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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Leaders Need Health Enough To Make Leading A Pleasure

How you feel effects how you lead. Your health determines how you feel.

We have multiple feelings, some are emotional and some are physical. Today, I want to deal with how you physically feel and how it affects your leadership.

There’s an old saying, “Your wealth is in your health”. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, philosopher and poet, highly respected in the 18th and 19th centuries for his literary genius. One of his philosophies was his 9 principles for contented living.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 9 Principles for Contented Living

  1. Health enough to make work a pleasure

  2. Wealth enough to support your needs

  3. Strength to battle difficulties and overcome them

  4. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them

  5. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished

  6. Love enough to see some good in your neighbor

  7. Charity enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others

  8. Faith enough to make real the things of God

  9. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future

According to von Goethe, this list begins with good health. Leadership brings with it unique stresses and pressures. If these things are not properly processed and handled in our emotional realm, they can often times lead to problems in our physical lives. We need to have development in all these areas if we are to continue to be healthy enough to pursue all of our dreams, visions and goals. This has certainly been a focus of a few of my goals this year.

Typically, especially in America today, when you begin a conversation about being physically healthy, some forms of guilt and condemnation begin to creep in. The American culture has continued to be one of fast food and fast living. We are the busy-bee builders of the modern world. This has led to us being more physically deficient in our healthy lifestyles. Having feelings of guilt, condemnation or defeat will only cause procrastination, rather than taking steps of correction. That is why being healthy in our emotional feelings in key to becoming physically healthy. I certainly do not mean this in a superficial way; however, we must make sure that the outside of us truly reflects the healthy inside of us.

Our bodies are a fantastic gift, they grow and develop and perhaps, most importantly, they are the vehicle in which we navigate this life, so we must do a better job of maintaining and servicing them. As van Goethe pointed out, and as we may borrow from him, our physical health has much to do with our happiness as leaders. As we are influencing others, we certainly need to be as stable, healthy and happy as possible.

Some health points to consider

Water- Our bodies are made up of, to a large degree, of water. We need to make sure we are replenishing that source of our lives as much as possible. There are so many liquid options available; we sometimes forget how much we really need water. Proper hydration of our bodies does so much to keep us in healthy circulation, regulate our body temperature and keep us disease free.

Food- If you think of your body as a high performing vehicle, what kind of fuel would you put into it? That is how food is to us. Many times, we just go for what is convenient or what tastes good in the moment. What would happen if we started to eat what our body actually needs, rather than our momentary cravings?

Habits- We get into habits so easily. We stop at a certain place for lunch or we develop a taste for something. Perhaps, something that is easy to prepare just creeps into our routine. If we play detective, and examine our routines and habits, sometimes we can uncover root causes to our issues. When you identify it, you can begin to modify or control it.

One of the best things we can do is take the time to develop a plan for healthy living. As leaders, we are responsible to model positive behavior for others. We will always fail long term if we think short term. Healthy living in many cases requires a long-term thought process with accompanying decisions and actions which become habits. We will fail if we approach a solution to a situation which has developed long-term with short-term thinking and short-term actions. Just as we invest time and resources in other areas of our lives, we must not fail to invest in our health also.

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