You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. – Marissa Mayer
At Southwest Michigan First, wellness is hugely important. In fact, our team was recently recognized with two different wellness awards by two different awarding-organizations in the state of Michigan for being a healthy employer.
You might be thinking, “Aren’t you economic developers?” Yes, but we know that in order to achieve the extraordinary goals we’ve set for ourselves, our organization and our region, we need to be healthy. It’s also important to note that for us, wellness goes way beyond a gym membership. We focus on wellness in a holistic sense: physical, relational, financial, spiritual and mental.
While I am a huge advocate of our wellness & engagement strategy, our entire team has responsibility in making sure we are a healthy and well place to work. So, instead of just hearing from one person today (me), I asked the team to share some of their best wellness advice for leaders. I think you’ll find some great insight and be encouraged to make your wellness, and that of your teams, a priority.
Make and keep your personal health appointment every day – just as you would make time for your boss or the chairman of your board. Commit that you will honor the time reserved for your wellness daily whether it is a brisk walk, hitting the golf course or time with friends and family.
Schedule a reminder to get up every 1-2 hours to stretch, take a lap around the office and get a drink of water. Taking short breaks is a proven way to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.
SLAM: Sleep, Laughter, Activity, Meditation
It’s okay to unplug. Striving to be the most dependable, intelligent, reliable and available leader is a wonderful, but even the best leaders need to re-charge their batteries. Sometimes while trying to be the best at work, you’re not the best at home. When you walk through your door at home, apply the “no-phone-zone” for a few hours during dinner and family time. Let your brain unwind from the day by writing in a journal about what you did that day that gave you lots of energy. Brain dumping your mental “lists” on a piece of paper next to your night stand will help clear your mind for a worry-free sleep. Read a couple chapters in a book that’s totally for pleasure. Set some time in the morning before everyone else gets up and catch back up to the world before you start getting ready for another day. You have 40+ hours each week designated to be the best leader, but don’t forget about the time to be the best you.
Know who you are and be okay with it. This will drive so many decisions related to your wellness and peace of mind.
Balance! There is a season for everything, and everything is not in season all of the time. You only have so much time so, you need to focus at the right time on the right things in life: Your partner, your family, your work, a friend in need, your special interests and you (yes you!). When at a crossroads in making a decision where to spend time, here are a few scale tippers:
- A child always comes first.
- You should do something special for your partner every day.
- A task should never come before a person.
- When you don’t like what you are doing, find a way or move on.
- When your time on earth comes to pass, who will celebrate you? Those are the “ones” that you should focus on.
When stressed, actively search for a way to laugh really hard or make someone else laugh around you.
Something is better than nothing: There are never enough hours in the day to complete everything on your list. Doing a small part of any task, when you have time, is better than stressing out because you don’t have time to do it all at once. It may take all week to fold laundry for 5 minutes at a time, but the task does get completed. You may only have time to squeeze in a 15 minute workout, but it is better than nothing at all.
Don’t lose who YOU are! Don’t let the small stuff (or big stuff) take you away from your core values and make you forget why you do what you do.
Make sure you have a strong foundation outside of the organization or group in which you are leading. Having someone that has your back no matter what, that can help you see the bigger picture, that isn’t jaded by the day-to-day issues you experience in your job is essential. Get their perspective, and process issues with them. Taking time to love, spend time with, laugh and enjoy those people is key!
As a leader, I encourage you to focus on at least one of these things and adopt it into your personal wellness strategy. In order to lead well, you must BE well!
Question: What’s your best wellness tip for fellow leaders? Which one of these tips resonated most with you?