What's your soul food?

Being healthy in mind and body is critical for effective leadership performance.
Alpine Dawn

Leaders can’t radiate inspirational energy if they are exhausted themselves. Almost every leader that I know has, at some stage, pushed themselves beyond the limits. Sometimes we just have to. But recovery is vital and it’s important to know when to turn one’s attention to recovery and to have learnt what works.

I am very fortunate to know the extremely talented Simon Ekin (http://www.simonekin.com/).

We were at school together, although he was senior to me, he is a talented sportsman and was well known by most of us for his phenomenal fitness on the sports fields. We haven’t seen each other since those days but are connected through the brilliant convenience of social media. Amongst the many coaching services that Simon has delivered successfully for years, he helps men (and women) get their mojo back.

He created and published his Mojo-Meter™ which caught my eye towards the end of a very intense last year.

I was thinking a lot about how important self-knowledge is to leaders at the time so couldn’t resist having a crack at it. I was also away from home and had been consumed by work for months. One of my many weaknesses is neglecting my own health when I am furiously busy. I tend to let the daily fitness regime slip, and while I was away, I didn’t even have the faithful hound to guilt me into our daily walk – the bare minimum!

The faithful hound

So, my health answers were very low-scoring. The other area that I scored low at that time was spirituality – it was a big fat 0. I was disconnected from my personal soul food.

Simon and I caught up on a call just before Christmas and it was fascinating sharing our experiences since those less serious days at school many moons ago. He pointed out that the web chart that expresses my Mojo-Meter™ rating looked like a Pac-man, and it did. The low-scoring sections were health and spirituality.

Mojo-Meter Rating

The first couple of weeks of the year were severely disrupted by the dreaded lurgi Covid.

However, having recovered, I had the opportunity to address both Mojo-Mater™ deficiencies during a single very early morning start with my youngest daughter. She happens to be an elite athlete and member England Alpine ski squad. She was at home between racing and training and was keen to do an early ski-touring ascent of one of our local peaks (we live in the Alps) for a spot of scenic breakfast, watching the sun coming up.

The hound is a great fan of this type of outing too!

Having checked the weather and moon state we decided that Wednesday morning was perfect. We prepared our kit on Tuesday evening and blearily forced ourselves up at 04:00 hrs the next morning. We hit the bottom of the climb at just after 05:00 hrs. Although my lungs and legs protested for the first steep section, the mountains were magical under the full moon, and we settled into a comfortable rhythm for the climb. The hound took issue with one or two shadows, and we had allowed 2 hours for the climb. In cold, but perfect conditions we reached our summit more quickly than planned so had plenty of time to change into our dry, warm clothing before a modest breakfast of pain-au-chocolate and hot drinks while we found a bit of shelter from the wind to watch the sun come up.

Waiting for the sun

As we did so I thought of Simon’s Mojo-Meter™ and my Pac-Man; I am pretty sure that it would have born a closer resemblance to the full moon that had illuminated our climb that morning.

Full moon after dawn

It was hard to tear ourselves away as the sun illuminated the surrounding peaks but I had a meeting which I was hosting and really keen to attend and so, having transitioned from climbing to skiing, we skied back to the car on empty slopes; bliss.

I made it back just in time for the meeting. It was great to have been able to feed my soul and body prior to brainstorming leadership ideas with two colleagues; a perfect start to the day, invigorated, with much appreciation to my daughter for the insistence and the shared experience. It’s not the most challenging excursion, but it does get the blood pumping and the vista is constantly dynamic as light changes.

Are you a leader who understands what it means to recharge and what works best for you? How do you do it - what’s your soul food?

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