A Fully Engaged Life
In our culture we hold people that multi-task in high regard. Often times we consider multi-tasking an essential trait for being successful in our careers and in life. On the contrary, to be fully engaged at home and at work requires us to be focused on one thing with our best and full energy in the present moment. It is only when we are fully engaged in the “now” that we generate powerful and desired outcomes including experiencing deeper and more meaningful relationships.
When I was first presented with this distinction, I was taken aback given the value I placed on my ability to multi-task - that is to do two or more unrelated tasks at the same time. But when I was given a few common examples like text messaging while driving or reading and responding to emails while talking on the phone with a client, colleague or loved one that I began to realize that it is impossible to give my full attention and best effort to multiple, thought provoking activities simultaneously. In fact, the terms multitasking and full engagement are complete opposites!
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in their book, The Power of Full Engagement, and the workshops that are conducted through the Human Performance Institute co-founded by Dr. Loehr, stipulate that “managing energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal renewal.” It is through building and managing our energy capacity in four interrelated dimensions namely the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual that we are able to be fully engaged with the people and activities that fill our lives. The authors boldly state that it is only through full engagement, driven by our best energy that makes the difference between being ordinary vs. extraordinary.
To get you started in your quest for living a fully engaged, extraordinary life, below are some tips from Dr. Loehr and Tony Schwartz:
1. Make both cardio exercise and strength/resistance training a part of your daily routines.
2. Take a break every 90 – 120 minutes while working. Stretch and move your body in some way to re-energize the flow of blood, oxygen and glucose.
3. Eat smaller portions and more often throughout the day. Do not go for more than 3 hours without eating something nutritious. Three meals and two – three snacks daily are recommended to properly regulate your blood glucose levels.
4. Define and get spiritually connected to your core values and life purpose/mission.
5. Work on developing and managing opportunity based, positive emotional energy by choosing your attitude and engaging in activities that bring you joy and satisfaction. Focus on building your self-confidence and showing empathy for others.
6. Expand your mental capacity through reading, taking classes, visualization, meditation, positive self-talk and creativity.
7. Remember that effective energy management includes time to recover and renewing ourselves along the way and in all of the four dimensions.
In closing, I would like to leave you with the notion that life is a series of sprints and not a marathon. That directing your full and best energy for shorter periods of time with adequate daily recovery built in will create extraordinary results and relationships vs. going through life constantly conserving your energy, holding back for the long haul.
Life is now! Live it fully engaged!