Penny Zenker

  Penny Zenker


What difference does a perspective make? Remaining open to new perspectives and integrating them into your life creates greater flexibility and a greater capacity. It is easy to get involved in a community with like interests. At the same time, it is easy to get discouraged, bogged down, burnt out, stressed, and/or distracted by different viewpoints, motivations and lack of clarity in goals and implementation of community projects. Circumstances like these can leave us drained and may even cause us to turn apathetic or remove ourselves from active involvement of the organization or community. Often the excuse is that we don’t have the time, but the challenge isn’t about time.

The real challenge is how we manage our ENERGY rather than time. Our energy dictates how we show up for the time we have.

That is why on some days, things run smoothly while other days are just like pulling teeth. By shifting our perspective from time management to energy management, we open up the possibilities for greater achievement, better performance, and increased productivity on an individual or community level.

There are four core drivers of our energy, as follows. They are levers and when we pull them, we create leverage. They work together like cogs in a windmill that, with the force of the wind, turns faster and creates great momentum.


Purpose provides raw energy, drive and commitment. It helps us to create a vision and goals that challenge us to be more. This is often what brings the community or organization together, but it can also burn people out or create frustration if there is a lack of clarity with how you will achieve the purpose. Clear goal setting needs to be combined with the right planning and process.


This driver is about creating a positive mental mindset that is demonstrated through the questions we ask. We must choose the correct words to reflect our thoughts and dictate our experiences. Curious questioning helps us to gain clarity. If we are closed to other perspectives, we assume they are wrong, or that we know better. This limits further development. When we are open to other perspectives, we ask others and ourselves better-quality questions, avoiding assumptions that may hold us back from reaching our potential as an individual, community or an organization.


We can focus on what we want or what we don’t want. We can focus on what we have in common, or what our differences are. We can focus on problems or solutions. We choose where we focus our attentions and energies. In order to get the results we want, we have to be sure the focus is in the desired direction.


By nourishing our mind and body with the proper diet, movement and positive stimulation, we can control our level of vitality. It is an important foundation for the other drivers.

When you tap into any one of these core drivers, you are open to different perspectives. Return to a constructive mindset and bring forth energy that will help you through difficult situations, find resolution to conflict, find greater creativity, access stronger resolve, and create depth of focus as an individual and as a group. As Einstein said, “Energy is everything.”

Imagine how you, your family, organization, and community would benefit from managing your energy. Imagine what it would look like if you weren’t hampered by feelings of insufficiency, stress, and lack of time. Learn to understand how the four core drivers of energy impact your role and feeling toward community. You can revamp your perspective, be open to others’ perspectives and increase your effectiveness!


Penny Zenker is a productivity expert, strategic business coach, international speaker and trainer, radio personality and author, applying human psychology and behavior studies to business management. You can learn more about these and other core drivers, as well as identify your strengths and weaknesses with a free assessment at


This article is reprinted from Issue #5 of Nonprofit Performance Magazine. Subscribe today!

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