The biggest strategic obstacle is still our own poor health.

Published by tim-isherwood on

When I started advising companies in the late 1990s I quickly came to realise that one of the biggest obstacles to a company’s success lay in the poor health of its workforce (by workforce I mean everybody working in the company) the problems were rarely down to economic conditions. Basically, if you are not fit you will struggle to succeed.

If economic conditions turn against you the chances of you reacting in the most appropriate manner, when unfit, is remote. But if you are fit and in good health, the chances of you being in the right place at the right time are greatly improved, your chances of survival are enhanced.

A couple of weeks ago I was preparing to present a health awareness seminar and in doing so I came to reading an article I had clipped from the press a while back.

The article I was reading was called “Living by the body clock” its subtitle was “Millions of us resolve this new year to lead a healthier life. But do we really understand how best to do so?”

You would be right in thinking that this is very topical and obviously written at the turn of the year. But which year?

This article was written in December 2007 – 12 years ago!

This led me to look at my library of articles (my clippings go back to 1998). What I found was that in every case the subject of our health is still being debated today and in every case we still seem to be resistant to doing anything about our own health and in many situations the problem appears to be getting worse.

The internet abounds with helpful advice, everyone is writing books and, from the number of column inches, our health would appear to be important to us. But is it, does our behaviour reflect the importance?

We, apparently, now all seem to want to talk about it – but what do we do about it? Just take one example: Sleep. Sleep is vital to our existence, research proves that we have to have an average of eight hours each night but since the 1950s the hours we spend asleep each night has reduced by 25%, going from an average of 8 to and an average of 6 hours.

If we don’t get enough sleep, maybe having to work late, we boast as if we are wearing some badge of honour. Why on earth do we celebrate those people who don’t sleep? Why do we wear our lack of sleep like a badge of honour?

When we go without sleep we are putting in jeopardy our lives, our families and our work. Is this really what we want? If we sleep our full eight hours our creativity rises, we perform better, our productivity improves – meaning we have to spend less time working!

I recently wrote a blog entitled: Why do we continue to accept this? I asked the question: why do we constantly accept self inflicted poor health in the workplace? you can read it here:

So why do we, why do we accept poor health? It seems that almost every week we all set out with good intentions to regain our health, but these good intentions seem to rapidly fade away and we return to the status quo. A status quo that involves aching joints, illness, lack of creativity, poor performance, aggression, unhappiness, depression.

You could say that “Life isn’t supposed to be like this.” No, it isn’t, but it is often our own very personal choices that make our lives what they are and what they become. Of course there are those of us, who through pure bad luck are suffering poor health, but that doesn’t give the rest of us an excuse to not bother. In fact it should mean we try harder because, more often than not, those with the bad luck of ill health try really hard to make the most of what they have. Shouldn’t the rest of us do the same?

We all have to make a fundamental change to the way in which we lead our lives and the way in which our companies are run. If we do this our performance at work will be greatly improved, we will get more done in less time our businesses and lives will become richer (in every sense) and our feelings of self worth will escalate.


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