In the last newsletter, I discussed how health that’s “just okay” is really not good enough. Not-quite-up-to-par health can cost you time, productivity, and money. How you treat yourself—including how much attention you give your physical and mental health—profoundly influences the results you get in your personal and professional life.
“The way you do one thing is how you do everything.” I hear this often in my coaching circles. When it comes to your health, this statement also applies big-time. The condition of your health will influence the condition of every other aspect of your life, including your bottom line. If you want to be successful in your career, “so-so” health won’t suffice in the long run.
Here are two more signs of less-than-stellar health that could turn out to be very expensive in your life at work.
1. You feel scattered and overwhelmed, or you can’t prioritize.
Have you ever felt that you couldn’t accomplish even the simplest tasks without making mistakes? Or couldn’t figure out what to do next because you had just too many options to consider? These could be signs of an underfed, overtired mind. Or they can also indicate that you’re simply expecting too much of a single individual—yourself. Even the most focused, intelligent person has some limits. The human brain can only work on so many problems and projects at once.
When you aren’t paying attention to what you’re eating or the quality of your sleep, or when the impossible is what’s expected of you, it’s easy to become confused, disorganized, and sloppy at your tasks. Mistakes, some of which may be costly, are the result.
Case study: Lisa came into my office feeling so frustrated and angry that she literally wanted to let out a scream. Overloaded with work and exhausted from late nights at the computer, she said she “threw my hands up in disgust” when she wasn’t able to make sense of the work that overflowed her desk. She had begun to fear being fired for her poor follow-through.
Lisa’s case was clearly one of impossible expectations. She had reached her limit, and as her stress level rose, the quality of her work began to suffer. The only sensible solution was to get some of the tasks off her overfilled plate. So when Lisa and I met, we made two plans: one for her to speak up about the situation to her superiors in a professional manner, and one for her to prioritize her duties. Although things are not yet perfect for her at work, Lisa’s new strategy will go a long way toward allowing her to delegate some of her responsibilities to others in the office—with the result that she can perform the duties she retains in a more productive way. (Whew.)
2. You overcommit and overserve everyone…except yourself.
This is a typical pattern in business but especially common among entrepreneurs. Besides skills and knowledge, those who work for themselves tend to provide “above and beyond” service—or even nurturing—to set themselves apart from their competitors. But as we all know, there are only so many hours in a day. Something has to give. When faced with a choice of doing for oneself or doing for a client, many business owners will choose the client every time. The intention may be good, but the approach most often backfires.
Case study: Nicole made sure her clients were all satisfied even though that rarely permitted her any time for a personal life. She continued to sacrifice her time and priorities, leaving her exhausted and ineffective by the end of the day. What Nicole didn’t realize at first was that she was allowing clients to take advantage of her by always being willing to help them out. What’s more, by giving all of her time to them, she was neglecting herself.
Nicole decided to set stricter work times and trained her clients to reach her during “business hours” only instead of at their own convenience. This change made a huge difference for Nicole. Though she now spends fewer hours working, her satisfaction and focus have increased—as well as her success. Plus, she now has time for her husband, and is able to reserve some all-important “me” time, uninterrupted by client concerns.
Why settle for feeling okay and just getting by? Instead, make this your goal: to feel like a million while you’re making a million. Not convinced health is the root of the problem? There are still more health-wealth signs to look for.