My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked, down I will get back up, every time. -- Navy SEAL Creed
As a Navy SEAL, I learned that physical and mental strength were essential for survival. During training, our instructors knocked us down every day, all day. To survive, we learned not only how to get back up, but how to get back up and fight harder. The only way we could do this was to be in top physical condition. If our bodies broke down, our minds and our determination to succeed were not far behind. Many good Navy men did not make it through SEAL training because they weren’t quite physically hard or mentally strong enough.
In a fast-paced entrepreneurial organization, leaders need to be healthy, confident, and driven in order to move the company forward. Better fitness leads to better leadership. Similarly, a healthy workforce will be more likely to help fulfill the organization's mission, vision, and goals.
Here are seven reasons a focus on fitness leads to success:
- More Energy: Being in better physical condition will give you and your team more energy. Encourage your staff to work out during their lunch break or go for a walk during the day. You might lose a few minutes of their time, but the result will be more energetic harder-working employees.
- Less Stress: Good fitness reduces stress by increasing the production of endorphins and improving your mood. Less stress will lead to happiness, focus, and productivity. Educate your team on the positive benefits that physical activity has on mental wellness and stress management.
- More Confidence: People who make fitness a part of their lives generally have more self-confidence. A greater level of confidence will lead them to achieve great things within the organization.
- Less Illness: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will improve your immune system and decrease the likeliness of illness. That translates to more productivity and lower health care costs.
- Goal Orientation: When people make fitness a part of their routine, it usually means they have a pattern of setting and achieving goals. Encourage your team members to include physical and mental health in their goals.
- Better Leadership: Fit people make better leaders, for all of the reasons listed above. We need to develop leaders within our organizations. By encouraging wellness, we are more likely to develop hard chargers ready to step into demanding roles.
- Team Atmosphere: A culture of wellness and fitness will encourage teamwork and a solid work/life balance. At my company, we participate in club sports, we have recess every Thursday, we occasionally have “Biggest Loser” competitions, and I run a boot camp once a week.
If you want a top performing team, you need to lead by example. Get out from behind your desk and start moving.