Tag: renew

7/12/10 “Energy”

Good day, team,

This week’s challenge is about the importance of managing your energy rather than your time.

In the June 2010 “Harvard Business Review,” Tony Schwartz, the CEO of the Energy Project, published an article titled “The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less.” Ten years ago, the Energy Project started to address the subject of work performance and the problem of employee disengagement after a poll of 90,000 employees worldwide revealed that only 21 percent feel fully engaged at work, whereas 40 percent are disenchanted and disengaged.

When the Energy Project discovered that burnout was one of the leading causes of disengagement, members of the staff decided to focus exclusively on helping people manage their energy instead of just their time.

According to Schwartz, “Time, after all, is finite. By contrast, you can expand your personal energy and also regularly renew it. Once people understand how their supply of available energy is influenced by the choices they make, they can learn new strategies that increase the fuel in their tanks and boost their productivity. If people define precise times at which to do highly specific activities, these new behaviors eventually become automatic and no longer require conscious will and discipline. We refer to them as rituals. They’re simple but powerful. They include practices such as shutting down your e-mail for a couple of hours during the day, so you can tackle important or complex tasks without distracting interruptions, or taking a daily 3 p.m. walk to get an emotional and mental breather.”

The article goes on to describe how the Energy Project designed an energy-management program for Sony Pictures, starting at the top of the organization. To date, more than 3,000 of the company’s 6,300 employees have been through the program and already the reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive. More than 90 percent say it has helped them bring more energy to work every day. Eighty-four percent say they feel better able to manage their job’s demands and are more engaged at work. Despite the recession, Sony had its most profitable year to date in 2009.

Whether you set aside an uninterrupted 60 to 90 minutes each morning to focus on your top priorities or you intentionally breathe to calm down when something irritates you, there are many ways to renew yourself so you have enough energy to meet your needs. Here are some do’s and don’ts from the article to help you re-energize and renew:

θ Take back your lunch—get away from your desk and leave the office so you can refuel.
θ Communicate what you value in others; write a note of appreciation to someone.
θ Cultivate creativity by setting aside an informal, relaxing space at work for creative thinking and brainstorming.
θ Share your passion by communicating what you stand for and what gets you up in the morning.


θ Avoid conflict by ignoring a situation. Don’t be afraid to have courageous conversations: communicate directly and honestly, with sensitivity.
θ Try to do multiple things at the same time. Make an effort to give people your full focus; try to listen and not interrupt (don’t be fooled into thinking you can multi-task: recent studies have shown that when we multi-task, our ability to do anything with proficiency goes down).
θ Be self-absorbed. It’s easy to make any situation all about you. Try stepping beyond your own immediate needs to better serve the needs of others; put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

On his website, Schwartz writes, “Leaders can easily underestimate how their attitudes and behaviors affect the energy levels of their teams. Because energy is contagious, both the quality and quantity of a leader’s energy can drain or galvanize a team.”

This week, try to take some time to renew yourself during the day. Maybe you take a short walk or invite one of your team members out for lunch. Perhaps you put the “do not disturb” sign on your cubicle or office and take the time to focus on a high-priority project. How about just letting people know what energy zone you’re in? My low point of the day is about 3 p.m., so I try not to have meetings from 3 to 4 since I know it’s hard for me to focus during that time. I have a friend who goes out to her car at 3 p.m. every day and takes a five-minute power nap. She always feels refreshed when she returns to her desk.

Life is movement and rest. Your energy is what gets you going and keeps you going, and it’s also what compels you to stop when you need more of it.

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.

6/21/10 “Hobbies”

Good day, team,

This week, it’s become increasingly clear to me that I need a hobby.
Frankly, the idea has never appealed to me. Maybe it’s just the word hobby.
My only association with it is hobby horse, which also did not sound very
desirable. Maybe it’s because no one in my immediate family had a hobby.
Or maybe it’s because activities like quilting or airplane model-making
didn’t light my fire.

This morning, I consulted a dictionary to try to change my attitude.
A hobby is “an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation
and not as a main occupation.” Then I realized why I need a hobby. It
would be good for me to engage in an activity that provides pleasure
and/or relaxation that’s not work-related.

Yesterday, I worked on a photo album to give our kids who are moving
from Oregon to Ohio. I started on it and when I next looked at the
clock, three hours had gone by and I hadn’t even noticed. I got so involved
with choosing the right photographs, sorting them, trimming the corners
to fit into the album, etc., that I wasn’t at all aware of the time going
by. I realized when my husband walked into the room that I was thirsty
and hungry, but I hadn’t even noticed. I looked around me and discovered
little bits of paper and photos all over the place and I hadn’t noticed
them either. It suddenly dawned on me that this little project had given
me energy. I had enjoyed working on it to such a degree that I totally lost
track of time and place.

