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You are not a “brain on a stick”

Are you bringing your “whole self” to work-body, mind, energy, and spirit?

In these high velocity times we often operate as if we are “brains on sticks.”  That is to say…

Are you bringing your “whole self” to work-body, mind, energy, and spirit?

In these high velocity times we often operate as if we are “brains on sticks.”  That is to say that we put on our work “costumes” Monday-Friday and go to the office diving right into our electronics, meetings, and any number of other work driven issues.  8, 10, even 12 hours go by often without taking a proper lunch, breaks, or participating in recovery rituals.  These rituals or “hacks” do not have to take much time but they are hugely important in being a fully vital and engaged human being-both at work and home.

Sadly, a high majority of corporate wellness programs have not proven to work for a majority of worker populations.  Make no mistake that these are not for lack of trying or resources.  Often the problem lies in a “one size fits all” package that works for less than 20% of the work force.  The reality is that using Simple Changes-bite sized hacks to help you be vital and resilient, and show up to work with your whole self are the key to successful Vitality. 

After working with over 45,000 knowledge workers and executives over the past 28 years we have found that several Simple Changes work to create a vital, resilient knowledge worker.

We break these rituals into 4 pillars:

  • Stress & Recovery Including Sleep
  • Mindfulness/Concentration
  • Intelligent Nutrition
  • Leveraged Movement

In our coaching practice we teach people to come up with very simple rituals around these pillars to truly become a whole person.  Some examples:

For every stressor, you must have recovery.  If you have a difficult meeting or client presentation, you need to recover after the meeting.  This should be as simple as taking a walk outside, having a cup of tea, practicing a breathing exercise to calm you down and bring you back to a more present state.

Mindfulness can be so difficult in these times of back to back meetings, always on electronics, and the constant flood of e-mails.  Practicing some short meditations before a meeting has the effect of placing you in the moment for upcoming meetings.  There are many apps that provide great practice for this pillar.

Intelligent Eating.  Often we rush through the day without remembering to eat or we grab something sugary to keep going.  Bring healthy snacks-like almonds and apples-to work and keep them at your desk.  Put snack times in your calendar so that you will remember to eat them when you have a busy day.  Hydrate!  We need between 64-90 ounces of water per day.  Keep a water bottle with you at all times-at your desk, in your carryon, and your car.  Out of site is out of mind.  Take a water bottle to meetings and have one at your desk.  Sip often throughout the day.

Leveraged Movement.  The great news is that most research confirms now that it is the intensity of any exercise you do that makes the difference, not the length of time.  Again, there are many very good apps that offer a 10-minute workout that can be done right before or after work, or even during a work break.  Don’t use the excuse that you don’t have time.  Find 10 minutes!

Most experts agree that it takes about 21 days to form a habit.  It is critical to calendar out your Vitality rituals and protect those rituals in the same way you protect an important meeting.

Remember that your clients and team members are watching.  Show up with your whole self to be the best employee or leader you can be.

A final note: start with no more than 2-3 Simple Changes around the 4 pillars and keep them very short and actionable to begin with.  Commit to these rituals for 21 days and you will find that you show up at work with resiliency, vitality, and the ability to be fully present in everything you do.

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