Are you physically fit to lead?

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Being a leader is hard, demanding work. Not only can it be mentally tasking or emotionally draining from time to time, but often leaders neglect the impact of their work on their physical health. Leaders need to have the energy, each day, to be:

  • Emotionally intelligent
  • An attentive listener
  • Calm under pressure
  • Even-keeled when challenged
  • Focused on the big picture, while the day-to-day fires make their way to your desk
  • On top of your, and your people’s, priorities
  • Wise in decision making
  • Accepting of valid critiques of your leadership
  • Balanced with work, family, and personal needs

This is a short list of the daily burden of leadership. If you fall short any given day, you may feel defeated or receive critical feedback from others. We often ask leaders, “What keeps you up at night?” to better understand their challenges and concerns and perhaps the follow-up question should be:

Are you physically and mentally prepared to lead every single day?

Leadership Fitness

In addition to serving as a Leadership Consultant at ADVISA, I have the honor of leading a team of professional fitness coaches at The Arsenal in Muncie, Indiana. In this role, I see them guide individual leaders as they transform an aspect of their life they thought only had a passing connection to their career success.

leadership fitness

Sr. Leadership Consultant BJ McKay at The Arsenal in Muncie.

What these leaders have discovered is it takes an intelligent program and a team of coaches to maximize their energy, strength, confidence, and durability as it relates to their overall health. Not too dissimilar from how ADVISA partners with organizations to build effective teams, leaders and cultures with our team of experienced consultants, facilitators and coaches.

Let’s get serious

Back to business, how many emotional intelligence sessions have we paid for? How many management programs have we graduated from?  Yet, how seriously do we take investment in being physically fit to lead? It tends to get put on the shelf under the labels: Too busy, not now, the kids have practice, the commute is long, the project deadline is coming up, board meeting tomorrow, or next month I promise.

A healthier path forward

If you find yourself running into this type of non-starter self-talk, we should talk. There is a way forward that considers your life’s realities. Or, if you’re not quite ready to have a conversation, check out my recent conversation on the ActiveLife podcast below.

I was fortunate to be invited onto the ActiveLife podcast hosted by Dr. Sean Pastuch. Dr. Sean founded ActiveLife to humanize healthcare by professionalizing fitness to empower the individual. I took a trip out to Long Beach, New York to sit with him and talk about fitness, leadership, and the balance of my two careers in consulting and professional gym ownership. The podcast is primarily aimed at gym owners and coaches; however, I feel there are real nuggets in our exchanges that would resonate with any leader. And, Dr. Sean was kind enough to produce a “reaction” podcast that followed our conversation. Please give them a listen.

BJ’s episode: Hear BJ’s conversations with Dr. Sean.

Reaction episode: Listen to the follow up episode to BJ’s conversation with Dr. Sean.


Want to hear more from Senior Leadership Consultant BJ McKay? Check out his series of Leadership Talks on topics ranging from sales improvement to assessments and hiring data.

And, to dig deeper into coaching, read “Better Conversations, Better Outcomes” by Leadership Consultant Patrick Howe.