A few years ago I had my first meeting with a coachee, a senior executive in a large and successful organisation. He asked me to shut the door then explained that he could barely function, was not sleeping, and each afternoon was getting purple dots in front of his eyes, and did not know what to do. When I asked him what was going on he explained that he was operating on four hours sleep a night, was skipping breakfast, and eating junk food for lunch and dinner. You can probably guess what the initial focus of the coaching was about.
A human being is a complex system, and each part of the system affects the other parts ofthe system. The brain is a muscle, albeit a very complex one. People generally have a pretty good understanding of how the muscles in their body work. If you go to the gym and you exercise a muscle continuously with no rest, you understand that it will get tired. Then it may cramp, and if you keep going it will get damaged.
What we are less conscious of is that it’s the same with the brain. Many executives spend too much of their time with their brain in ‘busy mode’. We need to pay attention to it, give it breaks, and allow it to have recovery periods, so it can continue to operate well.
Here are four dimensions for you as a ‘human being’ to consider:
1. IQ (Intelligence Quotient): Our intellect. Our ability to use logic, be creative.
2. EQ (Emotional Quotient): Our understanding of our emotions and how to work
3. PQ (Physical Quotient): Our physical health and fitness. Supported by diet,
4. SQ (Spiritual Quotient): Our spiritual well-being. Here we are talking about with them appropriately. And our ability to recognise the emotions of others and work with them appropriately. sleep, exercise. understanding what gives you meaning, and nurturing that. This will be different things for different people: it could be time with family / loved ones, time in nature, music, reading, religion, spiritual pursuits, meditation, exercise, other.
Take a moment now for yourself and consider, how are you doing in each of these dimensions? Are you happy with the way things are in each of these areas? Or do you need to make a change?
Then consider one or two things you can do in order to improve your state. Make it simple, and make sure it’s something that you can and will commit to. Share the commitment with someone to help with the chances of you sticking with it. Maybe write it down somewhere visible.
As an example, something I committed to last year was to do ‘at least 10 minutes of exerciseevery day’. I picked that because I knew that I could never find an excuse to not do 10 minutes, plus I also know that once I have started, I often find the time and the energy to do half an hour or more.
By the way, the coachee later told me that the coaching had been life changing. I had to confess, all I did was give him the time and space to think.
Look after yourself. Nobody else will.