What you wear – including your shoes – is a way to affect how you feel about yourself, the day, the activity, etc. We all (mentally) categorize our closets into what outfits fit what occasions. We’re not showing up in sweatpants for a job interview or dressed up for a workout at the gym. However, in the right context, both outfits can make us feel good in our own skin. The right clothes and shoes that make you look good often also make you feel good and confident. When we feel good, we perform better. A scientific experiment showed that students taking a written math test in their normal clothing (a sweater) perform better than students taking that same test in a swimsuit. The swimsuit or sweater doesn’t have magical powers to make the students less or more intelligent. However, their mind or cognition does have that power.
We live in a society where we are supposed to be at our best all the time: at work, at home, with friends, in the gym, etc. We use ‘little tricks’ to push ourselves to be at our best: a cup of coffee to be more alert, a flattering outfit to feel more confident, a motivational quote on the wall… And while these can certainly help, they are in essence just a little boost. At the very core of it all is our (mental) well-being. Something many of us overlook, forget, or give low priority draining ourselves until the next vacation or break: “until we have time.” When carrying many responsibilities at work and/or at home, feeling out of balance doesn’t only affect ourselves, but the people around us. We are stressed, get more easily agitated, and become less effective at what we’re trying to accomplish.
As a leader, your well-being is often considered an afterthought. The results and the performance of the team take priority. Those latter two are also measurable, while your personal well-being is more subjective. Through personal experience and the mentoring of several young ambitious entrepreneurs, I have seen how your well-being as a leader can take a backseat to that next important deadline time and time again.
The importance of wellbeing in order to be a better leader is something many passionate founders, managers, and executives only learn after they have pushed themselves too far. And even those that have figured out their personal recipe to stay grounded and balanced still struggle from time to time to stay in that zone. Yet, to be at your best all the time, managing your own well-being is key.
On November 17, I am participating and facilitating a workshop during The Wellbeing Summit on this topic. Together with Jean-Christophe Tellier, CEO & Chairman of the Executive Committee at UCB, Magali Bodeux, Senior Manager Bain & Company, and Executive Coach Diane Thibaut de Maisières, I will dive into questions like: How to be at your best most of the time? How do you keep tabs on your well-being as a leader? In good times, but more importantly in a crisis? What does being a conscious leader mean? Check out the full event here and join me at The Merode in Brussels!
Photo (c) Jeroen Geladé