles such as patience, empathy and confidence can be strengthened in the same way that we strengthen a bicep or a tricep: pushing past our current limits followed by recovery."
5- "-Mental capacity is what we use to organize our lives and focus our attention. -The mental energy that best serves full engagement is realistic optimism—seeing the world as it is, but always working positively towards a desired outcome or solution. -The key supportive mental muscles include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management and creativity. -Changing channels mentally permits different parts of the brain to be activated and facilitates creativity. -Physical exercise stimulates cognitive capacity. -Maximum mental capacity is derived from a balance between expending and recovering mental energy. -when we lack the mental muscles we need to perform at our best, we must systematically build capacity by pushing past our comfort zone and then recovering. -Continuing to challenge the brain serves as a protection against age-related mental decline."
6- "The more preoccupied we are with our own fears and concerns, the less energy we have available to take positive action."
7- "-spiritual energy provides the force for action in all dimensions of our lives. It fuels passion, perseverance and commitment. -spiritual energy is derived from a connection to deeply held values and a purpose beyond our self-interest. -Character-the courage and conviction to live by our deepest values—is the key muscle that serves spiritual energy. -The key supportive spiritual muscles are passion, commitment. integrity and honesty. -spiritual energy expenditure and energy renewal are deeply interconnected. -Spiritual energy is sustained by balancing a commitment to a purpose beyond ourselves with adequate self-care. -Spiritual work can be demanding and renewing at the same time. -Expanding spiritual capacity involves pushing past our comfort zone in precisely the same way that expanding physical capacity does. -The energy of the human spirit can override even severe limitations of physical energy."
8- "The search for meaning is among the most powerful and enduring themes in every culture since the origin of recorded history. -The "hero's journey" is grounded in mobilizing, nurturing and regularly renewing our most precious resource—energy—in the service of what matters most. -when we lack a strong sense of purpose we are easily buffeted by life's inevitable storms. -Purpose becomes a more powerful and enduring source of energy when its source moves from negative to positive, external to internal and self to others. - A negative source of purpose is defensive and deficit-based. -Intrinsic motivation grows out of the desire to engage in an activity because we value it for the inherent satisfaction it provides. -Values fuel the energy on which purpose is built. They hold us to a different standard for managing our energy. -A virtue is a value in action. -A vision statement, grounded in values that are meaningful and compelling, creates a blueprint for how to invest our energy."
9-"-Facing the truth frees up energy and is the second stage, after defining purpose, in becoming more fully engaged. -Avoiding the truth consumes great effort and energy. -At the most basic level, we deceive ourselves in order to protect our self-esteem. -Some truths are too unbearable to be absorbed all at once. Emotions such as grief are best metabolized in waves. -Truth without compassion is cruelty—to others and to our selves. -What we fail to acknowledge about ourselves we often continue to act out unconsciously. -A common form of self-deception is assuming that our view represents the truth, when it is really just a lens through which we choose to view the world. -Facing the truth requires that we retain an ongoing openness to the possibility that we may not be seeing ourselves—or others— accurately. -» It is both a danger and a delusion when we become too identified with any singular view of ourselves. We are all a blend of light and shadow, virtues and vices. -Accepting our limitations reduces our defensiveness and increases the amount of positive energy available to us."
10- "Our dual challenge is to hold fast to our rituals when the pressures in our lives threaten to throw us off track, and to periodically revisit and change them so that they remain fresh."
11- "-Rituals serve as tools through which we effectively manage energy in the service of whatever mission we are on. -Rituals create a means by which to translate our values and priorities into action in all dimensions of our life. -All great performers rely on positive rituals to manage their energy and regulate their behavior. -The limitations of conscious will and discipline are rooted in t^he fact that every demand on our self-control draws on the same limited resource. -We can offset our limited will and discipline by building rituals that become automatic as quickly as possible, fueled by our deepest values. -The most important role of rituals is to insure effective balance between energy expenditure and energy renewal in the service of full engagement. -The more exacting the challenge and the greater the pressure. the more rigorous our rituals need to be. -Precision and specificity are critical dimensions of building rituals during the thirty- to sixty-day acquisition period. -Trying not to do something rapidly depletes our limited stores of will and discipline. -» To make lasting change, we must build serial rituals, focusing on one significant change at a time."
Top international reviews
What is it about?
Manage energy not time. Time is strictly limited to 24 hours per day for everyone. Energy however can be managed so that you have a huge reserve of it. If you have this reserve you are far more likely to be both happy and effective in all the endeavours of you life. If you have no personal energy, you will not succeed no matter how much time you have.
How to build a reserve of energy?
You have 4 sources of energy available to you: Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Each of these can be attended to specifically to build your own personal reservoir so that you have plenty to draw on when the going gets tough.
People are not linear:
What most people and work situations fail to recognise is that people are not linear. Machines are linear. You can ask them to perform a task at the same rate all day long with no break, possibly even for months at a time with no break. People however, definitely need recovery and renewal. The authors of this book worked with athletes and discovered that only those athlete who took recovery seriously and mastered it excelled. Those others who trained hard but did not understand or master recovery were the also rans, no matter how talented and dedicated they were.
