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Are you Fully Charged? By Tom Rath

Tom is a prolific author from Gallup, a research organisation famous for its Strengths Assessment.

The author focusses on 3 keys to sustain our lives through Energy, Interaction and Meaning.  It is tricky to pull off a how-to-live book.  Rath, however makes a good fist of it.

Meaning does not happen to you – you create it.

Delving into creating meaning though helping others, rather than ourselves.  Giving up the search for happiness, which is fleeting and a transient treadmill.  Moving into work that is meaningful for us – work that is intrinsically rewarding than financially (extrinsic).

How does your current job or role exist? Does it help another person, make a process more efficient, or produce something people need?’

Creating meaning for others matters more than pursuing happiness for yourself.  Ensuring momentum through small wins.  Volunteering in our community helps augment our connection and creates meaning, helping us overall.  Meaningful work is driven by deep, internal motivation.

Make work a purpose, not just a place.

Our work should improve your overall well-being.  Plus, we need to find a higher calling than cash.  By engaging in job crafting, manoeuvring our work into that happy intersection of Interest, Needs and Strengths.

Take the initiative each day rather than responding, i.e. sitting in front of the email, social and messaging. By being proactive, rather than reacting, being intentional how we invest our time, focusing on constructive activity.  Tom raises the issue of recovery time from an interruption which taps into many writers’ efforts on being in flow, ensuring distractions are managed.

Recommending that we work in sprints, focusing for 45 minutes, then taking a break for 15 minutes to keep our cognition fresh.  It is amazing how many people go back to back with meetings and find themselves mentally fried by the end of the day.

Assume good intent in our interactions and be planful how we develop and maintain relationships in and out of work. ‘People greatly underestimate how everyday interactions influence their daily experience, and wellbeing.’  Spend 80% of our conversation time talking about what is going well. We love to talk about ourselves, meeting to exchange what is going on with us builds trust.

Relationships help us achieve, help our engagement at work and engage our brains to work better.  If members take a break to talk and share, it helps the business, especially if we leave our devices in our pockets.

Invest in experiences.

Ideally ahead of time with our loved ones, the build up brings us together and the shared experiences creating bonding and happy memories.  This has been emphasised in our own family holidays.

The act of giving, e.g. buying coffee for others is rewarding for us – the buyer.  Focusing and commenting on other’s strengths is rewarding for us both.  Especially, avoiding focusing on shortcomings.

Placing a priority on our health is emphasised.  Following on from his book Eat, Move, Sleep, discussing our needs for a diet rich in protein, helping create dopamine, which helps us moderate.  The idea that everything in moderation is a flawed idea. Engineering movement throughout our day, avoiding sedentary work life, encouraging proper body function and blood flow which is restricted when sitting.

Getting enough sleep that is not done well by many apart from athletes!  The impact on our ability to think is greatly impacted through lack of sleep and can be dangerous.

Stress can be passed on by those around us. The simple act of smiling can assist greatly, that we have many means of resilience in our repertoire.


I found it a practical book and easy to read and have read it twice, having found myself referencing it in work leadership coaching work.  Giving us a framework to ground us in positive disciplines, working at the intersection of Interests – what we want to do, Needs of others and the world and Strengths – work where our talents are, what we are good at.


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