People Want Your Energy - Not Your Time w/Jim Loehr
Nexum bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.
Hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen
Nexum bi-weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in change management.
Hosted by Morten Kamp Andersen
You can spend hours doing something with no return. Maybe you were with your family for three hours, but all you could think about was tomorrow’s presentation at work. Or at yesterday’s meeting, where you were too tired to listen. You weren’t fully engaged. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, Jim Loehr talks about investing your energy – not time – in a meaningful way.
And how do you do that? If you ask Jim, purpose is the ultimate driver. If you find the right purpose, you are well off. Of course, it’s easier said than done. Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist and has worked with hundreds of World Class performers. He will help us become fully engaged.
Are you too busy? Don’t worry, I have collected three key takeaways from the podcast. I hope it inspires you to go listen.
#1 The biggest decision we can make is how we spend our energy. Jim talks about four levels of energy; physical energy, which can be high or low, emotional energy which can be positive or negative, mental energy which can be focused or unfocused and spiritual energy, which can give you meaning or not. Where you spend your energy will ultimately decision what person you become.
#2 Journaling is the most effective tool for making a change. Most of the decisions we make on how to spend our energy is automatic. And they are not always the best. If we want to change that, we must raise our awareness and journaling is so powerful to do that. 10 minutes each day for 150 days and you can make a real change. It is hard but it will pay off.
#3 Purpose is the ultimate driver. Jim talked about how important it is to find your purpose and make that your guiding star for all your changes - for all your decisions about where to spend your energy. Find out who you are, what your values are and make your purpose from there.
Your opinion means a lot. Remember to leave a review or a comment, if you liked what you've heard. It is very helpful for our reach.
EP9 - Jim Loehr
Mon, 10/26 8:11AM • 50:27
energy, life, character, people, purpose, book, moral, day, scorecard, important, spend, muscle, person, extraordinary, invest, institute, understand, terms, aligned, change
Morten Andersen, Jim Loehr
Morten Andersen 00:05
Hello, and welcome to What Monkeys Do. My name is Morten Kamp Andersen. And this is a podcast about what it takes to make a change and make it stick.
Morten Andersen 00:21
In What Monkeys Do, we explore what it takes to make a change and make it stick. And today we will talk about managing energy to build character. When I got my first job in investment banking, I started with a reference that if you wanted to make it big, you had to cut corners, you had to cheat, you had to lie. And I got that reference from many different places. And remember, this is actually some years ago. So the movie Wall Street told how greed was good. And the main character, Gordon Gekko, he did all of those things. He cheated and he lied, or Michael Milken, he was the guy who practically invented high yield bonds. And when he was working for Drexel Burnham, he was probably the most successful investment bankers in the 80s. And as it turned out, he cheated. And he lied. The beautiful book by Michael Lewis called Liars' Poker, also described how the Wall Street really worked. So I guess I had a lot of references for if you wanted to make it big, you had to cheat and lie. But the funny thing was that during the next 10 years, as I worked in exactly that environment, I experienced something completely different. So instead of the Gordon Gekkos, and the Michael Milkins, I saw that the people who consistently did the best and was promoted to the most executive positions, they were actually good guys. And actually, they were better than that they had a high level of integrity, high level of honesty, something that I was surprised about. So in today's episode, we'll look at what is character? How can you build it? And why does it matter if you want to have a successful career or great relationships with people around you? My guest today is world renowned performance psychologist, he's the author of 17 books. He's worked with hundreds of World Class performers in sports and business, many of them you would actually know. He's the co founder of the Johnson and Johnson Human Performance Institute. They deliver a science based energy management trainings, he's written an excellent book called Leading with Character. Welcome to your Jim Loehr.
Jim Loehr 02:24
Thank you, Morten. It's great to be with you. And I'm excited to have our conversation.
