We all want to be successful as leaders. So we talk about resilience, productivity, optimal performance, doing more, being the best we can be. We focus on outcomes, goals, achievements - but what are the costs?
César Gamio believes that they are too high. In his recent webinar, the Vistage Speaker, life coach, and IE Business School professor discusses the mental and emotional burnout that can happen when you don’t prioritise your health and wellbeing. Apart from the damage to yourself, burnout will prevent you from achieving optimal performance.
“You’re reaching your targets, you’re giving your maximum effort, and this is showing up in your work”, César explains “but this needs to go hand in hand with you being physically energised, mentally sharp, and clear and emotionally resilient. Those are the two factors that need to be in place in order for you to achieve your ideal performance state.”
So how do you achieve the ideal performance state? We spoke to César to get a little taste of what you can expect…
You can watch César Gamio’s full webinar here.
“In today's world, a lot of businesses tend to glorify or idolise people that reach their targets or exceed their targets, with complete disregard for how this person actually achieved it.”
As César highlights, the glorification of achievement above all else often leads people to prioritise their work goals at the cost of their personal well being. Instead of looking at the process, we focus only on the outcomes. César explains why this is a dangerous, short-term approach:
“I think you've seen this with colleagues and friends. They’re physically drained, they're mentally stressed out, they're emotionally not in a good place. So, even though these people are professionally, on the surface doing quite well, they’re not at their ideal performance state because they’re running themselves into the ground, they're undermining their health in the process.”
According to a study from Harvard Business Review a couple of years ago, 96% of leaders around the world are burned out. Of course, burnout doesn’t mean people are rendered completely incapable. This makes it all the more insidious. César believes it’s the widespread nature, and acceptance of exhaustion and mental stress that’s allowed it to go unchallenged:
“Burning out doesn't necessarily mean that you're collapsing on the floor. It's just not being mentally and emotionally there, in order for you to do your work. Unfortunately, I speak to leaders (whether they like to admit it or not) who play the ‘I’m resilient, I’ll just ride this out, it comes with the job’ card. Those are the limiting beliefs, the irrational beliefs that leaders still tell themselves. The mentality is: ‘this is what I signed up for, no pain no gain’. And that is so untrue - it doesn’t make any sense.”
If César’s insights have whet your appetite, you can watch the full webinar here.
“Leaders need to realise that being healthy and achieving professional success are not mutually exclusive. They can actually have both. All it takes is a few tweaks in their lifestyle and a few tweaks in their work style.”
How to achieve the ideal performance state
The ‘tweaks’ that César talks about are based on an integrated theory of performance management which focuses on the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. His programme consists of six health and wellbeing pillars, designed to keep all four of these elements balanced in order to maintain optimal performance without the risk of burnout:
“Performance is the combination of achieving your professional goals, operating around your optimal performance level in a sustained manner, and enjoying healthy levels of physical, mental and emotional well being… The six pillars will help you as a human being create the ideal platform for you to achieve whatever professional success you want in your life.”
The six pillars:
- Daily movement
- Lifestyle/ managing stress
- Nurturing relationships
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César webinar goes into detail about each of these six pillars, the science behind them, and how you can work on each one. These pillars help you create the right foundation for long-term, sustained optimal performance. As César explains, they are interconnected, so it’s vital to focus on each one:
“The six pillars are completely interdependent. Whatever you do in one will have an effect on the others. Sleep, for instance. If you're sleep deprived, it’ll affect your movement. You’ll be so fatigued, you won't have enough energy to exercise in the first place. It’s well known that sleep deprived people often eat between 300-500 more calories a day. And usually the bad types of calories. Sleep regulates our hormones but when you’re sleep deprived, they go completely out of whack and that has an effect on everything else.”
The ethos at the heart of César Gamio’s programme is clear – sustained optimal performance can only be achieved if you prioritise your health and wellbeing.
“It’s like a Formula One driver saying that he can do the best lap in the circuit when the car isn’t working properly - it would be absurd. If you want to be operating at your best, the biological and psychological platform supporting that needs to be operating at its best.”
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Image: By Andrey Popov via Adobe Stock