John: We could probably all use a little more “work-out” time. Mark Nation has some simple and effective steps to share with us that will make a significant and positive difference in our professional and personal lives.
Then maybe we will find working on our physical bodies a bit easier too:) …
A More Thoughtful Workout: 6 Steps to Better Mental and Emotional Health By Mark Nation
Most of us are familiar with emotional intelligence, and how important it is to couple strong “EQ,” or emotional intelligence, with strong IQ in the workplace. In addition, a strong body of work exists that helps us to understand how “thoughts are things” and, “what we think about, we bring about.” Both philosophies are very powerful, and together they have developed many leaders from ‘mental and emotional weaklings’ into ‘executive Atlases.’
How strong is your own mental and emotional physique? Have you ever spent time building intentional strength in these two areas? Were you once strong, but perhaps missed a few sessions (or a few months) at the gym? Has work ‘pounded’ you, such that you’re carrying around way too much excess weight? Or, are you currently sidelined, stagnant and motionless, fearful to rebuild your career or your life?
Whether you are a newbie to the discipline, a weekend warrior, a fallen hero, or a rising star, you always have great opportunities to improve mental and emotional fitness. These two leadership ‘dynamic duos’ pair perfectly together and work best when part of a combined workout.
Here are six steps to more “thought-full” exercise:
- Check Your Pulse. Be honest with yourself about your current mental and emotional fitness levels. Get in tune with what (and who) drives you – and who drains you. Target a couple of areas where you can get quick wins that keep you coming back.
- Start Where You Are. You may be working out already, and simply need more consistency and intensity. Or, you may never have worked on your mental nor emotional health before. No matter where you are…there you are. Just start. Begin now.
- Buy Some New Clothes. Chances are your mental and emotional wardrobe is tired, drab and out-of-date. Moths, dust, and cobwebs may pervade your thought closet. Workouts and training programs are always more fun when you wear nice clothing and shoes that fit well. Get some new “duds” for yourself; wrap your mind and heart in the garments you deserve. Wear wicking layers that allow the ‘wetness’ of life (including toxic jobs or relationships) to roll off these most precious parts of your physique.
- Work with What You Have. No doubt you have been through battles and sustained some scars and tears. We all have. Just promise not to let those aches and pains defeat you; instead, let them define Don’t underestimate the power of vulnerability to fuel your authentic leadership efforts – weakness (i.e., failures, struggles, heartbreaks, etc.) often houses your greatest strength and potential.
- Push Yourself. You have to lift heavier weights to build larger muscles; you have to run uncomfortably fast for uncomfortably long periods in order to eventually run faster, comfortably. Why don’t you apply this “be comfortable with being uncomfortable” technique to your mental and emotional capacity? Keep driving more work into the system, and your engine will not only grow, but also become more efficient, ever-happier to support more power at higher speeds.
- Try Something New. There are muscles inside you that you don’t even know exist, much less make any effort to use. Try a new type of workout to ‘crosstrain’ your brain and heart as frequently as you can. It could be any sort of positive and helpful activity, such as reading fiction, meditating, walking backward, calling one friend per day for a week, going to church or synagogue, doing puzzles, etc. Different workouts stimulate new muscles and joints which bring added strength and power previously unknown to you.
Focus on your mind, while emphasizing your heart and spirit. Make each of these incredible assets part of your daily workout. Think of the combined pair as a vital part of your authentic leadership superset. The more repetitions you perform, the stronger you will become. It’s truly the work of a lifetime, and a priceless gift you give yourself. I can think of no one more worth it than you, and no better time than now. Here’s to some of your most incredible workouts ever!
Mark Nation is a globally-recognized management expert, leadership consultant, executive coach, author, and speaker. He is personally driven to discover what makes individuals, teams, and organizations amazing—those elements which power the heart and soul of individuals and businesses worldwide. His new book, Made for Amazing: An Instrumental Journey of Authentic Leadership Transformation, helps people to identify and optimize their unique talents.