Morten Andersen 02:29
Yes, yes. So am I. And this conversation is about character, and what is character? And how can you build it, but I actually want to start somewhere else. And I want to start and talk with you about energy, because actually, throughout many of your books, you've talked about how important it is that you manage your energy well. And also, in your latest book, you're talking about that, you need to take care of your fundamentals before you can successfully build character. So I just want to ask you, when you talk about energy, what do you what do you mean? What are you talking about? And how can you effectively manage that,
Jim Loehr 03:01
you know, energy, I've come to understand, is life. When you give energy to something you give life to it, if you put energy into your bicep, if you put energy into the dynamic of kindness, anything, you invest your energy and you spawn life, it is the stimulus for all growth is actually the investment of energy. And when you invest a lot of energy beyond what is normal, it spawns even greater growth. And then you you actually grow when you're in a recovery mode when you are actually not investing. And so in life, to be a great investor, you understand that from your experience on in Wall Street and all the stuff you did in the brokerage world. To be a great investor, you have to have a great account, you have to have a very large account from which to make withdrawals. Hmm, there was this notion at the time, that time really was the critical factor in a person's life. Yes. And we had all kinds of work with athletes and executives and special forces in the military. And we had an academy and tennis there at the Institute. And we began to realize it wasn't the amount of time that people were spending, it's something that made the difference. It was the energy that they brought and invested with the time they had aligned with what the goal was the critical variable, you can spend hours doing something, and you may have no return or even a negative return. But if you align your energy with the desired goal, and whatever time you have, that becomes a gift. That's the greatest gift we have to give to the world. I call that full engagement and it's your full invest energy right here right now in what you are doing. Hmm. So we became not really enamored with this notion of investing. time wisely, but it really is investing energy with great precision. And we use this across the whole spectrum of physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual character learning. And it's held true across all domains. So for me, the most critical part of who Jim Loehr is, is where is he putting his energy? Yes. And how does that align with what he really says matters to him. That's whether or not I'm really living a life that's authentic. And it's not my time, I can spend hours doing something that I really am not there. I'm not there with my family. But I was there for four hours, as opposed to maybe being there for 15 minutes, but I'm 100% there. And when you give people your energy, that's what they want from you, hmm. You take life out of your body and give it invest it to them. And that's how you show you care about something. That's how you show you care about another person. Yes, people want our energymore than they want our time.
Morten Andersen 06:00
And how did people take that because I remember when I, when I sold the Harvard Business Review article, first time, the headline was, you know, you don't have to manage your time you manage your energy, and that was, I had optimized my time. I mean, I was fully into the time management systems in the 80s. I was really trying to optimize my time and you, you said, No, no, don't do that. Focus on the energy instead, how did people take that in general,
Jim Loehr 06:22
I got all kinds of pushback. I spent time with Stephen Covey, and his son, Stephen, Mr. Covey, and they had no response. So I said, Here's your formula. Do you really feel this is right, I said, what you're saying is to be a successful person, you have to know what you really care about. You have to know your values. And then you have to devote time to that. And the more time you devote to it, the more aligned Your life is with that, and that will produce great success. And I said, Well, think about this. What if you're spinning your time and you have no energy? Yes, I said, the critical element, time has no valence has no power, you're just showing up to have something extraordinary happen. You have to bring extraordinary energy to the time you have, yes. And so that blew a hole right in the time management system. And they were really quite concerned about it. But it was a paradigm for me that didn't work. It didn't work in sport didn't work in any industry. It's still one of those things that people kind of struggle with, but it is energy. Yes. And we lose energy. We have no, we're life is gone. And so we want to mobilize as much energy as we can in the time we're here. And then really importantly, invested wisely, in what truly matters to you.
Morten Andersen 07:37
And I think another thing that turned things upside down for me a little bit was that when you say energy, most of the time, I'm thinking about physical energy. I'm thinking about, am I awake? Do I have the physical energy to be alert in here, but you're really talking about different types of energy, you're talking about emotional energy and mental energy and character and spiritual energy. So that energy is not just Are you in good shape, it's actually much more than that.
Jim Loehr 08:04
So that's a great point, Morten, and it was another big insight for us that energy is the same in the universe, air energy is energy. And all the things we've learned about energy in the universe applies to human energy, there's no difference, hmm, energy in the body is created in the union of oxygen and glucose, basically, in the middle condry of the cells. But all energy in the universe has quantity has quality, it has focus and has intensity, and so does human energy. So the quantity of energy comes from this union of oxygen and glucose at the cellular level, the quality of energy comes from our emotions. And the highest quality energy comes from our positive emotions, when we're looking ahead and OPT opportunistic way to make things happen. mental energy is how we focus our energy. And the spiritual energy or the energy of purpose and character really gives this dynamic of intensity. It's like what you care about. So when I give the greatest quantity, the best quality energy, the highest focus, and the greatest intensity, that is the power I have as a human being, hmm. And if I bring that to another person, if I bring it to an event, if I bring it to a meeting, people can feel my energy, we all have an energy and really signature. And it really will be your energy. It's not how long you live, that people will remember, somebody might remember you live to be 112. But what really will be the impact you have is the energy the time you had What did you do with your energy? What did you truly impact? What was the result of this amazing legacy of energy that you had? Where did it go? And that's where we like to do this energy audit, who were what is getting her energy and who and what is not and who should be getting based on your values. Where should your energy be invested?
