I am very aware that managing your energy is a lot
more important than managing your time. If you run
out of energy, it doesn't matter how much time you
have. This month I would like to share a new way to
manage your energy. Stories are a powerful way to
Managing Energy with Stories
Most of us respond to workplace demands by putting
in longer hours. But nothing positive comes from expending
extra time without devoting high-quality, focused energy.
High performance requires you to manage energy not
In The Power of Full Engagement (2003), authors Jim
Loehr and Tony Schwartz assert we need to learn two new
- Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance.
- Performance, health and happiness are grounded in
skillfully managing your energy.
Loehr puts forth a third important rule:
- The stories we tell ourselves and others drive the
way we gather and spend energy.
Loehr's new book, The Power of Story: Rewrite Your Destiny
in Business and in Life (2007), stresses that faulty storytelling
drives the way executives gather and spend their energy.
Tell yourself the right story, and the dynamics of your
energy will change. Stories you tell will either create
or sap your energy.
A perfect example is the old story about two shoe salesmen
sent to Africa. The first one telegraphs back to company
headquarters: "Situation hopeless: No one wears shoes."
The second salesman reports: "Situation ideal:
Everyone need shoes!"
Which story generates energy? Change your story, and
you change your energy.
Full Engagement Versus "Presenteeism"
Depleted energy may be one of the reasons more than
two-thirds of employees feel less than fully engaged at
work (The Gallup Organization, 2004).
Companies incur unnecessary costs approximately
$350 billion a year as a consequence of unengaged
people who simply show up for work. Some have dubbed this
phenomenon presenteeism: the act of showing up for work
in a fog. These workers aren't absent; they just go through
the motions. But they're missing in action, and their impaired
performance actually costs more than absenteeism.
Principles of Energy Management
Energy Flows from Stories
- The following principles from Loehr and Schwartz
can be applied to corporate executives and employees
at all levels:
- Energy has four dimensions: physical, mental, emotional
and spiritual. You must draw from each one.
- Energy is best managed when there's oscillation between
stress and recovery. Stress, in this case, refers to
"positive stress," which allows us to stretch ourselves
when using our talents and skills. But it must be balanced
with recovery and rest. Unfortunately, most of us don't
know how to do this.
- Pushing beyond our usual limits heightens our strengths.
Building mental, emotional and spiritual capacities
is similar to physical training that improves our strength
or cardiovascular levels.
- Creating replenishing rituals and stories sustains
and expands our energy. This is the key to bolstering
our energy reserves.
Your personal energy can reward you with wealth, innovation
and fulfillment. The concept is best expressed as follows:
"If you believe you can, you can. If you believe you
can't, you can't. Either way, you're right."
Let's be clear: You cannot achieve everything you want
in life with a simple wish and a bold statement. But through
storytelling, you energize yourself and others by stating
your desired purpose, what you know to be true and direct
people to hope-filled action.
Ask yourself again: What stories am I telling myself
and others that help energize purpose-filled action?
Three Ingredients of Good Stories
All good stories have purpose, truth and action. This is
why stories must be rewritten many times over: to correct
faulty assumptions and misperceptions. Here are several questions
you must answer when creating an energizing story:
What is my ultimate purpose (or my company’s ultimate
What am I living/working for?
What is my defining principle and goal?
What makes me do what I do?
What is the one thing I would do, even if I had to walk
What would I work for, even if there was no pay?
How do I want to be remembered?
Is the story I'm telling true?
Is this my story or merely what I believe it should be?
Is it grounded in objective reality?
What assumptions am I making?
Are any of them faulty?
What am I white-washing to make myself look better?
Is my private voice in synch with my public voice?
What actions will I now take to make things better?
Which habits do I need to eliminate?
Which habits should I begin to breed?
Am I an observer or a participator?
Are my actions filled with hope—the belief I will succeed
and that the change I seek is realistically within my grasp?
Does this story inspire others to action?
How Stories Help
When you ask yourself these basic questions about what
you do and how you conduct yourself, you begin to identify
your story's dynamics. This will help you write several
versions: your old story and a new one.
First, write down your current story. After hard and honest
work (and many rewrites), you'll produce a story that accurately
reflects the way things have been going in your life.
Next, discard this story and recast it as your old story.
It's time to replace it with a new, forward-moving story.
Use the following questions to evaluate faulty elements
in your old story—issues and behaviors that will no longer
serve you well in the future:
Will this story take me where I want to go in life (while
at the same time remaining true to my deepest values and
Does the story reflect the truth as much as possible?
Does this story stimulate me to take action?
If stories determine your destiny, achieving one of your
own design requires commitment, honesty and energy. This
requires editing your stories for as long as you're alive.
I want to say "Thank You" to all
of you for your support, your references, your kindness
and your encouragement. I am looking forward to the opportunity
to help and support many clients as they realize their dreams.
If you know of anyone in need of a coach to walk with them
as they achieve their dreams, please contact me at
e-mail me by clicking here
Please forward this to one of your friends, so they can become a subscriber by going to my web site
coachpinney.com and signing up.
For the last twenty-two
years Jerry Pinney has been president of his own consulting firm.
Currently he focuses his efforts on providing executive and personal
coaching to persons who are interested in improving their quality
of life and consulting to small and mid-sized companies and nonprofits.
He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative
Board and is a Certified One Page Planning Consultant. Jerry has
over three decades of experience in the food industry, and possesses
a unique perspective of customer service, marketing and strategic
planning. In addition to overall general management qualifications,
Jerry has proven expertise in operational planning and business
development. His food industry career started at Jewel Food Stores
followed by a long career with IGA, with their retailers, wholesalers
and ten years as Vice President of Marketing. In addition Jerry
has served as Vice President of Membership for the National Grocers
Association, Sr. Vice President of Procurement for Shurfine International
and Executive Manager of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.
Jerry has also served on a number of nonprofit
boards including: President of the Volunteer Center of Northwest
Suburban Chicago. He is currently a Project Manager for the Executive
Service Corps of Chicago. Jerrys ESC assignments have included
coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting on various
Board Development projects and on a number of strategic planning
Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
e-mail me by clicking here