Aim Higher: The leadership value of health and wellness 

Elevate Your Game

If you are feeling stressed and agitated, you aren’t alone. Our lives are normally stressful enough, but the recent events often can make these feelings overwhelming.

Ask yourself some basic questions:

  • How do you personally make sure that you are not working-and-working without building in time for you, for self-care?
  • How important is diet and exercise to you as a leader?
  • How do you deal with the stress of the constant negative news?

 

And how about thinking about one more question:

  • What is your definition of success?

 

Let’s step back and start there.

 

“Success is when you are at your maximum capacity, reaching your potential in all areas of life.” -Skip Prichard

 

What is Success?

My definition of success, at least as I am writing this is:

Success is when you are at your maximum capacity, reaching your potential in all areas of life.

Defining success is easier if we think about what it is not. Success is not defined by a position; it’s not defined by money. It’s not narrow, meaning true success isn’t excellence in only one thing.

 

 

What’s the Opposite of Success?

Some people think the opposite of success is failure. But failure means you reached for something, and that means you are on the way to success.

To me, the opposite of success is mediocrity.

 

“The opposite of success is not failure. It’s mediocrity.” -Skip Prichard

 

If we think about success as involving all areas of your life, then we cannot ignore any of major area from the spiritual to the emotional. And one area of leadership success that is often ignored is physical.

 

Physical Well-Being as Part of Leadership

That’s right. Physical fitness is a part of leadership success. You don’t have to be an Olympian, competing in a triathlon, or vying for a title in a bodybuilding contest, but fueling your body is important and will give you greater endurance, more patience, and improve your strategic thinking.

I like the way Timothy Tobin, author of Peak Leadership Fitness: Elevating Your Leadership Game , put it during our interview:

 

 “Leadership is an endurance activity, and to be at your best requires your full and best energy.” -Timothy J. Tobin

 

And that’s why this week, my “Aim Higher” podcast  guests and I tackle the topic of health and wellness.

If you ask most people about their fitness goals, you will find that they often answer with both external and internal goals. We want to feel better to ourselves—to have improved health and mental awareness, to sleep better, to avoid disease and physical pain. But we also want to do it for performance reasons. Whether we are in a profession where physical function plays a key role or we simply want to avoid sick days and experience better mental acuity (which, we know, is tied to physical wellness), staying healthy impacts our ability to get things done.

As leaders, that means that we’re not just performing for ourselves, but for our entire team. My regular panelists Drew and Tammi both said things that I think are important for leaders to keep in mind here. Drew said that when he works out, he is “the best version of himself as a leader.” That’s a great way of looking at it. If we’re in shape and feeling good, we bring energy and focus to the teams we lead.

 

“Working out helps me be the best version of myself as a leader.” – Drew Bordas

 

And Tammi pointed out that when she hasn’t had a good night’s sleep, she’s inclined to experience “outsized reactions.” I know that feeling, don’t you? Because you’re tired, something that might normally cause you to just pause and reflect becomes a major hassle and you fly off the handle. It’s not that you’re legitimately unhappy.

Leaders, like anyone, have the right to their emotions. But being over-tired literally removes some of our physical ability to respond appropriately.

 

“Wellness is multi-faceted. It’s about physical, emotional and spiritual health.” – Tammi Spayde

 

What does this mean for leaders?

Well, I think it can provide another great motivator for your workout, diet, meditation or other wellness routine. When you get discouraged—as we all do—think beyond what you’re getting out of it personally. Think past how many pounds you want to lose or how great you’ll feel. Think about how much better a leader you’ll be for your team.

 

“Seeing leaders who display health is encouraging and a sign that they are committed to growth.”-Alex Core

 

Observing Leaders

Another guest joining the show is Alex Core. He’s a business professional, not a personal trainer and yet he has become my fitness mentor.

His perspective on physical fitness shaped my thinking. He says that “seeing leaders who display health is encouraging and a sign that they are committed to growth.” It’s important to realize that the mental state that we so often discuss on the show is only the beginning. The physical side of fitness is analogous to leadership because it demonstrates commitment, focus, and determination.

 

“The physical side of fitness is analogous to leadership because it demonstrates commitment, focus, and determination.”-Alex Core

 

When you have a great workout, you may end up sore and that stops many from continuing. When your cravings kick-in and you think there’s no way that you can resist those Oreos, what do you do? These are obstacles that prevent us from achieving and it’s no different than overcoming obstacles in business. The muscles we strengthen aren’t just physical, but the mental muscles that give us resilience and the stamina to keep going.

And that’s yet another reason why physical health is important to leaders.

To listen to the episode click here

And special thanks to those who are subscribing, liking, and rating us on iTunes.

 

 

Leadership Tip: a good night sleep will prevent you from having “outsized reactions.” -Tammi Spayde

 “After a good night’s sleep, you’re simply more present in your life.” – Skip Prichard 

 “You don’t have to have big goals for fitness. Make daily goals that are easier to keep.” – Alex Core 

 “Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but, because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi Jr.

“Exercise reduces stress, improves brain function, increases innovation, and gives you improved focus.” -Alex Core

“Fasting is a state of the mind as well as the body.” -Alex Core

 

For more information, see Peak Leadership Fitness: Elevating Your Leadership Game .

 

 

Photo Credit: Danielle Cerullo

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