Morten Andersen 09:56
Yes. So there are four types of energy. You have the physical energy which can be high or low, you have your emotional energy, which can be positive or negative, you have your mental energy which can be focused or not focused, you have your spiritual energy, which can be meaningful or non meaningful, I suppose. And the way you manage that is actually more important of how you spend your time. And I think your example would have, you can be with your family, but you can actually not be present, you can physically be there, but not be present is something I guess we can all relate to. Yeah,
Jim Loehr 10:28
unfortunately, people don't like to hear that, because it makes them very uncomfortable, because they gave themselves a very high mark on their scorecard as a mother or father. But when we put a camera on you, you were there, but you were not your energy was not aligned with what your deepest values that you didn't show you cared, you weren't really tuned in to what they were saying, you were you were angry, frustrated, you're watching TV or on your BlackBerry, or whatever, you're on your iPhone. And so you were there. But like you say, they got no benefit from it, even though you had four hours of time with him.
Morten Andersen 11:00
Yes, that was really the essence of the Powerful Engagement, obviously, also some previous work on that. And now you published a new book called Leading with Character, and this is your 17th book. And it is a fantastic book, you've written about some of the things in other books as well, The Only Way to Win for example, why did you feel you had to write this? What did you not write in the others that you had to write in here?
Jim Loehr 11:23
So for me, this is an evolutionary journey, every time I write a book, I don't want to write about something that is already out there. And I just kind of rehash it and refresh it, I want to write a book that actually takes us to something new, a completely new understanding, or a new take on something new scientific understandings. So every book I've written, it was like a crescendo somewhere in my thinking, when I put all this together, and at the time, almost always I am viewed as outside the box, because I'm jumping ahead of where everybody else is. And I was not trained in psychology to know anything about character. It's It's surprising to me is it probably is to you or anybody else, how the heck did you end up there, as a person, I first of all was in the clinical world. And then I moved into working in the arena of high performance, you know, the Human Performance Institute, were involved in getting people to do things they've never done before to bring bring them to the pinnacle of what they're capable of. How do you get to character from there? Hmm. So the only way to when I really began to show some of the insights that we had about the notion of purpose, and how important that wasn't a person's life, but the more we delved into it, and we started looking at longitudinal data we had the institute started in 1992. We sold it to Johnson and Johnson in 2008. And I stayed on for another six years helping with the transition, I spent a great deal of time at the institute exploring different concepts. And one of the most powerful concepts that we had at the Institute was something that I refer to as best self. And it was a little different than it had been articulated in the literature. This was not some fantasy about how you would like to be or this would be the best you could be, and all that kind of stuff. I really wanted people to articulate who they were when they were most proud of themselves, when they were the very best that they could be. And they look back on and said, that's really the best I have to offer the world. And so we would ask them at the Institute, we did this hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands of times I asked them to put down the six words that best describe who they were at their best. And then we asked them a very similar question. If you could only put six words on your tombstone, at the end of your life. What words would you like to have inscribed on that tombstone? that best describes who you really were when you were here? They would make you feel the best about your life and that you justified this gift of life in the best possible way? Yes. What struck everybody in the audience the first time and every time we did it, we got the same was that people rarely talked about winning or fame or money or accomplishments or trophies or titles, what they talked about, almost always was their connection to other people. Mm hmm. So they would talk they would list things like kindness or when they're when they're we thought of in terms of compassionate or loving, or a great caring and devoted husband or mother or humility or integrity or honesty, but they define pretty much at the highest level of value, the connection they had to other people. Yes. And we began to realize that there's a scorecard that we all have, that's deep inside have us it, no one has really ever articulated clearly. But it's the ultimate scorecard that actually defines who we are at our best and how we want to be remembered when we're when we're gone. Hmm. And that is our treatment of others. And that is the moral space. So I define character in two ways. One is a performance character, which are all those things that enable you to become an extraordinary performer, focused, disciplined, decisive, ambitious, you know, all the things that all these character strengths that enable you to perform in an extraordinarily high level, but they in no way cross the moral boundary, you can be an extraordinary as you were talking in your introduction, you can be an extraordinary performer and have, you can do it by scamming, you can do it by cheating, you can cut shortcuts, you can do all kinds of things to get to the top. But there's another category that is your treatment of others. That's moral and ethical character. And what we learned was in terms of priority and sustainability, it's really not, you know, how long can you stay at that mountain at the top of the mountain, if you're not a person of great moral and ethical character, you're going to find it's going to be a short trip. And we know today that, you know, the corporate world spends 100 and $12 billion a year replacing CEOs who have fallen from grace. And for the first time in history, they're falling from grace, not for performance issues, as much as they're falling from grace, this was reported in the Harvard Business Review, for moral and ethical lapses, it's a very costly thing. And it's costly to their families, to the community to all of us. And it's across the spectrum. So the issue was really the most important part of who we are, whether we really understand it fully from the inside. And that's what I wanted to do with this book is help people understand that scorecard because that's the one that matters when it's all said and done.
Morten Andersen 17:01
So you're saying that there are really two things in order to be at your best and one is, obviously you need to perform at your highest? And second is to have a moral compass, or, you know, basically to have a strong character. is one more important than the other? Or does one come before another? Or are they independent from each other?