This is part of what hobbies are all about: Doing something with our leisure
time that gives us energy. Finding a hobby we can do on our own, that gives
us enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of renewal, seems to be essential
to achieving better balance in life.

My grandfather loved caring for his roses in the spring and summer. Each
day he would go out to the backyard and study the beautiful bushes that
lined the back of the house. I can still see him sitting in his canvas
garden chair, dressed in his work clothes and weather-beaten straw hat,
admiring his roses, their color and shape, checking how much sun they
were getting or whether he had pruned them right a few weeks back. Then,
he would take his clippers and his watering can and approach them with great
care. He put on his gloves, carefully snipped here and there, and gathered the faded
blossoms in a basket. Then he removed his gloves and got on his hands and
knees to feel how moist the soil was or to spread it where it had become uneven.

He did these things with surgical precision. Sometimes he would spray for bugs
or add extra fertilizer to the soil. Then he would sit again, sipping on iced
tea my grandmother had brought him, and admire his roses. Before he was finished for the
day, he would cut the flowers that he wanted to bring into the house. He created a small
bouquet in his gloved hand, eventually putting them into a basket to deliver to my
grandmother. It brought him great satisfaction.

In the winter months, he continued his research about roses, looking
through the many catalogs that came in the mail and choosing just the right
specimens to replace or add to his collection.

I often wondered why this retired attorney had turned to growing roses
as a hobby. When I asked my father about it, he replied, “Well, he
loved the finished product. Nothing made him happier than to see a
bouquet of fresh roses on the dining room table that he had picked for
your grandmother that day. He felt as though he had accomplished something
special for both of them.”

This week, your challenge is to choose a hobby or put more time and
attention toward the hobby you already have. Perhaps you decide to
learn to draw or to knit. Perhaps you’re interested in learning how to
make beer or to build small wooden toys for your kids or grandkids.
My husband’s hobby is playing keyboard on Wednesday nights with other musicians.
My sister lives in Hawaii and creates gorgeous pastels of the surrounding
landscape and ocean. My friend Kate rides her horse Indigo for pleasure and

So what will mine be? I’m not sure yet, but this week I’m going to concentrate
on finding it.

As Dale Carnegie advised, “Today is life–the only life you are sure of.
Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself
awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you.
Live today with gusto.”

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.


Good day, team,

Toward the end of last year, I asked some of my clients to answer three questions in preparation for 2010. Answering these questions is a useful exercise at the beginning of a new year, since they force us to focus on what we want to let go of and what we want more of in our professional and personal lives.

Here are the questions I posed:

1) What would you like to do differently this year (old habits you’d prefer not to repeat; dealing with something you avoided last year; creating an opportunity to innovate)?

2) What would you like more of in your professional life? What do you need to do to get it?

3) What would you like more of in your personal life? What do you need to do to get it?

I also recently read a Harvard Business Review blog (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/01/three_questions_executives_sho.html) that posed three other good questions:

1) If there was only one thing I could do to improve my business, what would it be and how would I make it happen?

2) If there was only one thing I could focus on to improve my personal performance, what would that be and how would I make it happen?

3) What messages am I not listening to or refusing to confront in my business and personal performance and how am I going to overcome that this year?

If we pause to reflect before embarking on a new beginning, we give ourselves a chance to make better, more intentional decisions about direction, goals and courses of action. We are often so busy with our day-to-day tasks that we don’t rise above the daily to-do list to get a broader viewpoint. These questions require us to think through what’s come before as a springboard for creating a road map for the future. We can review, compare, contrast and analyze possibilities to make important distinctions and, from that insight, better decisions about how to move forward.

If you haven’t done so already, this week ask yourself a few of the above-mentioned questions. The HBR blog encourages the following approach:

“I suggest real interaction with these questions. Don’t just think about them for a minute and then put them aside. Write out answers. Commit to what you’ve written down, and start the year off well.”

Writing your answers down is an excellent way to see if you’re being truthful with yourself. It also encourages more commitment to do what you say you want to do.

January is one of the few times we can demarcate a new start: It’s an opportunity to renew and refresh. Take advantage of this new beginning and ask yourself some good questions. You’ll have a chance to live the questions and the answers all year long.

Have a good week.


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.