RELEASE TENSION, SET INTENTION
BRING THE JOY
As you might expect, it takes a lot of energy to succeed over the long haul. High performers have the magical trifecta of capital “E” Energy – that holistic kind that includes positive and enduring mental, physical, and emotional vibrancy. It’s the key force that helps them perform better in many areas of their life. It’s why high performers have so much more passion, stamina, and motivation. if you can tap into the capital “E” Energy stored within, the world is yours.
You’ll notice that energy isn’t just physical, which is how most people conceive of it. Mental alertness matters, too. So does positive emotion. In fact, all three have been correlated with high performance. When I use the word energy in this book, then, keep in mind it means the full spectrum of mental, emotional, and physical vibrancy.
So low energy not only hurts your ability to reach high performance overall, it pervades all aspects of your life. You feel less happy. You don’t take on the big challenges. You feel as if everyone is passing you by. Your confidence tanks. You eat worse. You get fatter. You struggle to get people to believe in you, buy from you, follow you, support you.
But of course, the flip side also applies. Increase your energy, and you improve all those factors.
And there’s more. Energy is also positively related to educational attainment, creativity, and assertiveness. This tends to mean that the more energy someone has, the more likely they are to pursue higher levels of education, to come with creative ideas at work, and to speak up for themselves and take action toward their dream. That’s why organizations and academic institutions worldwide would get very serious about developing employee and student energy scores.
Bottom line: The more energy someone has, the more likely they are to be happy and climb to the top of their primary field of interest.
The good news is, you can dramatically increase your energy and overall performance with just a few simple practices. Your energy is not a fixed mental, physical, or emotional state. Again, you don’t “have” energy any more than a power plant does. A power plant transforms and transmits energy. In the same regard, you don’t “have” happiness. Rather, you transform your thoughts into feelings that are or are not happy. You don’t have to “have” sadness; you can transform it into something else.
This means you don’t have to “wait” for joy, motivation, love excitement, or any other positive emotion in life. You can choose to generate it, on demand, any time you want, through the power of habit.
Like any other area of your life or any other set of skills, it can be improved. Here are the big three practices I’ve seen high performers leverage to maintain their edge and their energy.
Practice One: Release Tension, Set Intention
In a decade of coaching high performers, I’ve found that the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to help them increase their energy is to teach them to master transitions.
What do I mean by transitions? Well, every morning when you wake up and start your day, you experience a transition from rest to activation. The start of your day is a transition.
At work, when you finish creating that presentation and now go to check e-mail, that’s a transition. You’re going from creative mode to e-mail mode. When a meeting ends and you walk back to your desk, sit down, and jump on a conference call, that’s a transition. The workday ends, you hop back into the car and head to the gym. Two more transitions. Pull up to your house after a long day and walk into your home to become Mommy or Daddy. Transition.
You get the idea. Our days comprise a series of transitions.
These transitions are immensely valuable – a powerful space of freedom between activities. And it’s in this space that you’ll discover your greatest restorer and amplifier of energy.
This about all the transitions you experience during the day. Take a moment and write a few of them down.
I’m convinced that if we can get you change the way you shift from one activity to the next, we can revitalize your life. So, are you ready for an experiment?
From now on, as you move from one major activity to another, try this:
- Close your eyes for the next minute or two.
- Repeat the word release in your mind, over and over. As you do, command your body to release all the tension in your shoulders, in your neck, in your face and jaw. Release the tension in your back and your legs. Release the tension in your mind and spirit. if this is hard, just focus on each part of your body, breathe deeply, and repeat the word release in your mind. This doesn’t have to take long – just a minute or two repeating the word release.
- When you feel you’ve released some tension – and it doesn’t have to be all the tension in your life! – move to the next part: SET INTENTION. This means think about what you want to feel and achieve in the next activity you’re about to take on when you open your eyes. Ask, “What energy do I want to bring into this next activity? How can I do this next activity with excellence? How can I enjoy the process?” These don’t have to be the exact questions you ask, but these are the kinds of question that will prompt your mind to be more present in the next activity.
I do this RELEASE TENSION, SET INTENTION activity before and after workouts, before I pick up the phone to call someone, before I write an e-mail to my team, before I shoot a video, before I got out of the car and go to lunch with friends, before I walk out onto a stage in front of twenty thousand people. it has saved me many times from anxiety and a poor performance: before I walked into a room and got interview by Oprah, before I sat down to dinner with a US president, before I proposed to my wife. All I can say is, thank God for this practice!
You, too, can find and summon new energy and life in the moments in between. Remember, just take a beat, close your eyes, and RELEASE TENSION, SET INTENTION.
Regardless of how you choose to take a break, meditate, or otherwise deal with stress, the idea is to form a habit and stick to it.
- The things that cause me the most amount of tension each day are …
- A way I could remind myself to release that tension throughout the day is …
- If I felt more energy each day, I would be more likely to …
- When I reset my energy each day with this practice, I’d like to start the next activity feeling …