In the days before my health journey began, in the darkness of a mid-winter night, up the stairs of our multilevel home and through the closed door of our bedroom we lay in our king bed. The sound of Laurel’s breadth is magnified by the quiet of the room. The red light from the digital clock reads 2:11 AM, then changes to the date: 2/20/2003. I envy my wife’s peaceful silhouette as she sleeps.
The scene is upset by my thrashing. From side to side I turn like a puppet on strings without control of my own movement. The burning in my stomach is the puppeteer. No bed can comfort, no room the right temperature, no position satisfying, no amount of time or silence relaxing. A sound sleeper throughout my life, now sleep betrays me.
Across the room the nightlight in the bathroom points the way to a bottle of Tums in the 2nd drawer between the sinks. I think of myself as a healthy person so needing relief is distasteful. Finally, my denial gives way and I slide out from under the smooth, tan comforter and head toward the bathroom. The extra 50 pounds I’m carrying makes my feet heavy and my steps less then graceful.
I’m familiar with the routine. Tums, a small drink of water, a stop in the bathroom, a few quick stretches, and maybe some deep breathing at the bedroom window. Anything to get some sleep before the morning’s alarm.
Back in bed my mind wants to process more than sleep. It insists on recalling the full list of my problems. Recurring colds and sore throats, crabby mood, loss of passion, poor focus, borderline cholesterol and blood sugar numbers, afternoon sleepiness, neck pain, skin issues, food cravings, and even declining memory it seems. Does my face look swollen? Am I obese? I even have athlete’s foot and I seldom work out.
Like sleep, work isn’t a friend lately either. Energy isn’t a match for the effort needed and my To-Do list is harder to finish. I wonder about the future; how will I compare with others at review time? I know I’m at least a little burned-out and overwhelmed. I have the job knowledge and experience to shine, why am I so under-excited about new goals and possibilities?
Do I even want this job anymore? I need a fresh start of some kind. All I can do is look at the stack of health related books on the nightstand and wonder how I got to this place. Why can’t I get in action? I’ve lived a life full of sports, activity, and learning about health. Now at 43 I can hardly jog for 20 minutes. What about Laurel, the kids? What will life be like in 10 or 20 years? When I “play the movie forward” in my mind I don’t like the ending…
What’s at stake?
How did the story turn out for me? Within 6 months I lost that 50 pounds and the entire list of problems. I didn’t change jobs; I decided to do the one I had better. The following 5+ years were some of the most productive for me and my team, culminating in Microsoft’s highest companywide honor, the Circle of Excellence award.
How many people in your organization or executive team are in the same place I was almost 13 years ago? Will they be able to navigate through the lifestyle changes they need to make? What is the cost to the business if they can’t? What is the cost to teamwork and culture from disengaged teammates? Presently 17% of our GNP goes to healthcare costs and the average company spends almost 50% of profits on healthcare. Is your team modeling healthy life change for the rest of the workforce?
- Lead yourself first. Are you ready to model the values and lifestyle change you advocate? Are you ready to share your successes and struggles openly?
- Align and integrate wellness and culture intentions. You need to state purpose, guiding principles and priority actions with your team or leaders.
- Regardless of what you desire you need to share steps and have a simple operational plan. Is the business ready to support what you want to do long-term?
- Understand the process of measurement, administration, and improvement going forward.
We can discuss your situation, the questions to be asking, and the steps to take. Call me at 425-503-1967 or drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.