IS YOUR LIFE IN GOOD SHAPE?
The health and fitness industry, is a mega one. Deloitts published an article last year indicating that the global fitness and health club industry generates over $90 billion per annum. The industry’s product offerings ranges from the highly intensive exercise regimes to the countless array of devices, miracle supplements, magical diet plans; promising us the quickest solution with the least effort. In today’s pressure cooker environment, health and fitness have become mainstream in our society. Better health extends beyond just medicine and supplements and the latest trend include consumer medical devices as well as personal health trackers. Consumers are increasingly taking their health in their own hands; we are seeing a rise in targeted, data-driven care and devices that help them monitor their own health between doctor’s appointments.
I’ve got a confession to make, I am not a fitness fanatic but enjoys a bit of exercise, my favorite being an early morning 6km brisk walk around the Hartbeespoort dam. How I miss these walks since I had a bit of a health setback that affected my mobility. I had to do a photo shoot last week and it was quite a big challenge to find a shirt, of which the collar fitted me properly. The other day I got on the scale and whoow what a rude awakening! Well, has been there before and knows exactly what major sacrifices await me. Game on!
To keep ourselves continuously in good shape, warrants a key attribute called consistency. It’s not what you do once in a while that matters but what you do on a regular basis. Consistency is about longevity; you are in it for the long haul. Equally so from a leadership perspective, it implies that you need to consistently maintain a strong set of values and live according to an appropriate code of conduct. It acts as an inspiration not only to our peers but also for generations to come. They will be able to realize that you have proven yourself to be resilient notwithstanding the challenges that life threw at you. You need to be known as someone that went through the eye of the needle, tried and tested, having weathered the storms.
THE CHALLENGES LEADERS FACE AROUND THE WORLD
Gentry et al from the Center for Creative Leadership undertook extensive research of 768 business leaders on a global scale where most economic activity is currently taking place. Last year, they published their research results in quite an insightful white paper called The Challenges Leaders Face around the World – More Similar than Different. Though they come from different parts of the world, these leaders consistently face the six same challenges:
- Developing managerial effectiveness
- Inspiring others
- Developing employees
- Leading a team
- Guiding change
- Managing internal stakeholders and politics
In an ever increasingly globalized environment and where change is the constant norm, there is a tremendous responsibility on leaders to get their organizations future fit. How resilient is your organization to withstand external shocks and the agility to adapt to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances? This warrants a high degree of credibility from you as the leader and one who inspires confidence. What inspires absolute confidence? I would like to suggest, borne out of my own experience that you give careful consideration to the following critical questions:
When team members “look over your shoulders” at what you say, write or do, is there gratifying evidence of forethought? Are you ahead of the idea curve? Have you been to the “mountain” to inspire confidence about your ability to take a calculated risk? Do you anticipate hurdles and obstacles before it hits you or the organization you are leading? Do you cause things to happen? Do you inspire the team that you have at a personal level, what it would take to deliver? Are you a “can make it happen” functionary? Do you bounce back to display a comeback after a setback? Resilience is going to be one of your critic’s strongest barometers.
Let me hasten to say that credibility in your leadership capability is not accomplished through a singular event but develops over a period of time. It is aspirational but is approached with a high degree of intentionality. My car came out with a Motorplan which guarantees free repairs and maintenance expenses whilst the car is under warranty. However, this offer is only valid if I stick to the prescribed service schedule and comply with the prescripts of the Motorplan. Failing to do so, will cause the warranty to be rendered invalid. Likewise with credibility; it needs to be diligently maintained otherwise we can so easily lose it. We need to develop a strong sense of self-awareness whereby I become honest with myself to keep my credibility intact.
STAYING IN GOOD SHAPE
We are all leaders in own name and right, placed on this earth for a specific assignment. In order to finish strong in our assignment and complete our course with dignity without regrets, requires from us to remain in good shape. How do we do that?
S – spirituality
H – heart
A – attitude
P – priorities
E – empowerment
We are created in the image of God. It therefore stands to reason that since God is Spirit, the deepest longings and desires of our hearts can only be completely satisfied if we are connected to our Creator. We can keep ourselves spiritually in good shape through:
- Regular meditation on God’s Word.
- Spending every available opportunity communicating to God in prayer
- Fellowship with other believers – iron sharpens iron.
- Becoming an embodiment of servanthood.
The wise King Solomon advises us in Proverbs 4:23 “ Above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life.” Our heart is the center of our intention, attention and affection. This brings into sharp focus the important aspect of motives; doing the right things for the right reasons. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason, exposes a self-centered heart.
Maintain an attitude of gratitude. When you wake up in the morning, make it a habit of reflecting on at least three things that you can be thankful about; it will surprise you how it just puts you in a different mindset for the day. Your current life experiences are stepping stones to something much bigger and greater than yourself.
The urgent is not necessarily the important. A lot of unnecessary time and energy is spent on being reactive instead of being proactive. Consciously determine for yourself, on a daily basis, what your key outputs should be and guard it jealously. Someone once said – set the big rocks first and the others will fit in themselves.
The greatest satisfaction a leader can have, is to consciously invest his / her life to expand the capacity of others. There is no greater joy to see them excel and inculcate that which you imparted to them into their lives. What a sense of fulfillment to know that you accompanied them on their journey to self – discovery.
John Maxwell puts it so aptly “ Decisions help us to start, discipline helps us to finish. “ We need to relentlessly persist with our fitness routine in order to remain in good shape on our journey of life.
Let’s go for it!