This book describes exactly how you can build renewal and recovery into your achievements and life (they call it making waves). They describe successful and inspiring ways to do this and give many examples of people they have trained who used these techniques successfully and inspiringly.
The power of rituals: This is where this book differs from any other that I have ever read and where it is probably the most powerful book for change available. Most people simply do not change, even when they realise the wisdom of change and after having been inspired by a great book for instance. Change is very hard for people. People instinctively do what they did yesterday. It is easy and less stressful to do what you know how to do, even if you know it does not work for you and will have long term consequences. It is also easy to kid yourself that lack of exercise or drinking too much for instance, are just short term in your life and you will change when you get more time or a new job or what ever. This book shows you how to be real about what is in you life but far more importantly, it shows you how to make real change happen.
Making change happen:
First identify something that is very important to you that you want to change. Then create a very specific ritual around getting that thing into your life. At first the ritual is hard work because it is new and you need to give it special attention to get it going. After 30 to 60 days, this ritual will "install" in your life and habits and will become as familiar and as important as brushing your teeth. Instead of struggling, you would miss it if it were not there. This is an amazing concept and highly successful. Once a ritual is successfully installed, you can trust it and rely on it and it wont take energy from you day. You can then go on to add more rituals if you wish to.
New year's resolutions: Many people attempt to change habits in the New Year but they often attempt them in a way that does not work well with their psychology. There are certain requirements to make a ritual powerful and easy to install. (Read the book!)
I work as a life coach and I spend my life asking the question: "What does it take for people to really change or transform their lives". So much attempted change is unsuccessful which is deeply sad. I believe this book will make all the difference to a great number of people.
This book also addresses the issue of how to manage your whole life with integrity despite being part of an increasingly busy world. How to make time for your family and for the most important areas of your life, whatever they may be.
Do read this book and then work with it - it is one of the very best.
I have also found Tony Schwartz's book "What really matters" a wonderful read. Tony experiences great financial success after writing the best seller about Donald Trump. Despite this great achievement, he is still not satisfied, so he then engages in 4 year mission to meet with teachers, educators and great thinkers all over America, seeking to find the answer to what creates a really great life.
Jim Loehr has written quite a number of books on the subject of great effectiveness. His work and ideas are really good but his writing style is (in my opinion) dreadful. Hard to read and often negatively expressed. Tony however writes like a dream or even a great journalist (not surprising since that was his trade) in a beautiful, flowing and inspiring way.
Enjoy the book.
Thank you for reading this.
Anyone who employs other people or managers other people should absolutely read this. It's a MUST.
Die Grundidee der Autoren ist, dass Energie die fundamentale Währung einer High Performance ist. Es gibt die physische, emotionale, mentale und spirituelle Energie, die sich gegenseitig beeinflussen. Jim Loehr und Tony Schwartz zeigen anschaulich und leicht verständlich, wie wir unser Leben positiv beeinflussen können, indem wir unsere Energie gezielt einsetzen und eine Balance zwischen Energieverbrauch und Erholung schaffen.
Leider befinden sich im Buch unzählige Nacherzählungen von Treffen mit Kunden. Sicher ist es sinnvoll die Theorie anhand von Praxisbeispielen zu veranschaulichen, allerdings waren diese für meinen Geschmack wirklich zu zahlreich. Das Buch wurde dadurch stellenweise repetitiv und langatmig. Es gab irgendwann keinen Erkenntnisgewinn mehr.
Insgesamt haben die Autoren meiner Meinung nach einen wertvollen Beitrag im Bereich der Persönlichkeitsentwicklung geleistet und es ist empfehlenswert, sich mit dem Energiekonzept näher auseinanderzusetzen.
In vain I tried to manage my time, my schedule, and my life using all kinds of techniques and blaming myself for abandoning them too quickly. My brain was full of things to do which kept adding up before I can do them. I felt desperate and saw no end to this vicious circle.
That's when I have read Rich Schefren's recommendation for this book. For people who are creative, like exploration , like trying multiple things at a time, this book seemed like a perfect system to do what you want while still keeping track of what needs to be done in the easiest manner. It promised to teach you how to do use your limited energy to make the most out of your time, whatever meaning this has for you.
The concepts of managing energy not time, and doing things according to your level of energy made so much sense. I was wasting my high energy time on doing things that don't matter, then not having energy on things that do matter.
The biggest help was a system to remember things, offloading them from your brain, freeing up your brain power for more important things like creativity, brainstorming, etc.
We naturally focus on one-two types of the energies: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Emotional, and disregard others. Once we understand the importance of each kind of energy, we can better use them to do things we love most.
I finally sorted my financial folders by alphabet, taught my family where to put receipts, and my bookkeeping stopped being a problem. I started using post-it notes and folders, and recording next steps. This made my work and hone projects way easier, and I always remembered my promises. I as avoiding doing this for some reason that makes little sense to me now that I see how much this has improved my life.
Yes, this book is geared towards busy execs, not a super easy read, but it's worth a read for anyone who has more than one thing on their plate. Spend your energy on book that will teach you how to multiply your energy. Seems like a no-brainer to me :)