By: Karen Falkler, CEO - Falkler Wellness & Advisory
Strength, mindset, and wellness can be leading indicators for not only short and long-term success, but also the length and quality of your work and human experience. The ability to become successful, both individually and organizationally will be greatly impacted by wellness, and it is the simplest common denominator for all people. Wellness will influence quality of time, motivation, communication, and have a lifelong impact on every single person.
Leading is rarely easy (that’s probably why there are so many books on it.) To lead, a certain level of strength, grit, discipline, presence, and wellness are required. Fortunately, many executives have peer-groups, executive coaches, and are exercising. However, there’s still plenty of room for improvement for everyone.
Consider this: you are in your prime right now. This is the youngest you will ever be, and this is the time to train your body and mind accordingly. I spent years treating individuals of all professions and titles and can promise, illness and level of independence will impact us all. I have walked into countless rooms and have had countless conversations about the ways that the wellness of our families, peers, and selves is impacting the workplace and true meaning of success. We are all more similar than different, yet there is a constant that I have encouraged for every person I have spoken to and for those they are taking care of, and leading: Strength train. Now obviously, you will want to talk with your doctor before beginning any new routine, but for those who want to know why I am so adamant about it, here is why.
Leaders must be strong, both mentally and physically. Real strength training does both while simultaneously offering many, many other benefits. Some leaders do strength train, run, swim, bike and/or have personal trainers. Good. Most people still spend a significant amount of their life sitting, driving, sitting in meetings and on Zooms, at dinners and lunches and all the other things that “normal” people do. Some others in organizations have very active, manually taxing roles, and these may physically exhaust staff leaving little-to-no energy for on-purpose strength training. These lifestyles and their associated strength deficits and postures will impact the way that we sit, stand, move, live, age, and the ability to work. Strength and posture will impact the way that joints move, lungs function, and the rate that bones and joints degenerate. It impacts the development and severity of sleep apnea, and how much blood and oxygen are provided to the brain, body and heart. Habits determine the risk for disease and if your MVP employee is at a higher or lower risk for suffering a stress-induced stroke or heart attack and how they respond to crisis situations at home and at work. Truth is, I spent years and years treating individuals before returning to the corporate world then seeing the answer clear as day; we must fix wellness in the workplace, and it starts with the executive team. If the executive team is not well, who will drive company success and if the executive team does not genuinely support and model wellness behavior, unless someone already has great habits, change will be unlikely to happen. Organizations are already investing in their people, and spending money on their people. Increasing focus on wellness just makes sense.
Strength training builds gray matter in the brain, re-builds and builds muscle-to-brain connections that can enhance your actual volitional muscular power and stability. Strength training also fosters enhanced critical thinking via new/strengthened neural pathways. Strength training can enhance sleep and recovery patterns which can also enhance emotional intelligence and slow the process of neurodegeneration and expedite the removal inflammation from the brain and body. Physical exercise can also enhance the regulation, delivery, and removal of many chemicals in your body, which can help to boost the ability to listen, communicate, respond to stress, see things clearly, and so much more. When wellness is individually prioritized the ability to maximize time (today and in the future), achieve goals, and attain success is enhanced. When health is improved, so is executive functioning, reasoning, communication, time management, individuals can show up to work with fewer distractions and in a better mood, enhanced confidence can lead to improved first impressions and meetings, better relationships, more energy, and less mental fog.
Like the books on leadership, plenty of reasonably successful leaders know “how to lead” and “what to do” but fall down on execution or when things get tough. The ability to successfully lead is built brick by brick with accomplishments, lessons, when doing hard things on purpose for the sole purpose of building strength and resiliency, and while breaking down the walls of comfort zones to make room for bigger, better things. Building strength, builds character. Deliberately working to failure, breaking down muscle to build back stronger, doing the work when you don’t want to, sticking with a program, creating the discipline, training your mind… this not only make leaders stronger, it builds confidence from the inside. It prepares and continues to prepare leaders for the hard things that no one can see coming and provides an atmosphere for the healthy elimination and processing of stress. Personal and professional challenges and hardships are part of life. Strength training is important at every single age to build and maintain self- awareness, power, independence, and dignity.
Leadership is a state of mind, and it is built with strength. The sum of someone’s professional and personal mindset and wellness (physical and mental), paired with their ability to effectively prioritize while executing tasks, while managing people and everything else AND remaining relatively calm on the surface (no one wants to follow a panicked leader) … will all influence the level of success that is achieved, how long it takes to get there, and how long it is maintained.
While many organizations do have wellness programs, many are underutilized, and few are maximizing them. Some organizations are unnecessarily losing talent and traction due to sickness, quitting, quiet-quitting, resentment, lack of motivation, lack of soft skills, and talent shortages that lead to over-extension of talent or less-than-desirable hiring practices. Providing education to enhance wellness, and finding ways to assist and remove barriers to physical wellness and mental wellness, for all staff, is essential for keeping the right butts in the right seats. Providing access to strength and life enhancing activities, and while providing creative wellness incentives and programs can assist to develop and motivate individuals and teams, solve problems, reduce risk for disease, car accidents, sick days, disability claims, and provide opportunities for overall cost savings.
Reconsider your strength, mindset, and overall wellness. How will your current habits potentially influence your team and leadership ability, what you define as success, and the trajectory of your life? Whether you are looking at succession planning, leadership development, individual goal setting, organizational vision, mission, values, and goals, wellness will play a significant role and impact every single person. For yourself, for your team, for the leaders you are developing, and those closest to you, invest in your wellness, because you are one of a kind and creating a ripple effect on the world. For more information contact email@example.com.