04 Jan What do Good Health and Good Leadership Have in Common?

good health and good leadership

Have you ever taken time to think about what good health and good leadership have in common?  Bravo’s David McGlennen makes some interesting correlations between good leadership and good health in a recent LinkedIn post.

“It is a vivid day in my memory.  I drove into the garage at the end of the day as I normally did.  And as I pulled in, the voice on the cassette tape (*obviously this story takes place before our current electronic devices!) I was listening to was describing the normal lunch routine of a high level executive of some company.  That executive told people who wanted to meet with him for lunch that he would be happy to have them join him…at the pool.  You see this executive had a commitment to his health and that priority meant that if someone wanted to meet him at the given time of this priority, they needed to join him for a swim workout.

For some reason, this story which incidentally happened to be on a Dennis Waitley personal improvement program, happened to be the catalyst for my pursuit of self-leadership by creating good health habits.  At the time, my children were very small and I knew that I wanted to make sure I was able to keep up with them and enjoy them for as long as possible.  My journey began at a local health club where I began by taking some health assessments which told me that at the ripe old age of 30 I had better take control of my health or I was headed for trouble.

During the following months and years I proceeded to create some habits – oh, ok, call them obsessions if you must – that have allowed me to be able to do things that most people my age may find inconceivable.  Those habits have had a direct impact on my ability to lead others and provide the basis for my platform of wellness and good health.

Now you may be saying to yourself, ‘wonderful and good for you but what does that have to do with leadership?’ I believe my mentor John Maxwell when he says that leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less.  So if I am going to influence others in the realm of self-leadership, how can I effectively do that if I don’t demonstrate that in my own life?  The law of the picture states that people do what people see so if people see me investing in my own health, then there is a greater chance that I can help influence them to do the same.  So if I am placing a high priority on health, and we do need good health if we are going to be able to lead well, the picture I create will be one that will inspire others to follow.  John himself is on a mission of good health and is inspiring many to join him!

As I see it, here are some of the correlations between good leadership and good health:

  1. It’s a Journey – Just like leadership, it doesn’t happen in a day.  But it does happen daily.  Your agenda for health today really does impact your health tomorrow.  Take small bite-sized steps to create good habits that will bring about the result you’re looking for.
  2. Friends Make a Difference – Whether it is making it to exercise class or leading a team, the people you surround yourself with does have an impact on your goals.  For me, one of the best things that happened to me was that I started talking to a guy at the gym I was going to (high ‘I’ on the human behavior scale that I am). From that conversation and seeing him consistently at the same time I was there came a lifelong friendship and tons of stories from our many miles running or biking together.  When leading a team, isn’t the journey more fun and enjoyable with people that share the same values and goals?
  3. Good Health Operates by Irrefutable Laws – When someone exercises their body, there are specific things that happen within that body because of the law of cause and effect.  If I daily raise my heart rate into my aerobic training zone, my heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood through my body.  As I daily create task lists that are prioritized and set aside focused time to accomplish those tasks, I create a habit that makes me more productive and I can accomplish more and lead better.  And just as the law of the picture states, ‘people do what people see’, if my team sees me ‘head-down’ and focused on getting the important things done in m day, they too will follow suit and become more productive.
  4. Action is Essential – While there are abundant articles on health as well as leadership, in both areas one must take action or the principles are useless.  Just because I know that soda is detrimental to my body means nothing unless I take action and begin drinking water instead.  Just because I learned about how momentum is a leader’s best friend can’t help me unless I take action even if it is on the smallest of tasks.  Taking baby steps is key to getting the momentum started.  Newton’s law of motion is never more true than in health and leadership – ‘a body in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted on by an outside force and a body at rest tends to remain at rest.’ So get up off the couch – and get started on that first project!”