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We’ve all heard the saying that “time is our most precious resource”.
Although time is sacred, I’m of the opinion that our most valuable resource is energy – not time.
You see in our modern era we constantly borrow from Peter to pay Paul, and it’s a poor trade.
We deplete ourselves of our physical energy by burning the candle at both ends and by neglecting to properly feed and care for our bodies. This persists week after week, year after year until we squander our biological inheritance and rely on modern medicine to cover the symptoms.
We spend all of our time on social media yet somehow feel disconnected from our friends, our family, and from ourselves. We live in a time full of prosperity and rich in opportunity yet suffer from the highest known levels of depression and mental illness.
In our always on culture, we drown ourselves with “headline news” yet thirst for true wisdom. We live lives of constant distraction, jumping from task to task, and lack true depth, focus, and creativity.
We live lives of quiet desperation, disconnected from our values, and lacking of purpose. Many of us realize only much later in life the Faustian bargain we have made and ask ourselves, “It is supposed to be this way?”.
The true peak performers amongst us are the ones who best manage their energies.
By now most of us understand that what is robbing us of our ability to perform or truly achieve whatever it is we want to accomplish is multi-faceted.
The key is to become conscious and aware of what engages us and what drains us energetically.
Most of us understand this perspective of managing when applied to managing physical energy, but undervalue and under appreciate the power of harnessing the other dimensions of energy.
In Tony Schwartz’s classic “The Power of Full Engagement” (#4 in our Top Recommended books), Schwartz lays out the case that Energy has four quadrants:
Physical energy is the spark that will allow us to actively carry out your life and seize the moment.
Emotional energy influences your self-confidence, self-discipline, sociability and empathy.
Mental energy allows you to have focus, creativity, and to apply our intelligence.
Spiritual energy comes from having a sense of purpose, developed values, helping others, and integrity. Having a strong integrity means doing things according to your values even when you have to face some of the hardest challenges in life.
Keys to Managing Energy
Draw energy from each dimension. Each dimension is necessary, but no single one is sufficient.
Undulate balance stress and rest. Some acute stress is actually good, however chronic high or low level stress impairs our performance. To maintain a powerful drive in our lives, we must learn how to undulate between energy expediture and renewal.
Practice going beyond your limits and living outside your comfort zone. There is a well known acronym in the world of strength training, at that term is SAID, which stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. Applying this concept means that we must cultivate the practice of developing all the elements of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual “strength”.
Use energy rituals to renew your energy. Peak performers create space to renew all 4 energy quadrants.
So in summary the principles I’ve outlined here form the foundations from which I try to live from.
Now am I always able to follow all of these practices and principles? Of course not, I’m human, and I fail and make mistakes like everyone else.
I stay up too late, I work too hard, I get too self involved, and often times neglect the ones I love.
But hear me out the key is to remember that all of this is about our orientation it’s about direction and not perfection.
And I believe that these core principles are the foundation for anyone who wishes to go from good to great, from great to world class.
So tell me – How are you managing your energies? Leave your feedback below.