Today, I want to consider the second area of engagement shared in the book “The Power of Full Engagement”. This would be our “emotional” engagement. This is where the concept of energy management took on a different meaning for me. As I stated yesterday, the physical engagement made sense to me initially since I would associate that with energy but the authors’ take on this is a bit different. They use the idea of physical exercise and then connect it to other areas of our lives. In the case of emotional engagement, the authors suggest that we must exercise our “emotional” muscles and give them time to recover if we hope to increase our capacity for more energy in this area.
What’s tricky here is that some of us are more engaged in certain emotional areas than others. We struggle in certain areas of our lives. Perhaps it’s low self-esteem. For others it might be learning patience. Whatever it is, the authors suggest working new habits into our lives to tap into the emotional stores that we have. The key “muscles” fueling positive emotional energy are: self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness, and empathy. Learning to build in routines that affirm and fullfill us helps to promote emotional muscle “recovery”.
In a nutshell, here’s how it affects me to some degree. I enjoy having a good time with friends once in a while. My wife understands this and I’m trying to help her in this area also. Before we moved to Denver and I became a pastor, we had many good friends in our church that shared our values, likes, dislikes, etc. Once I became a pastor, we noted our relationships declined a bit due to our position. I have men in the church who I can pal around with but I also needed friends who were dealing with the same things I do as I minister. A while back, Becky and I decided to begin to incorporate routines into our lives that included time for such friends. I have two good pastor friends from a larger circle of pastors I know and we meet at least monthly to just talk. Sometimes, we meet at a restaurant to watch a game. Other times, we take our families to the mall and just chat. Becky’s case has been a bit harder because of her schedule but slowly, we’ve been working in at least a time or so every six weeks where she meets with some of her friends from Great Clips at a local restaurant where she can just chat and be herself. The key for us was we had to be intentional about this. If we didn’t take the time to put some sort of routine together, it would never happen. Just like planning for physical exercise; making time for the gym, to walk, or just run with the kids, we had to plan these times also.
One thing is for certain: negative emotions stress and break us. Sometimes, the stress cannot be helped but in some cases, we can be guilty of starting our days this way and letting it affect us in ways we regret later on. If we take the time to prepare and plan for our emotional energies, we have a greater liklihood that this will not happen.
Tomorrow, mental energy is our focus. I hope you’ll drop by again then.