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“I’m going to have to get serious about taking better care of my own health and wellbeing next year.”

These were the words shared with me by the CEO of an Australian national company at the conclusion of the workshop I had just delivered.

The topic was sustainable high-performing leadership.

It’s a topic that has become increasingly relevant when so many leaders are struggling to stay at the top of their game with the energy, clear thinking and stamina needed to ensure they and their companies don’t merely survive, but flourish.

What’s true for you?
Is the way you’re currently operating sustainable for the longer term?

While it’s normal to feel extra fatigued at this time of year, as we wind up at work and prepare for what’s next, if your reality is that you’ve been unable to shake off that fatigue all year, how do you expect to be your best sparkly self in 2024?

 

Sustainability is a dynamic process.

“Thank you, Carruthers, for sharing your insights for creating sustainable workplace practices. We look forward to a highly sustainable year ahead.”

If only it were that simple.

This isn’t how sustainability works.

No amount of modelling or strategic planning will produce sustainable leadership.

This is about,

  1. Self-awareness. What do you, the unique individual you are, need to function at your best and how well do you honour those requirements?
  2. Self-assessment. If you don’t have a benchmark for your performance, how can you measure and review your success?
  3. Understanding that the key to sustainable high performance has nothing to do with endurance or time spent at work and everything to do with adequate time for rest and recovery.

 

Sustainability recognises what is enough.

High levels of stress are the most commonly cited daily workplace challenge.
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report 2023 reported that worldwide, 44% of employees said they experienced a lot of stress the previous day and that managers play a vital role in the amount of stress workers feel on the job. So what happens when the manager/supervisor/team leader/ boss is super stressed?

This type of stress grinds us down because you’re never free of it. There may be multiple contributors imposed by what is happening in your life both at work and outside work in addition to the stress we impose on ourselves of high expectations, perfectionism, being a people pleaser, and being unable to say no. Then there are those stresses in the form of concerns and worries that lie beyond your control that gnaw at your insides, creating more stress and frustration at your inability to resolve or influence these.

All this contributes to a loss of elasticity in our system.
We begin to flatline, and as a doctor, I know this is a dangerous place to find yourself.

Sustainability doesn’t seek to wipe out stress – that’s not possible nor desirable.
What it does provide you with is a buffer, keeping your stress in the tolerable zone that you can manage.

The bigger question remains.

Why have we lost sight of enough?

 What is driving us to continue to overwork, to overcommit and hold ourselves accountable to unrealistic deadlines?

What difference would it make to how you feel about work if you knew you were enough, you’ve done enough, and it’s OK to stop?

 

Sustainability is a Joint Venture.

There are none so blind as those who cannot see.

We all have our blind spots, so having a safe environment where you can speak up, voice your concerns, ask for help and feel listened to provides you with the security of knowing others care and will call you out if they’ve noticed things aren’t right.

Being human, we might believe we’re doing well, but we’re not always right and when things are going pear-shaped, the first thing that goes is our insight.

For example, driving while tired is a no-no because we understand the increased risk of causing an accident.

But how often if you realise you getting tired, instead of pulling over and taking a break, do you open the window wide to get more air, crank up the radio and think this will work to get you home safely?

Now you’ve got a cold ear, and you can’t hear yourself think, let alone notice you’ve lost sight of just how tired you are.

Sustainable high-performing leadership doesn’t depend on hierarchy because everyone is on board.

 

My question to you is, how does sustainable high-performance feature in your health and wellbeing itinerary?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

Thank you to everyone for your continuing support this year. The Brain Fit office will be closed from Dec 21st until Jan 8th. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and New Year. – Dr Jenny

If you’ve enjoyed following Dr Jenny’s articles this year, why not sign up for her newsletter to stay informed of her upcoming courses or join her online Thriving Minds Community Hub.

 

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life (Wiley) is now available for purchase.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Jenny is a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician, author, coach, and workplace health and wellbeing specialist. Her latest book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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