Our society can often feel like one big competition. For decades now, I’ve noticed the disconnect between achievement and status, and concern and care for our health.
Every corner we turn, we see systems that simply were not designed for the reality that we are human. We are living creatures whose bodies and minds run according to the rules of biology and physics and chemistry. We can’t trick our body into skipping meals, losing sleep, or pushing aside worrying thoughts to “get more done.” And if we try, we can hurt ourselves—ironically, by trying to achieve more and more to protect ourselves from our fears.
Money, accolades, prestige, power, happiness: it feels like we are always chasing the next big thing. It’s not just the pressure to pull all-nighters, brag about how many hours we work, or otherwise act as though we are somehow tougher than everyone else and therefore deserve more of whatever life is there to offer us.
When life becomes a list of accomplishments and nothing more, we lose our foundation.
We lose our humanity.
I understand how frustrating it can be to work inside systems that prioritize profits before people. I believe that by creating structured, focused systems that help us to take deliberate care of ourselves and our colleagues and families, we can give so much more to the world to help shift our culture towards one in which the health of all people is prioritized over profits – a posture that, ironically, can lead to even greater success in all aspects of our lives.
We are human. And when we design systems that allow humans to thrive, we discover how much we can truly achieve. The irony is that the more we honor our health and build systems that place health at the center of our decision-making process, the more successful we can become.
When we choose health as the driving force behind our decisions, our minds and bodies, our teams and organizations, our social groups and neighborhoods, our communities and our world, begin to move in the same direction.
In other words, you don’t have to check your heart at the door, because your heart is part and parcel of the work. The underlying principles of Health Centered Leadership guide all of the work that we do.
WE CAN BE HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL AT THE SAME TIME.
WE HAVE INNATE WISDOM ABOUT WHAT IS BEST FOR US: AT WORK, AT HOME, AND IN THE WORLD.
OUR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON PLACING HEALTH AT THE CENTER OF OUR DECISIONS.
EACH ONE OF US DEFINES SUCCESS IN OUR OWN WAY.
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS PROMOTE SUCCESS WHILE PROTECTING OUR HUMANITY.
Health Centered Leadership creator M. Nicole Nazzaro is an expert on health in the workplace. Nicole is the creator of the Health Centered Leadership and Wellness Playbook training programs, and an inspiring and acclaimed keynote speaker and corporate trainer.
She is a certified health and wellness coach with graduate degrees from the University of California-Berkeley, a graduate coaching certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and an undergraduate degree with honors from Harvard College.
She is also a widely published writer specializing in health, science, and sport. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Runner’s World, Sky & Telescope, and many other publications. Nicole previously co-authored the outdoor fitness guide Fit by Nature (The Mountaineers Books). She lives in the Seattle, WA area with her husband and son.
[Cover of Pacific NW Magazine. Photo Credit: Ben Benschneider]
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