Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
What do you think of that statement?
My first thought was, prove it.
The premise behind the text is this…full engagement (and the authors cite only 30% of today’s workers are fully engaged at their place of employment) requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Energy, write the authors, is the common denominator in all dimensions of our lives. So…learning how to maximize our energy is important.
They include a graph of the Dynamics of Energy and describe the traits/feelings one experiences at each of these different places.
High Negative –
High Positive –
Low Negative –
Low Positive –
It’s pretty clear that if given the choice people will opt for the High and Low Positive spectrums.
And what’s great about this book is the authors offer practical ways to get there. They don’t try to sugarcoat life and pretend any of us can opt out of stress. Rather, they offer instructions on how to use stress for good.
One of the suggestions that resonated most with me was their recommendation to create positive rituals.
A positive ritual is a behavior that becomes automatic over time – fueled by some deeply held value.
Loehr and Schwartz write —
The most important role of rituals is to insure an effective balance between energy expenditure and energy renewal in the service of full engagement. All great performers have rituals that optimize their ability to move rhythmically between stress and recovery.
The more exacting the challenge, the more rigorous our rituals need to be. The preparation of soldiers for combat is a good example. The rituals of basic training are so exacting – especially in the Marines – that soft, fearful and slovenly teenagers can be transformed into lean, confident, mission-driven soldiers in just eight to twelve weeks. Recruits are compelled to build rituals in every dimension of their lives – how they walk and how they talk; what time they go to bed and wake up; when and what they eat; how they take care of their bodies and how they think and act under pressure. This code of conduct makes it possible for them to do the right thing at the right time even in the face of the most severe of all stresses – the threat of death.
A final word:
Rituals create boundaries – clearly delineated opportunities to renew and refuel but also to take stock and to prepare for the next challenge.
Then do a self-check and recall the times when you’ve lived in the High Positive zone…guaranteed you’ll have included some sound lifestyle rituals that helped get you there.