Book Review

  • The Power of Full Engagement – Managing Energy, Not time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

    By: Jim Lohr and Tony Schwartz

    Author Info:
    Jim Lohr is known for his work in performance psychology. He has worked with hundreds of world class athletes and in the early ‘90s began applying his principles to work with corporate executives. Tony Schwartz is a consultant has written several books and worked as a reporter.

    This best-selling book was first published in 2003. The work is about adopting a new mindset on the concepts of time management, work-life balance and performance. The authors challenge the reader to contemplate four energy sources and evaluate how the gaps in their life can be filled by strategically focusing energy.

    1. 1. Physical Energy

      The energy management model is depicted as a pyramid, with Physical Energy as the foundation. The includes eating, exercise, sleeping, breathing and recovery. The authors tie health and fitness to work performance. They provide rational and tips for having brief periods of “downtime” during the workday, preferably every 90-120 minutes. When we are physically depleted, we can begin to feel a “sense of emergency”, which can cause us to have emotional overload.

    2. 2. Emotional Energy

      The key competences in this energy area are self-confidence, self-control, social skills and empathy. The targeted “muscles” are patience, openness, trus t and enjoyment. Negative emotions are costly and inefficient. The authors focus on emotional renewal- finding activities that are enjoyable, fulfilling and affirming, and expanding emotional capacity- confronting those emotionally tough situations.

    3. 3. Mental Energy

      Top performance requires sustained concentration and focus and realistic optimism. Targeted mental “muscles” are preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management and creativity. This is about organizing our lives and focusing our attention. Again, the authors emphasize the importance of mental recovery time.

    4. 4. Spiritual Energy

      Spiritual Energy is balancing commitment to others with self-care. This covers passion, perseverance and commitment. The foundation of this section is discovering personal values and life purpose, then using that understanding as a motivation for choices of how to spend energy.

    Concrete examples are provided throughout the book to clarify the concepts. Honest reflection on the choices made throughout the day is key. In addition, determining the root caused behind wasted time is also necessary. Is it spending time complaining about a relationship issue that you are avoiding? Worrying about something? Perfectionism? Lack of trust and micromanagement? Lack of knowledge? Once the true source of the time issue is uncovered, then focusing energy in that area to address it is key. The idea of “intentionally stressing” emotional, mental and spiritual energy is revolutionary, and makes sense as it relates to how we stress our bodies physically during fitness routines. Making these new behaviors habits or “rituals” is the foundation for success with this model.

    Energy management is a mindset change, which is never easy. The model is complex in that it takes dedication and thoughtfulness to create realistic, meaningful goals to address life balance issues and also tie those to personal values and what Lohr and Schwartz refer to as “targeted muscles”.

    The Power of Full Engagement is an excellent “workbook” for individuals who what to put the “energy” into changing their lives.