Jim Loehr 17:20
Well, I call moral and ethical skills and strength, your your moral and ethical character is the highest level of health that you can have, hmm. And you can be a person of high moral character and not be a high achiever. I mean, I think of my mom, she didn't do, she wasn't, but she was an extraordinary woman, of unbelievable character, but she didn't have any accolades. She didn't go to college, she didn't graduate from college, there was no real achievements that you could point to other than she's an extraordinary woman. And then you have the other side, you can be an extraordinary achiever, and have all kinds of holes in the moral and ethical side. So for me, the one is most important, and the one one is what you achieve, what enables you to achieve and the other was, how did you achieve it, and how is far more important than what that was a huge distinction. And I tried to bring that out. So we need to understand that there is a difference. And if we're going to teach our kids anything, if we're going to have any standard for ourselves, we need to start at the top, because that's the one that's really going to make a difference in the longevity and the legacy that we leave behind.
Morten Andersen 18:30
Morten Andersen 18:40
So I've read quite a few of your books now. And what strikes me is that you are an optimist when it comes to believing that we can make a personal change. And also in this book, you're optimistic that we can actually change or we can build our character muscle, so to speak. But on the other hand, you also refer to studies which show that we are still deeply dependent on authorities. You mentioned the Milgram studies, for instance, endless numbers of corporate scandals the Michael Milken, to the end run to the Volkswagen, etc. So what makes you so optimistic that we can change and that we can build our character muscle?
Jim Loehr 19:21
It's such an interesting exploration into what I call one's moral machinery. First thing we learned is that every one of us is broken morally and ethically in some way, somewhere in pieces. Hmm. And we really don't know where our moral and ethical kind of standard for extraordinary behavior in that sense comes from. Hmm, and the more work we've done in the in the book identify some 25 ways that our moral and ethical behavior can become hijacked our our source code for determining what's right and wrong, and they're everywhere. So we have a very flawed morality system. And what I was interested in doing was, first of all, raise awareness of how flawed our system is, how often we make 10 to 12, moral and ethical decisions every single day. And some of the very small and some of them are huge, just how you treat the valet attendant who brought your car late, or, you know, how do you deal with this friend who's betrayed your confidence and told some things that were really not to be told publicly, and on and on, these things are happening every day, and how you treat your children when they do something they shouldn't? And what should be your best response from your highest and best moral self? What is so interesting in all of this is that our machinery, all of us have to go to work. I wanted to know whether or not it's fixable. Mm hmm. So we began to do work. And we did all kinds of things to see is it possible to fix the holes in that system? And we learned in psychology we've known and you know, this morning that the single best predictor of success in life is drive. How badly do you want it? It's persistence, its dedication. And it's what Angela Duckworth calls grit, staying with this whole thing. So we wanted to dig deeper into that and to try to understand, where does that come from? And could we rally that grit and that energy investment consistency to actually fix the holes in this very vulnerable moral machinery that we're all carrying around that was inherited, it wasn't something that we were conscious of, even in its creation, we had very little to do with it. And suddenly, we're here and we're making critical decisions about what's true north morally and ethically on a system that's terribly flawed. So we really went in and tried to see what was the king pan that would release energy to really win that battle. And that's where we got into this notion of purpose, purpose is the single most important dimension of who we are as human beings. It's the why behind everything we do, if we get the purpose, right, I mean, you'll you'll do anything? Yes, if I get the purpose, right, you'll give your life very, very quickly in the service of something that's important. Yes, if you rally the right purpose, you will fix your character. And behavior is changeable. If you have a purpose strong enough, and you are willing to rally the energies long enough, you can make massive course corrections. And we had people that change their lives almost 180 as a result of these interventions, and that's what to me is the most exciting, number one, we can change. And it is something within everyone's reach, so long as we can get the right purpose for doing so. And that purpose is what I call a self transcending purpose has very little to do with you, and has everything to do with others. And then the other one is that you understand that it's hard work, and we have to do a lot of heavy lifting. And that heavy lifting is with repeated energy investments, just like if you want a big bicep, you're gonna have to do a lot of heavy lifting to get that bicep,
Morten Andersen 23:14
because then that way, you, you make a parallel to building physical energy. So if I want to have a higher level of physical energy, I know what to do go to bed early to eat well, it is to exercise on a regular basis to breathe deep, and so on. So there are some behaviors that I can do on a daily basis that will build my sort of speak physical muscle, and I guess, the same with emotional energy, emotional muscle, if I want to have a positive versus a negative energy in terms of, of emotional energy, I also know what to do on a daily basis, daily basis. And I guess that's exactly what you're doing with character in this book is that you actually say, it all comes down to behavior. And there are 25 decisions or behaviors that you can do on a daily basis that will strengthen your muscle and build energy in the character space.
