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The Body: Physical Energy

In this article, Schwartz, founder of the Energy Project, describes how to establish rituals that will build energy in the four key dimensions. Rejecting the role of a victim and instead viewing events through three hopeful lenses defuses energy-draining negative emotions. Avoiding the constant distractions that technology has introduced increases mental energy. And participating in activities that give you a sense of meaning and purpose boosts the energy of the spirit. The new workday rituals succeed only if leaders support their adoption, but when that happens, the results can be powerful.

A group of Wachovia Bank employees who went through an energy management program outperformed a control group on important financial metrics like loans generated, and they reported substantially improved customer relationships, productivity, and personal satisfaction. When we met him a year ago, he was working to hour days, felt perpetually exhausted, and found it difficult to fully engage with his family in the evenings, which left him feeling guilty and dissatisfied.


He slept poorly, made no time to exercise, and seldom ate healthy meals, instead grabbing a bite to eat on the run or while working at his desk. Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and soaring medical costs among employees.

We at the Energy Project have worked with thousands of leaders and managers in the course of doing consulting and coaching at large organizations during the past five years. The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story. Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit.

In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviors that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible. To effectively reenergize their workforces, organizations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day.

The rituals and behaviors Wanner established to better manage his energy transformed his life. He set an earlier bedtime and gave up drinking, which had disrupted his sleep.

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As a consequence, when he woke up he felt more rested and more motivated to exercise, which he now does almost every morning. In less than two months he lost 15 pounds.

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After working out he now sits down with his family for breakfast. Wanner still puts in long hours on the job, but he renews himself regularly along the way. He leaves his desk for lunch and usually takes a morning and an afternoon walk outside. Establishing simple rituals like these can lead to striking results across organizations.

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At Wachovia Bank, we took a group of employees through a pilot energy management program and then measured their performance against that of a control group. The participants outperformed the controls on a series of financial metrics, such as the value of loans they generated. They also reported substantial improvements in their customer relationships, their engagement with work, and their personal satisfaction. Very few help build and sustain their capacity—their energy—which is typically taken for granted. In fact, greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability.

Our experience at Wachovia bore this out. In early we took employees at 12 regional banks in southern New Jersey through a curriculum of four modules, each of which focused on specific strategies for strengthening one of the four main dimensions of energy.

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We delivered it at one-month intervals to groups of approximately 20 to 25, ranging from senior leaders to lower-level managers. We also assigned each attendee a fellow employee as a source of support between sessions. To create a credible basis for comparison, we looked at year-over-year percentage changes in performance across several metrics. The precise gains varied month by month, but with only a handful of exceptions, the participants continued to significantly outperform the control group for a full year after completing the program. At Wachovia Bank, employees participating in an energy renewal program outperformed a control group of employees, demonstrating significantly greater improvements in year-over-year performance during the first quarter of We also asked participants how the program influenced them personally.

Sixty-eight percent reported that it had a positive impact on their relationships with clients and customers. Seventy-one percent said that it had a noticeable or substantial positive impact on their productivity and performance. Our program begins by focusing on physical energy. Before participants in our program begin to explore ways to increase their physical energy, they take an energy audit, which includes four questions in each energy dimension—body, emotions, mind, and spirit.

Participants also fill out charts designed to raise their awareness about how their exercise, diet, and sleep practices influence their energy levels. The next step is to identify rituals for building and renewing physical energy. When Gary Faro, a vice president at Wachovia, began the program, he was significantly overweight, ate poorly, lacked a regular exercise routine, worked long hours, and typically slept no more than five or six hours a night.

That is not an unusual profile among the leaders and managers we see. Over the course of the program, Faro began regular cardiovascular and strength training. He started going to bed at a designated time and sleeping longer. The aim was to help him stabilize his glucose levels over the course of the day, avoiding peaks and valleys. He lost 50 pounds in the process, and his energy levels soared.

Another key ritual Faro adopted was to take brief but regular breaks at specific intervals throughout the workday—always leaving his desk. The value of such breaks is grounded in our physiology. Toward the end of each cycle, the body begins to crave a period of recovery. The signals include physical restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating, but many of us ignore them and keep working.

The consequence is that our energy reservoir—our remaining capacity—burns down as the day wears on. Intermittent breaks for renewal, we have found, result in higher and more sustainable performance. The length of renewal is less important than the quality. It is possible to get a great deal of recovery in a short time—as little as several minutes—if it involves a ritual that allows you to disengage from work and truly change channels.

That could range from getting up to talk to a colleague about something other than work, to listening to music on an iPod, to walking up and down stairs in an office building. While breaks are countercultural in most organizations and counterintuitive for many high achievers, their value is multifaceted. Matthew Lang is a managing director for Sony in South Africa. He adopted some of the same rituals that Faro did, including a minute walk in the afternoons.

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To do this, they first must become more aware of how they feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on their effectiveness. Confronted with relentless demands and unexpected challenges, people tend to slip into negative emotions—the fight-or-flight mode—often multiple times in a day. They become irritable and impatient, or anxious and insecure. Fight-or-flight emotions also make it impossible to think clearly, logically, and reflectively. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. Rate This. Oh, God! God asks a young girl to help spread his word and influence with a slogan.

Director: Gilbert Cates. Added to Watchlist Add to Watchlist. From metacritic. Our Favorite Trailers of the Week. Best Family Films. Films I have seen Share this Rating Title: Oh, God! Book II 5. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. User Polls Exclamation Point! Oh My God! Learn more More Like This. Comedy Fantasy. You Devil Comedy Fantasy Romance. Just You and Me, Kid Air America Action Comedy War. Two of a Kind TV Movie Back to School Comedy Romance Sport.

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Taglines: That's right, I made another movie. You know me, I can't stop creating. Language: English. Production Co: Warner Bros. Runtime: 94 min. What's interesting is that The Get Down 's cancellation mirrors two other high-profile television failures from acclaimed cinematic auteurs: HBO's Vinyl , co-created by Martin Scorsese, was cancelled after one season, and NBC's Smash , produced by Steven Spielberg, was cancelled after two seasons.

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