Physiological Leadership

by Mark Fisher

First off, a quick note to say that I’m SO excited to return to my old stomping grounds and speak at the Perform Better Summit in Orlando, FL on June 3rd-5th. Even before I was a speaker on the tour, this was always one of my can’t-miss educational events every single year.

Since yours truly is going to be a dad this summer, this is my only stop this year. So while I recommend ANY of the summits, I’d love to spend quality time with you in Orlando in June. Tickets and details HERE.

Now, long time readers know your friendly author loves to nudge you about your personal fitness.

As a training gym owner, you know it’s all too easy for the demands of our job to overtake our physical self-care.

Let me remind you: physical fitness is necessary for effective time management and productivity. After all, you are not a robot. You — and your brain — are a biological organism. And you will respond to your physiological inputs.

But aside from your ability to manage your day, maintain energy levels, and create high impact work with a high-functioning brain…

Your physical fitness is also a rate limiting factor in your leadership.

You may have the best intentions in the world to be a servant leader for your team. You may even have a compelling vision for how you hope to impact your team; influencing them to elite performance as they tenaciously pursue their goals, all the while cheered on by your support and coaching.

But this can only happen if you’re managing your own fitness.

You must respect physiological leadership.

Look, I know it’s easy to get distracted by a frillion other things. But cliche though it may be, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

If your energy level is up and down, it will be hard to manage your confidence, your mindset, and your emotional state. And as a leader, your behavior is “loud.” At all times, your team is looking to you for two signals:

1) How are we (the business as a whole) doing? In other words, is the business safe?

2) How are we (you and I) doing? In other words, am I safe/ is our relationship ok?

Running a small business means daily challenges. So you have to create some energetic margin. You need the capacity to stay even-keeled when faced with adversity. 

Here’s another reason this matters…

You are modeling the behaviors your team will see as the standard. If you’re clearly holding yourself to a high standard of physical, mental, and emotional fitness, you’ll have more credibility when you ask them to do the same.

Because if your TEAM is not taking their fitness seriously, they too will not be able to practice physiological leadership: with each other, and with your clients.

You can do all the gratitude journaling you want, but if you’re not sleeping well, if you’re drinking too much booze and coffee, if you’re not making time for your own fitness, you simply won’t be able to perform at a high level. 

Admittedly, you can get away with some more bullshit when you’re younger. But your body will have less tolerance for any corner-cutting as you age.

Think about your current health and fitness behaviors…

How can you improve these behaviors this coming week?

Is it going to bed 30 minutes earlier?

Is it choosing a salad over a burger and fries when going out to eat?

Is it taking a quick nap rather than having that third cup of coffee in the afternoon?

Is it finally hiring a coach to get some accountability with your fitness?

Is it actually taking a day — or a week! — completely off from work?

Is it making that appointment for bloodwork that you’ve been putting off?

Listen, I’m the LAST human who will ever tell you that you should deprive yourself. Lord knows I love a good cocktail (or two!). And I’m not shy about eating whatever I want when it’s a special occasion or date night with my wife. And lest you forget, I go to Burning Man. (Ok, ok, you’ll never forget that, because I never stop telling you.)

But if you know you have room for improvement in your fitness?

Perhaps you can find some motivation in your desire to be the best leader possible for your team.

Business — and leadership  — is an inside game. Give your body and brain the support required to achieve your personal potential.

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