The Power of Full Engagement


Managing energy, not time, as the key to high performance and personal renewal.

By Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz | Reviewed by Susan Nowell, PT, DPT

The Power of Full Engagement asserts that energy management is the key to high performance and improved health, happiness, and balance in the workplace. The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quality of our energy is not. We live in digital times; we are simultaneously experiencing increased reliance on technology and increased time constraints. The authors claim “energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance” and that “performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.”

The authors, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, have codeveloped the Full Engagement model and the Corporate Athlete Training System through extensive work with individuals in high-pressure situations: professional athletes, FBI hostage rescue teams, U.S. marshals, hospital critical-care workers, and Fortune 500 companies. Through this work, they discovered something unexpected: The performance demands that most people face in everyday life outweigh those of professional athletes. The reason for this is that a professional athlete’s life is built around managing energy in all arenas—eating and sleeping, calling on the appropriate emotions, mentally preparing and staying focused, and regularly connecting to their greater athletic purpose.


The Full Engagement model proposes four primary principles to achieving greater work performance and balance:

  1. We must be “corporate athletes” pulling from four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
  2. Because energy capacity diminishes with either underuse or overuse, we must balance episodes of energy expenditure with periods of renewal.
  3. To build greater capacities, we must push beyond our normal limits, training systematically the way that elite athletes do (we build emotional, mental, and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity).
  4. Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance (a positive ritual is a behavior that comes from deeply held values).

The book outlines each of the proposed principles in great detail and provides a “Corporate Athlete” Personal Development Plan worksheet with additional resources in the index. The worksheet provides focused questions to assess values, strengths, personal vision, and career visions, to address barriers and to incorporate rituals of energy management for best performance.

As the health care climate is rapidly changing with increasing administrative burdens and declining payment for services, we are under greater time constraints to provide good services and demonstrate our quality and value. As a result of these increased time constraints, we are at greater risk to be overwhelmed, exhausted, and burnt out. As physical therapists, we are well aware of the importance of the mind-body connection in rehabilitating our patients. It’s important that we give the same care to ourselves so that we can better serve our patients. This means we need to focus on maximizing the strength, flexibility, endurance, and resilience of our mental, emotional, and spiritual energies as well as our physical. The Power of Full Engagement is a great resource for maximizing your energy management.

Susan Nowell, PT, DPT, is a PPS member and founder of Endurellect Therapies, practicing PT in San Francisco. She can be reached at

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