Moving With Less

The journey down a river challenges one’s comfort level. From the gear to the natural elements to the remote locations in which the activity takes place, paddling a river offers us a beautiful and unexpected perspective of the world. But such a journey is not likely to top the list of a comfort-seeker.

However, in my four-plus decades on and around rivers, the pursuit of more comfort on the water has been an ongoing work-in-progress. Accessories and gear with more storage to carry more things. Or more gadgets to process more information, detail more metrics, or capture more images.

More things to make us feel more comfortable, which leads to additional forms of “more.”

A story is paired with this innovation — that “more” will make the journey:


The progress of “more” positions “less” as not enough. Over time, “more” becomes the system of default.

Of course, “more” outweighs “less.” As obvious as that reads, the consequence of the weight of “more” on the journey down the river is severely overlooked.

When uncertainty becomes the point of contention, and inevitably, it does, the quality of our response is immediately challenged. Whether in the form things or thoughts, extra weight affects our response.

Our response is a function of energy.

A better response directly corresponds with better energy management.

Think of our response as a formula like this:

Response = (Situational Intake + Situational Adjustment)/Weight

Here, no matter how much we improve upon intake and adjustment (the top line), if the pursuit of “more” (the bottom line) parallels this effort and grows, our ability to respond can not reach its potential.

In other words, the default of “more” adds weight that siphons away valuable energy to respond.

However, the moment we start to examine and choose from a position of subtraction, we free up energy to be directed to our efforts that matter most.

Less is not more. Less is simply less.

While managing energy is not complex, it is elusive.

When our attention is constantly within the line of fire, attending to energy management is exponentially more difficult.

Setting routines, awareness to posture, and moving with less not only preserve energy, but increase the likelihood that our energy is available when we most desire to use it, how we desire to use it, and for as long we desire to use it.

This is why our attention to managing energy precedes the next section of this series, River Strategy. Improved awareness to expending and replenishing energy is the first step to creating and performing within a strategy that defines our own pursuit of contentment on the river of uncertainty.

Even an extreme experience can simplify the spirit of attention to energy. A few years ago, Kilian Jornet, who was born and raised in Catalunya very close to where I am writing this post and today is one of the world’s top endurance sport athletes, embarked upon a mountain expedition from his home in Norway.

Not knowing exactly how long he would be outside nor what he might encounter, to watch Kilian prepare, adapt, and thrive in the face of uncertainty by being attentive to key principles of energy management is illuminating and mesmerizing.

Watch a 12-minute video of Kilian’s adventure → HERE.

From a better disposition in which to manage energy, we can develop a more strategic navigation of the river of uncertainty, which we will start next Sunday.

With gratitude, — Joe

PS — Over the past year, the world has challenged and continues to challenge the nature of building, growing, and sustaining relationships. A few months ago, my Valor Performance coaching colleagues and I had the privilege of attending a fireside chat with our CEO and Founder, Sarah Milby, and Valor Advisor, Carole Robin, Ph.D, author of the new book, Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues.

This conversation was enlightening and this Thursday, February 4th, at 1pm, Eastern Time, you are invited to join Sarah and Carole for a Valor virtual event about building meaningful relationships and connections in our lives.

Please join us! Click HERE for more information and free registration to this virtual event.

Moving With Less is a part of my continuing Sunday Morning Joe series, The Pursuit Of Contentment On The River Of Uncertainty. Subscribe to Sunday Morning Joe HERE.

Connect with Joe:

5 With Joe Performance Coaching

I coach established and experienced professionals, who feel stuck in place, to thrive in transition and bring focus to what matters most without compromising their lives.

My personal experiences winning an Olympic Gold Medal, serving as CEO of a national sports organization, and my current “Simple, Slower, and Less” lifestyle in the Catalan Pyrenees help to form accountable and transformative collaborations that see my clients create their next and most impactful chapter.



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