How To Build A Vision For Your Leadership And Your Health

How To Build A Vision For Your Leadership And Your Health

Why write about health in an article on leadership? After all, isn’t leading just about the words you use, the things you type, the meetings you hold? Who cares about the health of your body?

I hope you can hear me laughing as I write that. It’s the most ironic thing, that the very source of your life is so often left as a footnote to actual success.

The state of your body and your overall health is central to what success actually looks like. Who cares if you have a million dollars if you don’t have the health to enjoy your wealth?

And yet, too many people focus on the growth of their careers and their finances, leaving their own wellness at the bottom of the list (if it makes it there at all).

Then the inevitable consequences of this neglect catch up to them. It may be as small as nagging aches and pains, or it may be as big as a full-on health breakdown. But the fact is, the body doesn’t care how busy you are or how important your work is. If your health isn’t central to your definition of success, your ability to truly succeed will be limited.

So how do you prioritize it when things are busy? Like everything else that really matters, it starts with vision. What is your vision for your physical health? Take nothing off the table while creating your vision. Want to run a marathon? Write it down. Cycle up a volcano? Write it down. Lose 20, 50, 100 pounds? Write it down. Stop smoking? Write it down. Get weekly massages? Write it down. Creating a vision is your play zone; it’s where your creativity can run wild.

Here’s where things get fun: Once you have a vision for your physical health, anything becomes possible. It may take some time—if it’s a big enough vision it will take time—but there is nothing stopping you from making progress now. If your vision is clear and strong enough, you will be able to work through any inner static or logistical obstacles to be able to take meaningful steps. And meaningful steps over time will equal the results you want.

Again, the first step is to write it down. If it doesn’t exist as a possibility around you, you’ll never achieve it. So write it down. Then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. The act of writing down your goal will get the wheels turning. You’ll be focusing your mind and getting creative as you keep this awesome goal you have front and center.

And this first step is absolutely crucial, because when you don’t have a vision, your mind will tend to focus on whatever is coming its way. So that tub of ice cream that you didn’t plan on eating? It’ll somehow just end up in your belly. And why not? If you don’t have an overriding vision that you’re feeding regularly, the lowest possible level of effort will be the one you choose. It’s what we do as humans.

And writing it down also helps you put on a new identity. You become the person who can do that big thing. For me, it was cycling up the volcano Haleakalā in Maui—a 10,000-foot climb over 37 miles—despite not being an experienced cyclist.

I decided that I wanted to do it, then my training followed. I cleared obstacles, both inner and outer, to make it happen. And I became someone who can cycle up 10,000 feet of elevation in a six-hour span.

Also, when your actions toward your body and health are in alignment with your overall goals and beliefs, you will feel less conflicted inside. One of the biggest momentum killers is feeling conflicted over actions you’re taking that don’t align with your deeper values.

If you know you want to eat healthier or exercise more, yet you find yourself finishing off a pizza and postponing your workout again, that mental residue accumulates and will slow you down.

The way to handle it is the same way you handle any other goal—which is what makes it such a powerful area of focus. You can build your leadership skills while also getting tangible results for your life and health.

To make a change in your health, start with a SMART goal. That means it should be:

Specific. Don’t say you want to exercise more; say you want to train for and participate in the upcoming 5K fun run, for example. Or if weight loss is your goal, commit to a certain number of pounds you want to lose.

Measurable. Saying that you’ll train or eat better isn’t enough. Commit to a certain distance each week or a certain food protocol to keep your mind focused each day.

Actionable. Don’t commit to swimming if you don’t have access to a pool. Do things that you can start with right now and that you have control over.

Relevant. Choose one area to start with—the thing that will make the biggest difference in your life—and focus on that. If your goal is weight loss or stopping smoking, prioritizing cycling may not be most effective.

Timely. This brings you face to face with the ultimate question in business: “By when.” When you place a timeframe on your health goal, it focuses the mind and helps you get creative.

Don’t worry if it’s a little scary at first. That’s just your brain pushing back on the discomfort that it perceives on the path ahead.

If your vision is worth it—and you are worth it—then your goal will push you outside your comfort zone. It will feel a bit scary, but also inspiring. If you find yourself thinking, “I could do that! I want to do that!” then you’re heading in the right direction.

The information provided here is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for advice concerning your specific situation.

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