The Power of Full Engagement - Manage energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal renewal

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

A really nice book about the core that can make our lives better or worse. It unify all dimensions, body, mind and soul.
Replacing bad habits with healthy ones. Focusing on energy. Taking action. Pause, reflect, rest.

“This book is deceptive. You might pick it up thinking it will help you a little, but you’ll discover that it can transform your entire life! If conditioning helps Tiger Woods and Larry Bird play a simple game with a ball, imagine how it can radically turbocharge the very complex skills you need to succeed at work every day.”

-- —Seth Godin, author, Survival Is Not Enough

Part One - The Dynamics of Full Engagement

One - Fully Engaged: Energy, Not Time, Is Our Most Precious Resource

We celebrate breadth rather than depth, quick reaction more than considered reflection.
We skim across the surface, alighting for brief moments at dozens of destinations but rarely remaining for long at any one.
We race through our lives without pausing to consider who we really want to be or where we really want to go.
We’re wired up but we’re melting down.

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

Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake.
Every one of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors has an energy consequence, for better or for worse.
The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have.

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

e have far more control over our energy than we ordinarily realize.
The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.
The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be.

Full engagement begins with feeling eager to get to work in the morning.

Old Paradigm:

New Paradigm:


Professional athletes typically spend about 90 percent of their time training, in order to be able to perform 10 percent of the time. Their entire lives are designed around expanding, sustaining and renewing the energy they need to compete for short, focused periods of time. At a practical level, they build very precise routines for managing energy in all spheres of their lives—eating and sleeping; working out and resting; summoning the appropriate emotions; mentally preparing and staying focused; and connecting regularly to the mission they have set for themselves. Although most of us spend little or no time systematically training in any of these dimensions, we are expected to perform at our best for eight, ten and even twelve hours a day.


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

The energy that pulses through us is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. All four dynamics are critical, none is sufficient by itself and each profoundly influences the others.
To perform at our best, we must skillfully manage each of these interconnected dimensions of energy.



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

The primary markers of physical capacity are strength, endurance, flexibility and resilience. These are precisely the same markers of capacity emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Flexibility at the physical level, for example, means that the muscle has a broad range of motion. Stretching increases flexibility.
The same is true emotionally. Emotional flexibility reflects the capacity to move freely and appropriately along a wide spectrum of emotions rather than responding rigidly or defensively. Emotional resilience is the ability to bounce back from experiences of disappointment, frustration and even loss.
Mental endurance is a measure of the ability to sustain focus and concentration over time, while mental flexibility is marked by the capacity to move between the rational and the intuitive and to embrace multiple points of view.
Spiritual strength is reflected in the commitment to one’s deepest values, regardless of circumstance and even when adhering to them involves personal sacrifice. Spiritual flexibility, by contrast, reflects the tolerance for values and beliefs that are different than one’s own, so long as those values and beliefs don’t bring harm to others.
In short, to be fully engaged requires strength, endurance, flexibility and resilience in all dimensions.

We rarely consider how much energy we are spending because we take it for granted that the energy available to us is limitless.
By training in all dimensions we can dramatically slow our decline physically and mentally, and we can actually deepen our emotional and spiritual capacity until the very end of our lives.
Sadly, the need for recovery is often viewed as evidence of weakness rather than as an integral aspect of sustained performance. The result is that we give almost no attention to renewing and expanding our energy reserves.

To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn how to rhythmically spend and renew energy.

We become flat liners mentally and emotionally by relentlessly spending energy without sufficient recovery. We become flat liners physically and spiritually by not expending enough energy.
Think for a moment about the look of many long-distance runners: gaunt, sallow, slightly sunken and emotionally flat. Now visualize a sprinter such as Marion Jones or Michael Johnson. Sprinters typically look powerful, bursting with energy and eager to push themselves to their limits.
We, too, must learn to live our own lives as a series of sprints—fully engaging for periods of time, and then fully disengaging and seeking renewal before jumping back into the fray to face whatever challenges confront us.


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

Stress is not the enemy in our lives. Paradoxically, it is the key to growth.
In order to build strength in a muscle we must systematically stress it, expending energy beyond normal levels.
Doing so literally causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. At the end of a training session, functional capacity is diminished. But give the muscle twenty-four to forty-eight hours to recover and it grows stronger and better able to handle the next stimulus.

We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity.

Expose a muscle to ordinary demand and it won’t grow. With age it will actually lose strength.
The limiting factor is to back off at the slightest hint of discomfort.
Any form of stress that prompts discomfort has the potential to expand our capacity—physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, so long as it is followed by adequate recovery.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”


Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance.

Change is difficult. We are creatures of habit. Most of what we do is automatic and nonconscious.
The problem with most efforts at change is that conscious effort can’t be sustained over the long haul.
If you have to think about something each time you do it, the likelihood is that you won’t keep doing it for very long. The status quo has a magnetic pull on us.

A positive ritual is a behavior that becomes automatic over time—fueled by some deeply held value.

In contrast to will and discipline, which require pushing yourself to a particular behavior, a ritual pulls at you.


Making changes that endure, we have found, is a three-step process that we call Purpose-Truth-Action.

Define Purpose

we need inspiration to make changes in our lives.
“How should I spend my energy in a way that is consistent with my deepest values?”
Most of us spend more time reacting to immediate crises and responding to the expectations of others than we do making considered choices guided by a clear sense of what matters most.
to define a vision for themselves, both personally and professionally. Connecting to a deep set of values and creating a compelling vision fuels a source of energy for change.
It also serves as a compass for navigating the storms that inevitably arise in our lives.

Face the Truth

It is impossible to chart a course of change until you are able to look honestly at who you are today.
“How are you spending your energy now?”
Each of us finds ways to avoid the most unpleasant and discomfiting truths in our lives.

We regularly underestimate the consequence, failing to honestly acknowledge the foods we are eating; what quality of energy we are investing in our relationships with our bosses, colleagues, spouses and children; how focused and passionate we really are at work.
painting ourselves as victims, or simply denying to ourselves.

Facing the truth begins with gathering credible data.
carefully assess their diets,
a detailed questionnaire designed to measure precisely how they are managing their energy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Log on to our website and take a brief version of our Full Engagement Inventory.
The scores that you receive will provide baseline data about your primary performance barriers.

you will be asked to have five other people in your life—or as close to five as you can get—anonymously fill out a similar set of questions about you. Facing the truth requires gathering as much comprehensive and objective data as is possible.

Take Action

to close the gap between who you are and who you want to be—between how you manage your energy now and how you want to manage your energy.

Unhealthy habits:
Relying on junk food for bursts of energy; smoking or drinking to manage anxiety; furiously multitasking to meet demands; setting aside more challenging, long-term projects in favor of what feels immediately pressing and easier to accomplish; devoting little energy to personal relationships.

As Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do.”
Or as the Dalai Lama put it: “There isn’t anything that isn’t made easier through constant familiarity and training. Through training we can change; we can transform ourselves.”


Two - The Disengaged Life of Roger B.