The most resilient companies are revamping their success strategy to include health and wellness planning.
Mark made a comment out of frustration that caught my attention. He said, “I cannot believe it! My doctor has set me up for every health screening available! I mentioned that I had a little heartburn, and that set her on a path of “discovery” as she calls it. I just don’t have time for this!” He went on to say that he’d had his eyes checked, his heart, and he’d been to the ENT plus several other specialists just to rule out any health vulnerabilities.
Listening to him, I couldn’t help but rewind the conversation we had just a few minutes before. He wanted to talk about business success strategies. We explored the soundness of his financials, his leadership team, his marketing approach, and even his outward-facing messaging. We created a 10-point checklist for him to conduct an internal strategy audit with his team.
In a serious tone, I asked him a question. “Mark, what happens to your company if you drop dead tomorrow?”
Mark didn’t recognize it, but he was given an opportunity to prioritize his health and make wellness a part of his business strategy.
Hardly a week goes by where there is not a story about an executive who succumbed to a health crisis. In some cases, it was after a long-term battle. In many more cases, it was a sudden moment of collapse.
A Deeper Look at Self-care
For the past 20 years, I have been growing my labor of love called Promised Land Living. This dynamic non-profit offers small group coaching for personal development in a safe and confidential environment while walking through 12 modules together. Module 8 is called Self-care, which is not selfish unless entitlement or narcissism is the driver. Believe it or not, self-care includes developing your life vision by listing all ideas freely and letting your thoughts flow without regard to constraints. Then take your ideas and prioritize the list based on your values, the vision, and finally resources, but not based on fear or doubt.
Next, reflect on destructive vs constructive behaviors or habits as it relates to sleep, food and exercise. For each category, ask yourself:
What are destructive behaviors for you?
What are the costs and the benefits of choosing to continue this behavior?
Are there any lies that you are telling yourself that are associated with this destructive behavior?
What would constructive behavior look like?
What are the costs and the benefits when choosing this behavior?
What do you want to change as a result of this inflection?
As an example, how are you sleeping? Have you done a sleep study on yourself, per say? Learn how the importance of good sleep makes a difference on your health barometer.
Overall, self-care can be summarized in this way: love your neighbor as yourself, rest on the 7th day, care for your body, practice gratitude, nurture your spiritual journey, carry your own load, re-construct vs self-destruct, make personal commitments to change and finally, the fun one! Brainstorm some outrageous requests of yourself, others or God to really stretch your imagination…and watch what happens.
Check out the Super Reserve Checklist and discover ways to create margins in your life while making room for self-care. It is a fun tool to help us take a 360 walk around our life and how we are managing it. For a Quick Leader Self-Assessment try this tool.
The bottom line is, who are you waiting on for permission to push the pause button so you can prioritize your health?
What are you doing to prioritize your health?
In the same way that Mark and I created an audit strategy, it is helpful to take an audit of your health. Some try to do this when they make New Year’s resolutions, although we know how long those last. Some wait until a crash of some sort which then costs a lot of personal time in recovery.
Creating a health audit is an intentional and proactive way to take care of you and is usually aligned with your core values, beliefs, principles, and purpose. Giving a health or pulse check a place of importance is often one of the most effective ways to love those who love you. As I often say to my father (who I affectionately call “Pops”), the best way you can love me is by taking care of yourself. He loves me so guess what, he is taking care of himself.
It takes courage to check in with yourself and ask review questions about yourself. The hesitancy might come from being afraid of what you will find or being afraid that you will have to devote time and energy to what you find. When doing health checks on a regular basis, you tune into your body to know when you feel your best, when you are stressed and when something just doesn’t feel right.
There is a meditation practice that’s often done by mindfulness practitioners. It’s called a body scan. Participants settle into a quiet reflective posture. Starting with the head they are asked to check in with the various parts of their body until they reach the soles of their feet. This practice is about slowing down to listen to yourself and paying attention to where one might feel tension or stress. While in the reflective posture, other questions are spoken. Where are you out of alignment with yourself? In what ways might you be violating your core beliefs or values? Where have you been experiencing pain or physical discomfort? This exercise gives an opportunity for a health awareness reboot.
As much as I care about working with leaders on business strategy, I care deeply about health strategy.
Wellness Check Framework
-Plan, with specific dates (on your calendar) to do wellness health checks with your medical professionals. It is worth your time.
-Consider ways that you can be pro-active about your health and wellness.
-Raise awareness in your company of the importance of pro-active wellness actions.
-Value yourself and your team enough to pay attention to who is on the verge of exhaustion or burnout. Every day does not have to be a high alert day. High alerts are for intense moments of sudden demand or crises, not for regular operating cadence.
Embed health and well-being initiatives into your business strategy, then when your doctor suggests you do a health review you can see it as a gift instead of an irritation! You are worth it!
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