The constant pressure to perform and stress of solving difficult problems is part of a leader's role. It can be easy to let these factors weigh on your personal health, but it's crucial to be on top of your game and productive at all times. Poor nutrition and poor sleep habits are ineffective coping strategies. Take time to slow down and you'll find that this peaceful state of mind contributes to more effective leadership. To think or reflect, especially in a calm and deliberate manner is the kind of meditation that Buddha, Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi engaged in to train, calm and empty the mind. Recent brain research shows that M-E-D-S – meditation, exercise, diet and sleep – can actually improve performance. "MEDS" aren't just actions you perform occasionally, but part of your daily life.
As the empowering life coach, author, trainer and inspirational speaker Matthew Ferry explains: “It’s hard to be happy when you’re not healthy. When you are feeling physically down, it’s difficult to experience happiness. It takes a tremendous amount of work. And so, what I recommend for people to be happy is to take their MEDS. MEDS is an acronym for meditation, exercise, diet, and sleep.”
Here's what we mean by MEDS for great leaders:
One of the main benefits of meditation is that it helps shape who we are and how we interact with others. The biggest misconception about meditation is that our thoughts or ideas just appear in our heads. On the contrary, we choose what we think. It’s simple, if we think something will go wrong or that we will be ineffective, then to each one of us that is true. Now if we think the opposite and think we can be successful, intellectual and powerful, then to each one of us again, this is true. The idea here is that we are what we think about and we become what we think about every day.
Another strategy for maintaining effective leadership is to exercise regularly. Studies have proven that those who exercise on a daily basis rated significantly higher on overall leadership effectiveness than those who do not exercise. An excellent example of an effective leader who is dedicated to working out every day is Intero’s Chairman Bob Moles. He has worked out every day for over 22 years, 8054 days in a row! Bob’s dedication helps him to lead by example and be more effective at what he does. Routine is extremely important in this regard. In my own life, I work out as well as meditate first thing in the morning. By doing this I tend to keep appointments throughout the day every day. If I were to hold off and work out after work I would not be disciplined in sticking to a routine.
We need to have control over ourselves before we can lead and motivate others. When it comes to diet, the key is finding what works for you. Proper diet and nutrition can significantly enhance energy, which helps you be a better leader. Intero's COO Tom Tognoli is a great example of someone who controls his diet and maintains these habits each day, making him a distinguishable role model. This kind of self-discipline serves as incredible inspiration to others.
More sleep tends to contribute to better success in life. It results in fewer mistakes and higher productivity throughout the day. Studies show that those who sleep seven to nine hours per night accomplish more than those who sleep less. If you lack sleep, you are sluggish, easily discouraged and pessimistic. Other people sense this. On the other hand, a good night's sleep will give you energy and an upbeat and optimistic outlook. This will affect your team positively.
Make it a daily thing
Great leaders know that MEDS is key and needs to be followed every day. Those who follow this habit tend to have lasting impact, pushing their teams to success time after time.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Meditation, exercise, diet and sleep will make you mindful of your daily performance and you will no doubt become a more effective and superior leader in your business.
Special thanks to Matthew Ferry for the tip on MEDS! Taking our MEDS is most definitely a major ingredient for creating success.