The Power of Full Engagement
by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
Free Press
245 pages

Loehr and Schwartz, two senior partners at LGE Performance Systems, have developed a program that aims to help readers revolutionize the way they live their lives. By helping them focus on managing their energy, rather than their time, the authors offer strategies that can improve performance, health, happiness and life balance.

They start their book with the idea that the "number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not." Using this as their ideological base, the authors present a practical, scientific approach to managing energy more skillfully both on and off the job. This approach culminates in the Corporate Athlete ® training system that has helped some of the world's greatest athletes perform more effectively under stiff competition, including Monica Seles, Eric Lindros and Grant Hill.

The Corporate Athlete training system aims to help those involved "perform in the storm" by building the capacity that is necessary to sustain high performance in the face of increasing demand. To provide readers with the key training principles of this system, the authors present a road map that can help them become more fully engaged, physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned.

Fundamentals of Full Engagement

Fundamentals contained in The Power of Full Engagement include:

  • Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake.
  • Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.
  • We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity. We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our ordinary limits and then recovering.
  • A positive ritual is a behavior that becomes automatic over time -- fueled by some deeply held value.

The authors present numerous examples of engaged and unengaged individuals who reveal crucial aspects of their improvement system. By discussing the balance of stress and recovery, the body's need for oscillation, eating better, getting sufficient sleep, exercising properly, and maintaining physical energy, the authors present a game plan that reveals the optimum level of each while providing strategies for getting there. The authors also explain the importance of recovery breaks, interval training, and eating, breathing and drinking right.

The authors also show readers how they can attain better emotional balance. Their tips include ways to access positive emotions; build self-control, self-confidence, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy; minimize negative emotions; and find emotional renewal and recovery.

Realistic Optimism

The Power of Full Engagement also helps readers develop the mental capacity to organize their lives and focus their attention. The authors write that the "mental energy that best serves full engagement is realistic optimism -- seeing the world as it is, but always working positively toward a desired outcome or solution." Their tips for exercising mental muscles include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management and creativity.

The last element in the author's system of becoming fully engaged is spiritual energy. They write that spiritual energy provides the force for action in all dimensions of our lives, and fuels passion, perseverance and commitment. Spiritual energy, they point out, is derived from a connection to deeply held values and a purpose beyond our self-interest, and is served by character -- the courage and conviction to live by our deepest values.

The Power of Full Engagement also discusses the search for meaning and purpose in one's life, and provides many examples of ways people can measure the power of purpose and find purpose through values, virtues and creating a vision statement that creates a blueprint for investing energy. From this foundation, the authors show readers how they can use rituals to effectively manage their energy and regulate their behavior.

Why We Like This Book

Loehr and Schwartz have created an inspirational guidebook that can help anyone get more from his or her life. The Power of Full Engagement shows readers how they can take a positive approach to growth and improvement by presenting dozens of solid examples of people who have benefited from change, and provides numerous ways readers can focus and align their lives mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. By presenting performance psychology in basic terms, the authors offer accessible ways people can improve their performance at all levels of life.

Copyright © 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries