“To be fully engaged in our lives, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.” – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement, 2003. The insightful research of Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz has revolutionized the way many think about achieving and defining success. It has certainly informed much of the work we do with transitioning professionals.

The genius of their research and work is that it shifts the conventional assumptions that we are stuck managing the limited resource of time and instead posits that we all have an unlimited and more powerful resource under our management—our energy.  They further posit that our total energy is generated in four ways—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—and to be a high performer, all four sources of energy need to be managed effectively.

The powerful idea of full engagement underscores the importance of big picture thinking when it comes to optimizing performance in any area of life—including career or even retirement.  Many start with the assumption that a great career leads to a great life.  In fact, the reverse may well be true.  If the greater picture of life is not in order, it is impossible to engage fully at optimal levels and therefore exhibit top-level thinking and sustained high performance.  Getting your head around the big picture means looking at important things like your physical health, the quality of your relationships, your methods and habits for recharging, your ability to focus and recover, your definition of a meaningful purpose—you get the idea.

Of course, in order to begin to have any clarity at all about the big picture, you have to slow down, get perspective, and take stock.  If you have been running at a frantic pace for a long time, you will probably find slowing down uncomfortable and downright difficult to do.  It might feel impossible to imagine creating adequate space in your life for what truly matters to you. But it is a critical aspect to developing into a high performing individual in every area of life—including your current or next professional success.