In August of last year I wrote a post titled “Being Healthy is Selfish”. Though the term selfish is typically not viewed favorably, bringing up images of spoiled, entitled, heartless narcissists, my premise is that to be healthy you must be in control of your life, your decisions and to a reasonable extent “your time”. So many of the reasons we put off going for a run, working out, or even eating right, is that we’ve continued to put the needs and expectations of others above our own needs.
When you’re playing multiple roles, and have an incredible, non-stop demand for your time by all seemingly ‘urgent and important’ things, it can often seem that there’ simply no time left for you (or your workout). Like most people, I struggle to get it all done, and I have very high expectations for myself as an employee, husband, father, and person. However, I’m not a “Yes Man”. There are times, when I have to opt out or say “no” to a request, or to the needs of someone else, so that my basic personal health needs are met. For example, I’ve been traveling from event-to-event, and in all day meetings for the last week and a half. We all know that business conferences never end at 5pm, they almost always include dinners, evening social activities, etc., and as a leader you really should be a part of these things. As an extrovert, I tend to like the social side of meetings/events anyway. However, after a 10 day period of basically travel and meetings, I had a request just come in for a dinner tonight with a vendor that is very close to my organization. My desire to say yes was more like a compulsion, but I thought for a moment, and told the vendor that I would meet with them in the coming weeks, but that tonight simply wont work. I was honest, and told them that I’ve had large, planned evening dinners for the better part of the past 10 days, and that I simply needed to tend to some things. Now, over the past 10 days, I have done my “hotel room workout” with sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, lunges, squats, etc., and I’ve worked in a few runs along the way, but I really haven’t had 2 hours to get a really good workout in. Tonight, I will. I find I have to say no to my family, friends, colleagues and vendors from time-to-time, to manage my own balance, remain healthy, and in the long run deliver better on their needs, because my energy is up. When you give up the bottom levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs because you always put the needs of others over yourself, it’s not healthy.
Don’t be a “Yes Man” or “Yes Woman”, always find a way to make yourself and your health a priority that matters.
Small steps add up!!!
As I return from some much needed ‘rest and relaxation’ in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, it dawned on me that I need an attitude adjustment. Sure I’ve been working hard, spending time with my kids and have kept up with my diet/fitness routine, but I have been feeling really crusty and negative lately – – and I’m not a big fan of those feelings and how they “come off” in the world. Some “self reflection” is definitely in order, and as I’ve said before, good health goes far beyond diet and fitness. If you’re feeling tense, angry, down, negative, or however else you channel something less than “happy”, you owe it to yourself to spend some time figuring it out.
As an Organizational Development professional by education and occupation, there’s a tool I used to use when consulting to help individuals think through key challenges, transitions and opportunities. I have always referred to it as a “Life Balance Wheel”, although it may go by a more snazzy academic name in other circles, and it’s nothing more than a simple radar chart with 6 dimensions and a 5 point scale. The magic is not in the chart itself, but in the power of a generating an accurate and realistic “self evaluation” against each dimension, and the thoughts and potential actions that follow when that visual representation of “current reality” is compared to your own view of “what you need” to be happy and healthy (in the broadest sense). Again, health is the products of a sound mind, body and spirit, so I think the Life Balance Wheel does a reasonable job of helping you evaluate areas that need to be addressed, and getting you to think about actions that may be worth taking.
I’ve posted an image of the wheel, NOT my personal evaluation in this case, as a simple example of how you can utilize this as a tool to improving your health. If you evaluate “the health” of each dimension (Career, Family, Relashionships, Finances, Spirituality, Health/Fitnesss) on the wheel from 1 to 5, with 1 being “not at all healthy/sub optimal” and 5 being “very healthy/optimal”, the simple visual can be very powerful. Research has shown that classic health and fitness are very related to balance in one’s life and/or the “general health” (or lack thereof) of other key factors in our lives. Thus, if your personal assessment were to look like the one on the left, it might be that taking actions to improve “spiritual health” would then help turbo charge efforts on the “health/fitness” side (and other facets) of your life.
There’s no magic means of interpreting your information, but I have found that most of the time there are one or two areas on the chart that go low relative to the other elements, which tend to highlight the area with the greatest potential for growth and improvement. In other words, start by looking to see if your wheel “has a flat” (or a couple of them), and then brainstorm some things you can do to improve in those areas. And yes, I suggest stringing together a few “small steps” vs. trying to fix it all in a day, but I’ll leave that up to you.
A little self-reflection can go a long way.
Small steps add up!!!