Taking Care of You is Taking Care of Business

This past weekend I attended an amazing two-day conference, Coaching in Leadership & Healthcare, which is hosted by McLean Hospital and the Harvard Medical School.  If ever I needed confirmation that our personal self-care is intimately connected to how we conduct our business, I received it there.

When 750 executive leadership coaches and health & wellness coaches sit side-by-side, learning from some of the most renowned leaders in positive psychology, brain research and healthcare, there is a reason.  If the top corporations in America, not to mention Europe and Asia, are paying thousands of dollars to bring executive coaches into the workplace to help managers become better leaders, and these coaches draw from the same body of research that I too use as a healthcare professional, there has to be an overlap in our need for this education.

The great take away is that only the most fit leaders in both mind and body, will have the stamina, perseverance, effectiveness and character to lead during these confusing and uncertain times we face.  We are living and working in a fast-paced age, where technology advances so rapidly that we can barely stay on top of it all.  The ways we connect, exchange information and do business are constantly changing, leaving many confused and exhausted in an attempt to keep up.  If we are not training our minds and our bodies to meet this demand, burn out is surely on our horizon.

Dr. Dan Siegel is currently the Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the Co-Director of the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center.  In his keynote session he explained what constitutes the Healthy Mind Platter; what we need to feed our minds each day for top functioning and efficiency.  He calls for a daily dose of the following:

  • Sleep Time: A minimum of 7-8 hours a night.
  • Physical Time: Daily exercise and movement.
  • Focus Time: Periods when we are closely paying attention to one task at a time.
  • Time In: Opportunities for inner reflection such as meditation, journaling, practicing religion or spirituality, and coaching conversations.
  • Down Time: Breaks when we are not involved in anything requiring an organized approach, such as daydreaming, reading, or attending to hobbies we love.
  • Play Time: Anything that feels fun and enjoyable, done for the pure joy of it.
  • Connecting Time: Last, but surely not least, the time when we connect to others individually and the universe as a whole.  Siegel coined it 3G, 2P: Gratitude, Generosity, Giving Back, People and the Planet.

So what does this have to do with you and your business?  Whether you are in business for yourself, or working for a company, if you are not taking care of yourself, you are not taking care of business.  Next time you put off self-care because you are too busy, or feel guilty taking time away from work, please remember, if the greatest minds from Harvard, Yale, Stanford and other elite universities are telling us to do so, they must know what they are talking about!

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