During a recent interview on Fox News, I mentioned that stress is the buzz word of the twenty-first century. No matter how high we go in our careers, juggling it all becomes another task in maintaining our leading edge. Stress can be a great source of stamina, providing corporate executives and entrepreneurs the fuel to strive for even higher goals in spite of increased competition, progressively limited resources and the same manpower.
Many companies, executives and entrepreneurs have hired coaches, (many of whom left their own corporate jobs because of burnout) to help increase performance at work. While efficiency may be helpful to maximize our ability to produce, coaches may not be as helpful when the person is already pumping her energy with plenty of coffee during the day and having trouble sleeping at night. Many of these successful executives seek a doctor when they are already experiencing heartburn, chest pain or panic attacks. People who are experiencing a series of medical issues triggered by stress may not benefit from coaching as much as people who are healthy and want to improve their performance at work. Everyone who is leading under pressure needs to prioritize health, implement treatment as necessary and improve lifestyle strategies.
I suggest we look at performance and productivity as a matrix in relationship to health, creating the following four quadrants:
Quadrant I: Low Health, Low Productivity and Performance
People in this quadrant struggle with health problems and are unable to perform and produce. This could relate to an acute condition or an unresolved chronic condition. They may not be able to perform at a high level even if they were committed to doing this because of the status of their health.
Solution I: Focus on resolving the health issues first. Next, catch up with the work demands at stake. If she doesn’t have the physical ability to perform at a high level, she should focus on strengthening her capabilities, then concentrate on improving her performance by setting up tangible goals to maximize productivity.
Quadrant II: Low Health, High Performance and Productivity
Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners are at this stage. Their physical stamina is starting to give in, they may pump many cups of coffee a day to perform at a high level and may be drinking alcohol or taking hypnotics at night to sleep. Burnout is high at this stage where, unless the person focuses on improving her health, her system will eventually give in.
Solution II: Maximize The Four Pillars of Biological Health – nutrition, exercise, sleep, and relaxation techniques. If you are the fearless leader, cultivate your body and mind as if you were an athlete: your track is your company, your hurdles are the roadblocks and your javelin throws are your attempts to reach the next level. Once you are able to prioritize your health needs – even if you are already working like three people instead of one - you will be able to become even more efficient and perform at a higher level.
Quadrant III: High Performance, Productivity and Health
Wouldn’t we all want to be here? In a healthy state and performing at the highest level. Imagine a marathoner being able to run sprints and come back to a baseline of constant movement. Successful entrepreneurs and executives with full, but manageable, schedules find themselves in this quadrant. This is a great quadrant to in which to be as we try to venture into new opportunities while mastering multiple responsibilities.
Solution III: Continue all the healthy habits and continue to set up new challenges so as to accomplish them one by one.
Quadrant IV: Low Performance, Productivity and High Health
This is the quadrant of healthy rookies. Someone may be very eager and ready to do the job but inexperienced. Finding a great match of interests and skills with the right job is of essence.
Solution IV: Continue to practice all the healthy habits and seriously consider seeking for coaching, mentoring or new learning opportunities.
Diagnosing the situation is essential to stay ahead of the game, maximizing physical stamina to maximize achievement at each and every level.
is president and founder of The Executive Health & Wealth Institute. She is author of Leading under Pressure® (www.LeadingUnderPressure.com) and Alpha Female (www.AlphaFemaleBook.com). Dr. Corá has been interviewed by CNN, FOX News, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Smart Money, MSN, Women’s Entrepreneur and American Medical News. A renaissance woman, she is a corporate consultant, wellness coach, medical doctor with an MBA, expert speaker, spouse and mother of two young adults. She consults and advises business owners and Fortune 500 companies and international organizations including The Coca-Cola Company, the pharmaceutical industry and New York Life. She has given presentations in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.