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The Power of Full Engagement

Compiled by Chuck Olson

Title: The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

Author: Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Copyright Date: 2003

Book Summary:

Most businesspeople focus on managing time, which is misleading: true effectiveness is more about managing and investing your energy, and that starts by paying close attention to your body. Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement describes how to optimize your daily energy levels by improving your daily habits and routines.

Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. (4)

To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond your immediate self-interest. (5)

Principle 1: Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. (9)

Principle 2: Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal. (11)

Principle 3: To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do. (13)

Principle 4: Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance. (14)

To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn how to rhythmically spend and renew energy. (12)

A positive ritual is a behavior that becomes automatic over time—fueled by some deeply held value. (14)

Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means we have found to effectively manage energy in the service of full engagement. (15)


  • The first step in our change process is to Define Purpose = “How should I spend my energy in a way that is consistent with my deepest values?”
  • Face the Truth = “How are you spending your energy now?”
  • Take Action = This step involves building a personal-development plan grounded in positive energy rituals. (15-16)

Leaders have a disproportionate impact on the energy of others. (23)

Relationships are one of the most powerful potential sources of emotional renewal. (23)

Full engagement requires cultivating a dynamic between the expenditure of energy (stress) and the renewal of energy (recovery) in all dimensions. We call this rhythmic wave oscillation, and it represents the fundamental pulse of life. (29)

At the most practical level, our capacity to be fully engaged depends on our ability to periodically disengage. (38)

We must learn to establish stopping points in our days, inviolable times when we step off the track, cease processing information and shift our attention from achievement to restoration. (39)

Intermittently disengaging is what allows us to passionately reengage. (39)

We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our normal limits, and then recovering. (44)

Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward. (44)

Drinking water, we have found, is perhaps the most undervalued source of physical energy renewal. (52)

The longer, more continuously, and later at night you work, the less efficient and more mistake-prone you become. (56)

In order to perform at our best we must access pleasant and positive emotions: enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity. Emotions that arise out of threat or deficit—fear, frustration, anger, sadness—
have a decidedly toxic feel to them and are associated with the release of specific stress hormones, most notably cortisol. (72)

Organizations found that no single factor more clearly predicts the productivity of an employee than his relationship with his direct superior. More specifically, Gallup found that the key drivers of productivity for employees include whether they feel cared for by a supervisor or someone at work; whether they have received recognition or praise during the past seven days; and whether someone at work regularly encourages their development. Put another way, the ability to communicate consistently positive energy lies at the heart of effective management. (75)

The deepest expression of emotional capacity is the ability to experience a full range of feelings. (90)

The key supportive muscles that fuel optimal mental energy include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management, and creativity. (94)

The key muscle that fuels spiritual energy is character—the courage and conviction to live by our values, even when doing so requires personal sacrifice and hardship. Supportive spiritual muscles include passion, commitment, integrity, and honesty. (110)

We become fully engaged only when we care deeply, when we feel that what we are doing really matters. Purpose is what lights us up, floats our boats, feeds our souls. (131)

Truth without compassion is cruelty—to others and to ourselves. (164)

Finally, rituals are a powerful means by which to translate our values and priorities into action—to embody what matters most to us in our everyday behaviors. (166)

Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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