Jim Loehr 24:11
It's exactly right. So let's say that you your gratitude muscle, as you really reflect on who you really are, is just really quite weak. It really isn't about you, you want to have more gratefulness to all the people that enabled you to have this extraordinary life and all the opportunities that you've had, but you rarely show it. And this is coming through in many ways, maybe two as you reflect on it. So you rally this energy, this sense of purpose around improving this part of your character. And every day. Maybe you start today with a very simple in your log in your journal, a gratitude list and you make a list every day for four or five minutes of all the things that you are truly grateful for that have happened in your life and you start that list and every day you try to think of a few things That you've never thought of before. And that muscle digs deeper. And you're investing energy in it by writing about it, thinking about it, maybe even talking about it. And so that muscle grows and it becomes much more accessible to you. And eventually, this will start manifesting itself in how you interact with everyone. And every day, you now kind of exemplify how important this is in your life, by the way you speak the way you act and the gratitude that you have for the world that you're in.
Morten Andersen 25:29
Jim Loehr 25:30
And this is true with kindness. It's true with truthfulness, it's true with humility, and all of the most important character strengths we have, we can build them. And one of the most powerful ways we've learned is through journaling. So amazing. I mean, that was I never really I mean, as a coach in various sports, we everyone has a training log, but I never realized how important journaling is to building the brand you want building the capacity you want, emotionally, mentally, and most importantly, in terms of the character space.
Morten Andersen 26:06
So you're very optimistic in terms of making a change. And in order to make a change, or build character, you need to break it down into habits, or you need to break it down into behavior that you change and journaling is a an effective way to external or to build that muscle, so to speak in your reflection, and then makes it more likely that you will do it in behavior afterwards, I suppose.
Jim Loehr 26:30
Yes, we have to keep making adjustments. There's what I call automatic adaptation to our world. And then there is this intentional adaptation. Oftentimes, our automatic adaptation is not in the best interest of our families, ourselves. We're eating a lot. We're adapting, we're having ice cream every night for we go to sleep at night, we ended up doing things we don't even know how we got there,
Morten Andersen 26:54
I can recognize a lot of that actually.
Jim Loehr 26:57
They just start showing up. We're constantly evolving as a result of our environment and the political environment that we're in now here in the United States, the hatred, the anger, the frustration, the violence. So but then there's another more intentional, who do you really want to be? How do you want to lead in this special moment? And what what are the habits that you would like to eventually own in your own life. And so again, the first thing that we have to do is, we have to identify what it is we want to change, we have to break it down into very kind of almost micro steps. And we have to have a purpose to drive it. And we have to repeat that over and over again. And there. It needs to be tied to some ritualistic, whether it's getting up 10 minutes earlier and have a set an alarm in the morning and do your journaling for 10 minutes, which is what the book recommends. Yes, over 150 days, and people go 150 days. 10 minutes. Yeah, that's 25 hours spread over multiple months. But the results of this can be so catastrophic, Lee wonderful. I mean, it's hard. It's difficult, but it really can result in some real seismic changes in the direction you want to go. Who do you want to be before you check out? Yes. And so I'm a real optimist when it comes to change. And I wasn't in the beginning, I was, you know, I was all in my training and behavioral psychology and everything. Cognitive behavioral therapy, and all the stuff that I was went through in my training and in a therapeutic context. And this came, there was nothing there that really led me to the importance of purpose. This came from our living lab. And we began to realize I, you know, we'd have people tell their stories, write their stories about who they really are and who they want to be. And they'd write up an old story in a new story. Yes, when they finally resulted in change, and those that work, it was really obvious that it was a purpose. And it was a transcendent purpose. It was a purpose that really had nothing to do with them. So a father who wants to be more engaged with his son or daughter, in the evening, when he comes home and not a dead person walking, he goes in and he starts working out at five in the morning, hmm, not for himself because he doesn't care. But if it means he's going to be more engaged with his son or daughter, and provide them with a better picture of health and be around them longer. It's a spiritual act. It's an act of character every time he or she goes in and works out. That was the difference. And I will tell you, the journal helped to try to cement that. And every time he reflected or she reflected on it, put it in the journal kept track of it, and eventually becomes a habit and now they do it for the rest of their lives. Now they have their children doing it, and they really feel good about that change. Change is possible, but it's hard.
