Being Fully Engaged at Home and Work
Read the following quote from President Woodrow Wilson "We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction. There are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our own ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves." He said this back in 1919 well before our technological revolution but is as applicable today as it was then.
We are living in a digital age where we have technological distractions every hour every day. We have access to check our office email throughout the night if we want to. If we allow technology to rule us we will not be able to renew and recharge which is absolutely needed to live a healthy fulfilled life.
This is where I think the work of Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz help. They wrote a book called The Power of Full Engagement and it has excellent strategies to renew ourselves. The main thesis is energy, not time is the fundamental currency of peak performance. It is our most precious resource. Just ponder this question “As a leader and manager how valuable would it be to bring more positive energy and passion to the workplace?” According to Gallup surveys only 30% of the workforce is fully engaged in their work.
We 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 come at us. The authors say that stress itself is not a bad thing because 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.
Build strong rituals and you will have to exercise lesser willpower which is only in limited supply. For example if you install a ritual of reading 30 minutes per day before you sleep overtime this becomes automatic and you don’t need to exert will to do it. Creating positive rituals is the most powerful means to effectively manage energy.
Another thing we all know is if we have clearly defined values and mission for our life then we manage ourselves much better. For example if good health is a value that you don’t compromise on then no matter what you will do exercise, eat rightly because of your mission to keep health at the forefront of your life.
According to Bryan Robinson who is quoted in the book as having written widely about overwork “Overwork is this decade’s cocaine, the problem without a name. Workaholism manifests itself through self-imposed demands, an inability to regulate work habits and overindulgence in work – to the exclusion of all other activities.” I like this line as well “The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership.”
I like these 3 questions the authors ask
How excited are you to get to work in the morning?
How much do you enjoy what you do for its own sake rather than for what it gets you?
How accountable do you hold yourself to a deeply held set of values?
Finally if we go to bed early and wake up early, take adequate rest, keep physically active, engage our minds in excellent resources we will be fully active at home and at work.The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.