Director's Message: Lessons from 'The Power of Full Engagement'

March 5, 2013
The basics premise of “The Power of Full Engagement” (written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz) is “energy management,” not time management, as the key to extraordinary results.

The basics premise of “The Power of Full Engagement” (written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz) is “energy management,” not time management, as the key to extraordinary results.

Many of us set out to be extraordinary in the things that matter, such as an extraordinary dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, office manager, consultant, sale professionals, parent, partner, friend, etc. In order to be extraordinary, according to Loehr and Schwartz, we must be fully engaged in whatever we are doing. Full engagement is the acquired ability to invest full energy and the best strategy — right here, right now.

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“The Power of Full Engagement” describes four energy systems, all which need to be trained (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). The best way to train any of the energy systems is to oscillate between periods of work when you are fully engaged, and rest and recuperation. Below are my take-aways from the writings of Loehr and Schwartz.

Full Engagement Objectives

The goal of being fully engaged is to perform at our highest levels in the midst of storms. Storms refer to all the life circumstances that bring stress, whether good stress or bad stress. Loehr and Schwartz recommend partnering with a coach to navigate the challenges and obstacles that may arise. By working with a coach, one can build the skills and capacity to remain fully engaged and perform to your best regardless of the conditions. Additionally, this partnership may help you complete any mission you are on, regardless of the storms you might face. Mission success is driven by quantity, quality, focus, and force of energy you invest in the time you have.

Barriers to Full Engagement

The barriers to full engagements may include insufficient energy capacity and poor energy management. For example, multi-tasking is the enemy of the extraordinary. It has been found that being partially disengaged or engaged in everything drain your energy.

Principles of Energy Management

Energy Management Principle #1

Physical — Engage the Body

1. Nutrition
2. Movement
3. Hydration
4. Sleep
5. Rest
6. Breath regulation
7. Body language

Mental — Engage the Mind

1. Logical, realistic thinking
2. Focus
3. Concentration
4. Mental preparation
5. Self-awareness
6. Time management
7. Creativity
8. Curiosity

Emotional — Engage the Heart

1. Solution-based optimism
2. Confidence
3. Interpersonal effectiveness

Spiritual — Engage the Spirit

1. Vision/purpose
2. Principle-centered/ethical

Energy Management Principle #2

Full engagement requires that energy investment be balanced with intermittent energy deposits (rest and recuperation)

1. Performance depends on energy expenditure and recovery in all dimensions.
2. Process of expressing and renewing energy is called oscillation.
3. Stress-energy out: Stimuli for growth.
4. Recovery-Energy in: When growth occurs.

Energy Management Principle #3

Full engagement requires that we push beyond our normal limits, training like an elite athlete. Pushing yourself outside your current comfort level by investing extraordinary energy in the capacity you want to grow. No discomfort, no growth.

1. Stress is an opportunity for growth.
2. Protection from stress erodes capacity.
3. Things that push us the most often help us the most.
4. Discomfort accompanies stress.

Energy Management Principle #4

Full engagement requires positive habits, disciplines, goals, and/or rituals. These are precise behaviors that become automatic over time.

1. We must use our self-disciple to build new positive rituals or habits that support full engagement in the things that matter.
2. A positive habit must be valued and requires energy, time and action.

The 3 Step Process to Achieving Full-Engagement

1. Facing the truth
a. Where are you now?
b. How engaged are you now?

2. Defining Purpose
a. Where are you going?
b. How engaged do you want to be?

3. Taking Action

a. How will you get there?
b. What habits or disciplines must you create to enhance engagement and mission success?

Facing the TRUTH objectives: Understand and confront your reality of engagement, the truth in four key areas:

1. Current engagement in your professional and personal life.
2. Habits that undermine or compromise engagement.
3. Stories that drive engagement or disengagement.
4. Cost and consequences of disengagement.
i. Family
ii. Health
iii. Friends
iv. Community
v. Job/business

Defying Purpose Objectives

1. Establish the importance and function of purpose and core values in both full engagement and the mission of personal change. (Becoming your “best self”)
2. Understand the powerful personal and professional consequences of aligning your energy investment with your ultimate mission in life.

‘Without a clearly defined purpose, that matters beyond survival, without great clarity in your ultimate destination, the relentless storms of everyday life become overwhelming. The more the mission matters to you, the more energy you are willing to commit, the greater the force of your energy and the greater the chance of success.”

Taking Action

1. Design habits and or rituals (goals) to increase the flow of energy in the service of your targeted mission.
2. Commit to a concrete action plan, a specific date and ongoing accountability system (SMART goals/coaching)

6 Keys to Building Rituals

1. Link the change you want to make to one or more core values.
2. Invest extraordinary energy for 30-60 days.
3. Be precise in both timing and behavior.
4. Acquire only a few key rituals at any time.
5. Focus on what you want. Not on what you do not want.
6. Create a supportive environment.

Kristine A. Hodsdon, RDH, BS
RDH eVillage, Director


The Power of Full Engagement; Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz; The Free Press 2003.
The Power of Story, Rewrite Your Destiny in Business and Life; Jim Loehr, Free Press 2007.

Kristine’s Note: “Mindset Mastery Success System” is a five module online coaching program with a 47-page workbook that is designed to unlock your life purpose and the action plan that will re-energize your career or business. I invite you to learn more by clicking