Toward the end of last year, I shared the first two "3-E skills for the future": Empathize and Entertain. If you haven't yet, you can read them on the AMT Group website's Blog. Now let’s move on to “E Number 3” which is actually Number 1: ENERGY. We all know Einstein's famous equation, yet how many come close to understanding it, or its implications?
If Einstein is right, and Energy really equals mass times the speed of light squared, then the saying “energy is everything” is literally true. (Note that when I say "literally true" here, I mean it...literally.) All that we see around us and in us is energy. All matter is energy; the fact that we can see matter as something solid is just our limited perception. And by the way, energy, especially emotional energy, is contagious. Positive, Negative, High, Low. All are contagious. And as Tony Schwartz says, “Managing Energy, not time, is the key to high performance and personal renewal.” In other words, "Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance" (another quote by Tony Schwartz).
How well do you manage your personal energy?
Do you know your “Chrono-type”? It’s actually an easy concept.
Daniel Pink’s 2018 book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, prescribes how to get the most of your own energy by recognizing, first, whether you are an “Early Bird," a “Night Owl,” or a “Third bird,” and then organizing your day around your (and others’) personal energy peaks and valleys. According to Pink (and the experts he cites), we all follow the same pattern—peak, trough, recovery–but these time periods take place at different times of the day for different chronotypes. Think about your own day. Are there regular times you seem get tired, or when are you most “up”? Build in down time during a natural valley. “Napuccinos” (a quick coffee immediately prior to a nap allows you to rest and the caffeine to kick in about 20 minutes later), meditation breaks, quick walks.
Pink suggests basing your tasks on what part of the day you are in:
PEAK: Analytic tasks. Heads down, keeping out distractions.
TROUGH: (most people, mid-afternoon)—good for pretty much nothing. More mistakes (in hospitals, on assembly lines, negotiations, court cases). Best for routine admin tasks, e-mail, that kind of thing.
RECOVERY: Brainstorming, creative stuff. Your mood is generally higher, but less vigilant.
There’s a survey Pink offers to find out which bird you are, and also an easy way to estimate: Find the midpoint of a typical night's sleep when you have no schedule/alarm. If the midpoint's before 3 AM, you're a Lark; a midpoint after 5 AM, you're a night owl; between 3AM – 5AM, you're a "Third Bird."
So we have Empathy, Entertainment, and Energy. How to build them? It all starts with awareness:
How empathetic are you? Who determines your level of empathy? (Hint: it’s not you.) Know your audience—your customers, inside and outside the firm. What is important to them? How can you attract and hold their interest? How can you be more interesting? The simple answer is to…be more interested! It’s been said before: “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
And the third E, the BIG E, the E of Everything: ENERGY! How are you managing your energy? Day-to-day, week-to-week, month -to-month? Dan Pink wrote a whole book on it. Check it out! And Tony Schwartz wrote The Power of Full Engagement, one of my all-time favorite business books. Reading or listening to these two books will make great use of your “down time,” far better than social media or reading the news. After re-reading them, I reviewed and am now sticking to a more energizing diet, exercise and sleep schedule…can you find any changes that will work for you? And finally, I suggest building your listening and empathy skills. Take them as seriously as you do the rest of your professional development.
There are other ways to build personal energy, and we'll be exploring several this year. There's always more to explore...and especially in the year of the Boar. Happy 2019!