Morten Andersen 29:45
So it's interesting because if we if I just think about you and Stephen Covey, and so you differed in terms of should you focus on time or should you focus on energy, but where you did agree was that it all starts with purpose. It all starts with with finding your why so to speak, and obviously that has been, you know, I know Nietzsche wrote about that 150 years ago in terms of how important reservoir can endure anyhow. Exactly. So we've known that for a while. And still, as you say, it's really not rooted deeply in psychology. But it is something that I think we know more and more about that you need to everything you need to do is connected to your why to your meaning to your purpose,
Jim Loehr 30:27
I'll just say that Mark Twain made a statement once that I never, never want to stop thinking about and that is that is that the two most important days in your life, or the day you were born? And the day you found out why, so that you if you have no real purpose for your life, life is an absolute nightmare. Yes, if you have no purpose in your day, if you have nothing that really makes sense. So we are Victor Frankel's book, Man's Search for Meaning. It's a wonderful, one of my favorite books of all time. And he really articulates the power of purpose, even in a concentration camp to stay alive. He wanted to tell the story, not for himself, but to let other people know about the horrors and the heroism that occurred in those camps. And that's what kept him alive. That's what enabled him to do what was impossible to do, yes, and we are capable of doing things that are unimaginably out of the norm, if we have a purpose that really, really is enduring. And that's what we tried to really come to terms with at the Institute, and is the core of what leading with character is all about.
Morten Andersen 31:34
And I wonder if you could, because most of us are not CEO of great companies, we more like your mom, we're more like having a group of people around us, you know, that we care deeply about that we want to do our best in the environment that we work in. And we have regular jobs. From my own point of view, when I hear about meaning, purpose, legacy and things like that, I sometimes feel that that is for people who are in different positions than myself. Can you maybe give a little bit of response to how can ordinary people like myself think of purpose and place in life?
Jim Loehr 32:09
It's a great, great question and comment, Morton and I think what you raise here is critical that even though we're dealing with these high end people, what we're learning applies to absolutely every human being, we have to bring it down to the end. We're all just normal human beings. And if we figure out what and what enables people to do extraordinary things, we we begin to realize this not just applies to the superstars, but it applies to every one of us and my help us to unlock more of our own potential. To be good, yes, to be kinder to be more aligned in our lives and with our energy and what we care about. And so this notion of we all have this existential crisis, we're always asking, Why the heck am I here? What am I supposed to do with life? And I won this lottery of life. Yes. And I had no no hand in that whatsoever. I just showed up. And now what am I supposed to do with this and your whole life, you're trying to figure out with this incredible, I call it evolutionary masterpiece, where we now recognize we are able to be fully conscious of the fact that one day we're going to die. So what is this all about?
Morten Andersen 33:17
Jim Loehr 33:18
just a couple of truths here. One is you were born, it's an indisputable fact. It's an indisputable fact that you're going to die. And between your birth and your death is some kind of impact.
Morten Andersen 33:31
Jim Loehr 33:32
And for every person, you're going to leave a trace. And that's what character is the trace that you leave behind, and not so much for you. But those around you. And every single day, you have an impact on something or someone in your sphere of influence. And we all want to leave this life with an impact that's really positive. And what we learn the ultimate impact is how you treat others. And yes, it's so interesting. I began to realize in the previous book, the only way to win that there was an emptiness in a lot of people who achieve great things. There's just this longing for more is this all there is I've, I've achieved I've won two gold medals, the Olympic gold medals I've I have more money than I can ever spend and all my kids and their kids and I still feel empty. Yes. And they're only as good as their last performance and they're always vulnerable to feeling like a failure. And when we dug deeper, we found out the scorecard that mattered was not the money, not the fame. All those are nice scorecards. But the scorecard that in this is this hidden scorecard. And they're always trying to fill it and you can't fill it with extrinsic rewards, no. And extrinsic accomplishments. The scorecard that ultimately matters is the impact you've had on others, your children, your your spouses, your partners, anyone that you care about your colleagues at work your friends, what was the sum total of your impact on their lives. And that's the scorecard you hold yourself accountable for it, if it's not a good score, you try to fill it with other things, and you cannot fill it.
