Think that brainpower alone will maintain high performing teams? Think again. Instead, it takes a special kind of energy, which is created from a combination of four aspects of our lives: the body, mind, emotions and spirit (yes, spirit!).
I’ve invited expert Tom Ward, founder and principal of NextLevel, to be a guest blogger on building strength in these four aspects of our lives. Together we will explain the Human Performance Institute’s theory behind energy training, cover each level of human energy in detail and provide action steps for you to experiment with while working toward your true performance potential.
In this post, we will give an overview on how to manage energy to maintain peak performance. Let’s start with a common myth:
In order to live and lead the life you want, managing energy, not just time, is the key.
Simply managing time is a losing proposition. That 25th hour in a day will never come. In order to live and lead the life you want, managing energy, not just time, is the key.
Let us illustrate with a story.
Mary is the mother of two, successful business owner and a self-described workaholic. Her days typically start at 6 a.m. and often end at 10 p.m. When she has the odd hour or two “free”, she’s typically glued to her iPad. Last fall, she made a commitment to attend her son’s home soccer games. During a mid-season game, with work deadlines looming, she decided to bring her iPad to a game. During the game, her son scored his first goal of the season, but she missed it because she was focused on work. After the game, her son told her not to bother to attend any more games. He said, “It was disappointing and embarrassing to look at you in the stands today with your face buried in your iPad. You missed the goal I scored. My teammates asked me why you bothered to come when you’re really weren’t there.”
Understanding Human Energy
The outcome of the time we invest in any activity is directly related to the energy we invest in it. Can you remember an occasion when you had very little time to complete an assignment, but you completed it and the outcome was extraordinary? How about another occasion when you had a lot of time to complete an assignment, but the outcome was mediocre? What were the key differences in your experiences? Ask yourself:
- How much physical energy did you have: a little or a lot?
- What was the quality of your emotional energy: positive or negative?
- Was your mental energy focused or distracted?
- What was the force of your spiritual energy: committed or uncommitted?
The Human Performance Institute, through its Corporate Athlete® course (which Tom Ward was fortunate enough to attend, learn to teach, and then teach), characterizes human energy using a pyramid, with physical energy being the foundation. On the next level up, we have our emotional energy, followed by mental energy and, at the top, spiritual energy. What’s more, the four dimensions of our energy are completely integrated. We develop from the bottom of the pyramid up, yet we become extraordinary from the top down. And, when we’re feeling off in any dimension, it affects the other dimensions. If you’ve ever experienced sleep deprivation, you know what I’m talking about.
© Human Performance Institute Division of Wellness & Prevention, Inc.
Discover Your Energy Sweet Spot With Awareness
The sweet spot of human energy is Full Engagement, which is the acquired ability to intentionally invest your FULL and BEST energy, right HERE, right NOW.
Awareness is the key to fully engaging in life. A great tool to help with energy awareness is the Four-Dimensional Energy Audit, developed by the Human Performance Institute. What’s truly great about this tool is that you can do it anytime and, based upon the results, make adjustments to how you’re investing your energy to live life on your terms.
Take an Energy Audit
Here’s how it works.
- On a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being low and 4 being high, rate the quantity of your physical energy.
- Next, with 1 being toxically negative and 4 being fully positive, rate the quality of your energy.
- Next, with 1 being completely scattered and 4 being laser focused, rate the focus of your energy.
- Finally, with 1 being completely uncommitted and 4 being fully committed, rate the force of your energy.
- Now, tally the score.
- If you scored between 14 and 16, congratulations! You’re fully engaged! Between 10 and 13? You’re partially engaged. Between 6 and 9? You’re partially disengaged. Below 6? Fully disengaged.
You can audit your energy several times a day because leading a fully engaged life doesn’t just happen. It’s not random. It’s done on purpose. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself: “Who and what are getting the best of my energy?” If it’s not who and what matters most to you, you have an opportunity to make some course corrections. It all starts with awareness.
Stay tuned for next week’s post when we discuss how physical energy is key to performance on all levels of life. In the meantime, if you’ve had the opportunity to train with The Human Performance Institute, we’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below, send me an email or find me on Twitter.
For the full series on leadership in the zone, start with understanding the four elements of human energy and how to expand them. Read about how physical energy is the base level to all elements of leadership, and how food, movement, sleep and strategic recovery will increase capacity. Explore emotional energy, and learn three strategies to use your emotional energy to foster a more positive mindset. Then, take a look at the downfalls of multitasking, and how expanding mental energy will allow you to be fully present and laser focused.