High Performance Doesn't Exist Without This
‘Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance’
The Power of Full Engagement
In the research for my book Optimize Yourself I discovered there are more layers to energy than just our physical energy.
In this article I will discuss the different layers of energy, how they interact and affect each other and of course, the overall impact this has on us.
The most obvious energy source and the foundation for all of our sources of energy is our physical energy. This is the energy that provides the driving force for us to be able to DO things.
Physical energy is the most important energy source for sustained performance and it interacts with all of our sources of energy.
To keep this simple, physical energy can be broken down into three key elements – nutrition, exercise and sleep.
These are the three main influencing factors that determine how much physical energy you have. Some may argue that these are not all equal and some are more vital than others but I believe we need to look after each of these elements in equal measure as they all impact each other.
A quick quiz then…
Do you get enough healthy nutrition each day? A balanced diet? Plenty of water?
Do you exercise at least 3 times per week?
Do you get enough quality sleep each night and wake up feeling refreshed?
If you are taking care of each of these elements then you will probably have good or great levels of physical energy. Of course life’s circumstances will impact on these and it is not always possible to look after each of them as well as we would like, but if we have a constant focus on trying to meet each of these physical needs then we are going a long way to ensuring our energy levels remain high.
Physical energy is the foundation of all the energy sources. It is very difficult to master the other energy sources when we are struggling physically.
Your body should always be near the top of your priorities.
People with good levels of physical energy have more vitality, glow and zest for life and who doesn’t want that?
Plus, those with higher levels of physical energy are more equipped to deal with the inevitable challenges life presents us with.
Mental energy is certainly influenced by our physical energy but it also operates as an individual source. Mental energy can be seen as our ability to focus upon the task at hand with minimal internal distractions.
In my book I refer to these internal distractions as interference.
Interference can be anything from doubt, fear and any other unwanted thoughts that take you out of the moment.
All great performers have learned how to master their mental energy. To focus with unwavering attention on the task at hand.
Being able to hold your attention on whatever it is that you are doing is a real asset. It’s even more of an asset in today’s world because the advancements in technology mean that we are training our brains to always be thinking of several things at once – smartphones being the main contributor to this!
So just like we can build up our stamina physically, we can also build up our stamina mentally – our ability to keep our focus for longer periods of time.
Tasks which might benefit from having good levels of mental energy?
Meetings with clients and colleagues
Quality time spent with loved ones (listening!)
Presentations and pitches
Making or taking phone calls
Driving long distances
Any physical activity
And DOZENS more I am sure you can think of…
What one task that you complete regularly would massively benefit from you bringing greater levels of mental energy to the occasion?
So how do we improve it?
Well it obviously starts with the physical. It’s hard to concentrate our minds if we have not had adequate rest, nutrition and some form of exercise (to get those healthy hormones flowing around your body and mind).
But beyond that periods of strengthening our mental focus such as yoga and meditation are good exercises – like the gym for the mind. Give them a go.
Also (and this one may be a counter-intuitive idea given the nature of this article) try slowing down!
It’s hard to concentrate if we continue to try and live every day at hundred miles per hour with more on our plate than we can possibly balance. Less is more sometimes. I have written a whole post about this.
Think about how many different emotions and moods you experience on a daily basis. It’s a LOT.
Are you generally in a positive mood or a negative mood?
I am not talking about the face you put on to the outside world here, I am talking about how you feel on the inside, behind the mask!
Emotional energy is all about managing our emotions. Our emotions play a huge role in the importance of our lives, some believe they are EVERYTHING when it comes to how we experience life.
When you think about it, these people do have a point. Our emotions can be seen as the fabric of all our experiences, so yes, they are important indeed.
You are more likely to have better emotional energy if you are looking after the first two pillars – the physical and the mental.
If you look after your body, get decent sleep, eat well, keep hydrated and you don’t run around at 100 MPH every day (you know the type) then you probably have fairly good emotional energy.
The more physical strength you have, the more emotional strength you will have.
Having positive emotional energy also comes as a direct result of thinking positive thoughts.
That’s right. Our thoughts are directly linked to our emotions. And who doesn’t want to FEEL good? And it is near on impossible to feel good if the quality of your thoughts are poor.
That one is worth reflecting on.
So if you want to improve the way you feel, keep an eye on your thoughts on a daily basis. Be more mindful and listen to what they are telling you. Then decide, are you happy with what they are telling you or is it time to change them?
The final energy pillar is our spiritual energy. A less obvious one but it shouldn’t be really, given that we are all made of spirit at the very essence.
For the purpose of this article I am going to refer to this energy source as the times when you are feeling ‘high in spirits’.
We have all experienced these moments and the best thing about them is they can come when doing the simplest of activities...
A cup of tea
A cold beer by the sunset
A crisp autumn morning walk
Time spent in nature
Fun times with loved ones (laughter!)
Taking this one step further I believe the people who are the highest in their spirits are those who have an inspirational vision for their life.
It is pretty hard to feel inspired if you don’t have any idea where you are going and what your preferences are. The only way to really discover this is with introspection – time thinking about these things. What do you want? What makes you happy? How can you experience more of it?
“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realisation of worthy goals”
I love educating my audiences on how to raise these energy pillars in my motivational speaking, I hope this blog has inspired you to raise your own...
Once again, thanks for reading.
Martin Robert Hall
'Motivational Speaker and High Performance Consultant'