Morten Andersen 35:07
Morten Andersen 35:17
So What Monkeys Do is a podcast about change. And you have throughout your books and throughout the Institute, of course helped many people change and improve. And because you've worked with so many people, you've seen, many people succeed. And also some people fail and therefore have a lot of experience now. And you know, what actually makes the difference between the people who does make a change, and those who will probably don't. And one of the things you mentioned is grit, or drive or perseverance or something like that, that's really important in order to work daily on the four levels of energy. But now you've written this, I would also call very practical book, there is actually two books and one of the books is a journal, where you go and you write your personal credo, and you spend, as you say, 150 days, 10 minutes each day, I'm five days in six days in and, and it takes a little bit more than 10 minutes, some of the days, but it's actually an incredibly useful exercise. And I look forward to going through all hundred and 50 days, but can you just tell a little bit about, okay, so I hear what you're saying, there are four levels of energy. And if we want to really feel and be the success that we want to be in our own life in the situation wherein we need to manage all four levels. And actually the fourth level, which is that of character, spiritual character is really, really important, maybe even the most important one. And I want to build that, what exactly should I do on a daily basis? Can you maybe help with that,
Jim Loehr 36:47
this hundred and 50 day journey that you are on the sixth day, is actually leading you to a certain place. And what you're doing every day is you're investing energy through your hand. And it's causing your brain to, to think and to reflect this reflective and deeply, sometimes disturbing reflection, where you begin to realize that I am not the person that I really want to be. I've got some vulnerabilities here that need to be addressed. And I know what my aspirations are, this is kind of who I want to be. This is what life means to me. So there are lots of questions about how you define mission success of your life. What is your ultimate mission in life, the mission against what you must determine, in your own sense of it, that you succeeded or your life will fail? If there's an ultimate mission that you must? What is that, huh, so that you begin to understand where your energy should be invested, the most important part of you as a person is your energy. And as long as you have life, you have energy, as long as you have energy you have life. And the one thing we do have the ability to do is to direct our energy in a direction that we choose, we have the ability to do that. If you want to direct it more toward fitness, toward emotional positivity toward more focus, you can get involved in yoga, you can get involved in meditation. If you want to develop more of a sense of kindness or a greater sense of purpose in life, every day, you're more alive with what you really want to accomplish with your energy. All we have to do is direct energy in those in those directions, we have to be better investors, precise investors, you get back what you invest in with your energy, you remember, it's almost like if you want to have something happen in the form of change, what is really required is an understanding of the power of your energy. Hmm, your energy repeatedly invested in a specific way over time, makes change. So if you want to have the greatest impatience muscle on Earth, there are so many opportunities, you can have the biggest impatient muscle that's ever been created. You could be historic when you die, because there's so many opportunities to feed that muscle. If you feed the muscle of cynicism, sarcasm, if you feed the muscle of anger, frustration, where you see yourself as a victim victimhood goes will grow and become the dominant theme in your life until you die. Hmm. And this is what's happening to people because they don't realize if you want something to die, don't go there with your energy. Take your energy elsewhere, you can't cut it out neurologically. With all the research on neurophysiology and neuroplasticity. We know you can't really go out and just cut it out. What you can do is direct your energy away from it and you don't give it life It will die from lack of attention it from lack of energy. So have your energy flow toward what you want in life. And if you want more positivity, we just have to Just start looking at the positive side of things, what I call realistically positive. So it's very encouraging to me to think that as long as we have energy we can fight. Yes. And as long as we have a purpose, and a sense of where to put our energy, we can go after it because we have energy, because we're still alive. And as you go further in life, the energy stores tend to wane a little bit, unless you stay very fit and eat right and do all the right things. But you can make incredible changes in your life in the lives of others, even in the twilight of your, of your life and of your career. But it's your energy that's gonna make the difference. And energy is aligned with time is completely synchronized with what you want, is the secret to life is the secret to change. And I'm a change optimist, because I've seen it over thousands, hundreds of thousands, we had over 400,000 people go through our programs, I was tracking this like a madman over extended periods of time, because I wanted to know, I didn't want to create fluff, I'm not interested in fluff. I'm interested in actually having a foot in science a foot and the practical world and see where we can actually come together and make something that's actually worthwhile in people's lives.
Morten Andersen 41:18
So if people want to make a change, they have to move energy to watch that what they want to achieve. nobody really wants to achieve cynicism. But you, if you want to have more positive energy optimism in your life, you have to move energy towards that. And because we make decisions on two different levels, one is automatic, and one is intentional. And if we don't focus, our intentional energy, so to speak on what we want to go towards, we will most likely make poor decisions. And that's why journaling is an important tool as opposed because that will direct our intentional attention to what's what we want to spend our energy on. Is that right?
Jim Loehr 42:02
You're 100% correct, we can't change what we're unaware of. And if you're unaware of where your energy is flowing, if you really don't act with intentionality, the energy may go towards cynicism, toward anger towards impatience that just naturally goes there. Because it's so available to you to go the other way, you have to say, wait a minute, I see this is where I'm giving life to that dynamic. And I'm not happy with that, I'm going to go a different way. So you rally, you're willing discipline and you rally the sense of I can move my energy in whatever direction I want. As long as I'm alive, as long as I'm conscious, I have the ability to push my energy in a direction that actually can make a difference to me. And if you do it repeatedly, adaptation will occur. Yes, the body will go, at some level, it goes, You know, I don't know what's going on out there. But we're still we're putting a lot of energy into this being positive and being truthful, and being authentic and being kind. And so maybe this is important, let's keep it going. And so, over time, this becomes habituated. And you'll begin to, you'd begin to do this automatically. And then you put your awareness on something else that you want to improve upon. But awareness is the window through which all change must occur. Unless it's changed. It's kind of some kind of an indoctrination that's going on. But it's not self initiated, changes change from the outside, I'm really trying to push change from the inside. And making sure that any kind of indoctrination that's going on on the outside, is actually you're very aware of it, and you're really either excited about it, or you're going to resist it. And there are a lot of things we have to resist society, multi all the media's out there, everything is going on even the political forces, an attempt to steal what I call your brain, your brain, all the real estate between your ears. And so I've spent a lot of time trying to understand how do we prevent that real estate from being stolen. And awareness is the key and making sure that you are in control of your energy. Because every time you allow an energy impulse to go into the brain, it creates life in some dynamic way. And eventually, that becomes a pathway for energy to flow. And now it's a habit. And that habit becomes who you really are.
