We're at the calendrical starting line once again. All revved up to speed off to whatever glory we've planned for the year (I can tell you I have a lot planned). But all those plans will come to nothing, if one critical thing is ignored: your health.
I've come to view well-being as the key to being a great leader. Better health brings more energy, of course, but that ripples out to greater creativity, tighter focus, and faster reactions during crunch time. When I feel great, I am more confident in my decisions, and as leaders we should model the right things -- our actions set the tone for the rest of the company. When my team is healthy and feeling good they are unstoppable.
I am sure you agree - at least in theory -- with all of this, but the problem remains that most leaders do nothing to chase down better health for themselves and their employees. We chase down revenue instead. But the point is, better health is better for business.
So how to get healthy in the coming year? I tapped the brain of Jason MindBodyGreen.Wachob, 42, founder and CEO of lifestyle media company
Wachob and I both became entrepreneurs in the wellness space after we experienced wake-up calls around our own health. For Wachob, it started with jettisoning a Wall Street career in a post 9/11 New York (he worked a few blocks from the World Trade Center) in search of something more meaningful.
That led to the startup world, and a stint in the organic food business. A debilitating back pain had him headed for surgery. Instead, yoga and a change in lifestyle turned it around and opened Wachob's mind to the power and possibility of focusing on health.
He founded MindBodyGreen in 2009 with the mission of inspiring as many people as possible to lead healthy lifestyles. MBG is doing just that, with more than 10 million visitors a month to its site, and a calendar of publishing, classes, commerce, and live events that are putting the company on an eight-figure revenue run rate for 2017.
My own career running Plum Organics had me focused on healthy food for children, but along the way I forgot about myself. Headed toward diabetes and an eventual heart attack, I came back to my own health, and in the process was inspired -- like Wachob -- to start a company that reflected my own pursuit of wellness. That company is Habit.
Health for Wachob encompasses not just the physical, but mental, spiritual, emotional, and environmental. Here are five trends Jason recommends to tap into in the coming year that touch on each.
In years past when someone said they were sober, it usually meant they were a recovering alcoholic. No longer. "We see a shift where influencers in the wellness world are creating dry events," DAYBREAKER, and mindfulness/music/meditation event The Shine (the brainchild of meditation leader Light Watkins) eschew alcohol for better and deeper connections without the booze. Leading restaurants are also making it easier to enjoy fantastic beverages without the hard stuff by expanding their selection of non-alcoholic beverages. If there is a through-line to the new sobriety movement, it is achieving more - in relationships and health - by cutting out the drink.Wachob says. Gatherings like pre-work dance party
... and mezcal
Yes, we just talked about sobriety. But with every action there is an opposite reaction. That reaction is mezcal. If you are going to indulge, Wachob sees mezcal, tequila's artisanal sibling, as the drink of choice among the wellness set. "It's a little easier on your stomach, and has been traditionally viewed as having healing properties," Wachob says. He points to emerging brand Gem & Bolt, which infuses its small batch mezcal with damiana, a Mexican herb known for its healing properties. "It has this healing vibe to it," Wachob says. "There is absolutely both a little bit of art and science with mezcal."
2. Ketogenic diet
This high fat, low sugar diet has been kicking around for decades, but it is gathering momentum in the wellness halls of the internet and is being championed by integrative medicine doctors like Mark Hyman and David Perlmutter (not to mention LeBron James). "We're hearing about it a lot on the street, if you will, with regular people having success following a Ketogenic diet - specifically with cancer, which is really interesting," Wachob says.
3. Communal gathering spots, especially women-only
Health also means emotional well-being, community, and empowerment. Enter women-only clubs and hotspots. Those gatherings are happening at places like New York City's The Wing, a women-only club that counts director/writer/actor Lena Dunham and Soul Cycle's founders as investors. Think of these clubs as physical manifestations of the conversations that happen online among women, but not often enough. "We've learned that women don't talk to each other as much as we think," Wachob says. "Having that outlet is super powerful."
4. Multisensory wellness
Take your favorite yoga or meditation class and add layers of sound, scent, visuals, even a tasty elixir at the end. That's the notion behind a wave of multi-sensory studios cropping up in the nation's health trend capitals New York and Los Angeles. It's Burning Man without all the playa dust. In New York WOOM, uses yoga as the stepping off point for the sensory experience while another NYC studio, Inscape, puts meditation at the center. "We're going to see this approach expand nationally," Wachob says. "They are just these amazing, immersive experiences that force you to get more in tune with yourself." Finding your center of gravity can only help you be a better CEO.
5. Nutrition gets personal
Wachob is a big believer in taking responsibility for our own health and well-being and shining a light on behaviors and tools that help get us there. Personalized nutrition - the idea that there's a specific diet for each of us that will help us reach our health and wellness goals - is foremost among those tools Wachob says. (I certainly don't disagree; it's the foundation of my new company Habit). "Having technology that validates what I think we know intuitively - that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition -- is incredibly exciting," Wachob says. "Otherwise it is just a guessing game. I think the implications of personalized nutrition across consumer products and healthcare, you name it, will be felt for decades."