Carla Buzasi led a panel at the recent Mindshare Huddle on November 7th discussing the 3rd Metric. The definition of success is changing and in many cases women are at the forefront of driving this change as they bring a balanced view on life into the boardroom. The session led me to think more about where the responsibility of a company ends and where the individual takes over.
Our goal is to achieve the holy grail of business success and happiness. I believe this requires companies to create the right environment and for employees to take responsibility for themselves. I often notice an increasingly level of expectation coming from employees who expect companies to make their lives better by doing things to them. A company cannot make you less stressed, healthier and happier they can only create an environment where people have the time, knowledge and equipment to do their jobs well. During the Huddle, Carla spoke about the badge of honour that is 'stress'. People talk about being stressed as if that is directly linked to their importance and success. Whilst I acknowledge that at times a little 'stress' or adrenaline is what makes us push a little harder and achieve a little more it is not a desirable state to exist in.
When we are 'stressed' our body ceases to function efficiently. Blood flow is directed away from digestion and repair and towards the muscles in our arms and legs. This is physiological reaction that our body is designed to do when we are under attack. Occasionally this is ok, but if we exist daily with even a low level of stress we are at risk of damaging our health. You will notice digestive issues such as heartburn, pains or cramps, skin conditions can worsen and our memory becomes less efficient. Over time the adrenal glands responsible for pumping out the adrenaline and cortisol that fuel 'stress' become tired and weak. The result of this is a general level of fatigue, depression and a number of health issues. In my other life outside of the world of media I am a Nutritional Therapist and the number of clients I have met who present with varying levels of adrenal fatigue is staggering and on the rise. The only way of changing this is for individuals to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and to value it as much as other forms of success in their lives.
So given I know all this why do I feel a little bit guilty when I pop out to yoga at lunchtime? On one level I know that I am better at my job when I take a break and look after my health but on another if I have time to take a break then am I working hard enough.. To anyone reading this it is obviously a ridiculous state of mind but it is one that so many people can relate to.
I think part of the debate comes down to short vs long term success. Making a choice today to do something to enhance your health verses saying yes to another project is a tough call but sometimes saying no will be the best decision you ever make.
It falls to leaders in organisations to normalise and encourage health and happiness enhancing behaviour. People should feel empowered to make positive choices that will make them more 'successful' in the long run. Most importantly own it and take responsibility as no one can do it to you. As a female leader in my company I want to try to make the 3rd metric a key measure of our success.