Morten Andersen 44:22
At the end of each interview, I sort of have do's and don'ts. And if I'm a listener, and I'm inspired to go and work on my character, what three specific advice would you give that listener? Would you give me to go and do that?
Jim Loehr 44:36
I would have you start by thinking about Who are you? When you're most proud of yourself? I would have you and I would have you write those six words down. And then I would have you think about at the end of your life on your tombstone, what six words you would like to have on that tombstone that actually reflected who you were, and the reality of your life when you were here. That would be step one. Mm hmm. And then step two I would really try to understand for you what life I really spend a lot of quality time to understand what is the purpose of your life? Ultimately, Hmm, what must you accomplish with your life to feel like you, you really deserve this gift of life? And what are your values? What do you care most about and what what's worth chasing? and really understanding that there is something that you're going to be defining as a successful life. I want to know what that is. And I'd like for you to spend time, that's step two, coming to terms with your most elevated, most important purpose in life, which will likely be trans, transcend you, it'll probably not about you. And then thirdly, I'd like for you to begin to hold yourself accountable for where you're putting your energy, and to make a commitment to really understanding that the ultimate value that we see in our lives is how we treat others Hmm. And to honestly look at, where are your deficiencies and where would you like to get stronger, where you're more deeply engaged with people as opposed to kind of half being there, where you show and really deep compassion for others or, you know, moral courage, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, Authenticity, every month that you live, every day that you live, you can move the ball forward, as long as you understand that your energy that's going to make the difference. And eventually those will become so we start out with really understanding the scorecard that matters, then we make sure we've got the purpose, right. And then we start aligning our energy with those things. And part of that is, is a journal, to hold ourselves accountable every single day, for what's going on in our life. And be tough on yourself and make sure that you're making the investments, it's hard work, you're not, you're going to get back what you invest in, for better, for worse, hold yourself accountable, and make sure those are good investments every single day.
Morten Andersen 46:59
Fantastic, I will let you know in hundred and 45 days how things are going. And I'll try to make that investment and see how it works out. I'm incredibly excited about it. And I'm also really excited about this conversation, I want to thank you for taking the time to have this conversation with me and for our listeners so they can get to understand how they can, how we can build our character. So thanks a lot for your book. Thanks a lot for this interview. I appreciate that.
Jim Loehr 47:25
Martin, you're more than welcome. Thanks for having me. And ultimately, the end of your 150 days is to build your own personal credo that actually becomes the source code for how you make moral and ethical decisions going forward. And that's ultimately it is the, it's the most important document that you'll carry with you for the rest of your eyes, identifying truenorth, morally and ethically for you for the rest of your life. And it's always in, it's always in chain, it's some kind of change motion, it's always adapting. And you're always trying to make it a little better and refine it. But that's ultimately the goal of this is for you to develop not a not some kind of document that you you're not even sure where it came from, you know, you just kind of fall back on that because that's all you've got. Now you actually have an intentional document, it is the best articulation of how you want to make your moral ethical decisions going forward. And that will give you a much better peace of mind in terms of and fulfillment for whatever time you have left. And thanks. I look forward to that.
Morten Andersen 48:36
What a great conversation with Jim, it's hard to overstate how big an influence he has been on personal performance, read his books, see his TED Talks, it's all very inspiring. I took three things away from the interview. One, the biggest decision we can make is how we spend our energy. Jim talks about four levels of energy, physical energy, which can be high or low emotional energy, which can be positive or negative. mental energy which can be focused or unfocused and spiritual energy which can give you meaning or not. Where you spend your energy will ultimately decide what type of person you will become. To journaling is the most effective tool for making a change. Most of our decisions we make about how to spend our energy is automatic. And they're not always the best. If we want to change that, we must raise our awareness. And journaling is so powerful to do that 10 minutes each day for 150 days. And you can make a real change. It is hard, but it will pay off. And three purpose is the ultimate driver. Jim talked about how important is to find your purpose and make that your guiding star for all your changes and for all your decisions about where to spend your energy. You must use purpose so find out who you are, what your values are and make your purpose from there. If you like the interview and you want to hear more, please press the subscribe button. Also if you did like the interview, I will appreciate if you will give it a five star feedback. It helps a lot for our reach. Until next time, take care