The road to health is paved with good intestines. - Sherry A Rogers.
When we reach for production output or overall impact at 10x or more of the competition, we do so with remarkable drive and ambition. We become experts in adaptation, utilizing a minimum of resources to create unprecedented growth and success.
But while we are targeting a moonshot, we need to keep our feet on the ground. Sounds contradictory, I know, but there is a cost to looking up and out. And that cost can be at the expense of looking in.
By that I mean we need to be sure our ‘Launch Control Centre’ is running smoothly. Our own health and well-being are at risk when we strive for greatness. We can overlook the central elements of self-care through a lack of self-awareness and certainly self-compassion when the going gets tough.
Everyone in this community wants to be successful at an unprecedented level. Everyone wants to change the world for the better and has a personal and a business MTP.
Charity begins at home, folks! To continue our drive for success and growth, we need to look deeply within to ensure we are in peak condition to weather all our life pace throws at us. Burnout is growing in our society, and there is nothing that will bring your moon rocket crashing to earth quicker than if your ‘Launch Control’ Centre is not at its most focused.
Four main elements require our attention and focus, as reflected in this model. First, the outcomes represent the value or profit from each component as they interact with one another in the pursuit of well-being and peak performance.
LIVE - This refers to our health, i.e., sleep, diet, exercise, and mindset; it is the engine that drives everything else we do. If the engine isn't running well, or stops running, we aren't going anywhere. It is a fact that we pay more attention to our phone and laptop batteries than our own batteries!
Our focus on sleep and rest is crucial. We tend to think of our brain as a computer that shuts down when we sleep. It is far more complex than that. We now know that our cerebral fluid flushes our brain of toxins while we sleep. Deep sleep is a deep clean, basically. So, get your eight hours, and stop thinking we can live on less.
It helps to think of our brain, not as a computer running the show, but as a living, breathing (yes) organ just like any other organ in our body. We can train it to be stronger, forming deeper connections, feeding it, and exercising it. We can do as much to support a healthy brain as we can do to harm it. Or we can abuse and mistreat it.
Not skipping meals and ensuring we drink water are hugely important facets of self-care. I am not going to tell you, dear reader, to eat your vegetables. But I do want to point out the value of creating the habit of doing so. By giving our body the proper sustenance to support us, we are also providing the neurochemicals (serotonin and dopamine) that help us deal with stress and that we now know are created in our gut biome, not in the brain. We need to feed the seeds.
So, by providing the tools to combat stress effectively and not relying on our nervous system to do the energizing for us, we create an environment that supports our resilience and drives us as peak-performing entrepreneurs.
LOVE - This speaks to our primal need for safety and trust, relationships, and our sense of belonging. Bessel van der Kolk, a global mental health expert, says that the single most crucial aspect of our mental health is to know that we belong and are safe in the company of others. Without that, we are not going to survive.
But genuine connection, and a true sense of belonging, requires more than association. It is the difference between ‘belonging’ and just ‘fitting in’. As leaders in our communities, this will also require an ability to push back on what or who may be preventing us from achieving our goals or needs.
A challenging aspect of connection and relating to others is in the concept of boundaries and what we often refer to as “non-negotiables”. If your boundaries or non-negotiables allow you to become clear on what you need to prioritize in your life, then declare them and abide by them.
In the above model, we can see the interaction between and outcome of "Live" and "Love" being "Health". Without our health, it stands to reason that we cannot hope to elevate ourselves to peak performance.
LEARN refers to our need for meaning and purpose, vision, motivation, growth, and prosperity. Vision is the primary facet of resilience, in my opinion, and this community understands this better than most.
But, as Marshall Goldsmith wrote in his best-selling book, "What got you here won't get you there." We are continually growing and learning and have an eye for where we want to get. It is great to look at our horizon, but we need to know where we are placing our feet as well.
Having shared your vision with others, you have both collaboration and accountability. Sharing your vision with others also creates the space for collaboration and accountability, both markers of success.
In the model, the intersection of "Love" and "Learn" is "Wealth", and not just material wealth but abundance in terms of what we need for progress, growth, and performance. As the old saying goes, "Health is wealth," and it certainly rings true in this context.
LEAVE – This speaks to our desire to leave a legacy, to know we leave an imprint or footprint behind us, where people can gain from the lessons of our actions. We can agree that this is a driving passion in the ExO community. Nelson Henderson once said, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
Generativity (Ackerman et al., 2000) is the propensity and willingness to engage in acts that promote the well-being of younger generations. It is the "art of leaving your mark” and strongly predicts subjective well-being. We can see the positive effects in physical and mental health, agency and autonomy, connection and belonging to our communities and interpersonal relationships, and satisfaction with life and in our work.
If we can support others in their quest for peak performance, as ExO leaders, there is a sense of generosity in spirit from helping them achieve their greatness. It is a noble thing. And it is equally as valuable to us in our quest for peak performance.
We then lift those around us through mentoring, observing, and imitating. It refers to the intersection of "Learn" and "Leave" in our model, being the idea of "Lift," as in, lifting those around us to achieve their dreams and goals and raising our awareness and our capability to perform at our peak. This then becomes our "Gift" to ourselves and those inside our sphere of influence.
In summary, when we are at our peak physical health and enjoy deep connection and belonging, we can consider ourselves healthy.
When we can use this sense of connection to support our vision to grow, we are wealthy (not necessarily financially but on an equally important, deeper, more spiritual level).
When we use our best selves to grow and achieve all we can be and do, we are often organically supporting those around us. We are now performing at our peak levels in our business and beyond: we are engaged, empathetic, and energized. We are looking through our positive mindset, which shapes our perception.
It is up to you to give yourself the best fighting chance to seize the opportunities that come your way. But you need to be “match fit” to be ready for it.
Go and seize that to which you aspire. It is yours.
About the Author
Mark Butler, MAddBeh, MGestTher, CReC, and MPACFA, is a clinical specialist and mental health strategist in mental health in the workplace, with over 25 years of corporate experience and 15 years of clinical psychotherapy experience.
Described as a risk specialist, Mark helps individuals, teams, and organizations to get in front of potential mindset and mental health issues. To deal effectively with stress and burnout to optimize resilience, promote a growth mindset and well-being, and create the conditions to deliver peak performance.
He is a regular guest speaker on webinars, podcasts, and keynote speeches and an international best-selling co-author, coach, and mentor. He continues to write around his thought leadership. You can reach out to Mark by email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.markbutler.com.au
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