Well, well, well – now that’s a deep subject. How to stay ‘well’ during intensely busy times is even deeper.

In our leadership practices with busy professionals from all disciplines, we often notice that one of the first things that seems to go away is meaningful self-care. As Stephen Covey points out in his excellent book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the 7th Habit is “Sharpening the Saw.”

The analogy is simple. You expend energy to get results. The tools you utilize are finite. They are not inexhaustible.

You cut wood. Your primary tool, the saw, starts to break down at the point of contact. Even 100,000-mile spark plugs need to be changed after 100,000 miles to retain their “spark.” Nevertheless, the primary tool we utilize to achieve results, people, seems to be thought of in this way…inexhaustible.

It can be very harmful for organizations to miss this point. It seems obvious, yet engagement and turnover statistics often show it isn’t. It’s like driving a car in one gear all the time. Eventually the gear, at the point of contact, grinds down causing the transmission to slip. Many in management say “keep your foot on the gas and gun that engine” attempting to ignore the obvious. That is that their “cultural gears” are slipping and their people are expending energy but aren’t getting enough traction to achieve results. How about you?

Take this simple wellness self-assessment. Honestly rate yourself on a scale of 1-5, on these dimensions of life:

Key: 1=Not Concerned, 2=Somewhat Concerned, 3=Concerned, 4=Constantly Concerned, 5=Freaking Out

a)      Physical –  Regarding my physical well-being I am (record number)

b)      Mental – My mental capabilities may not always be available at their best level (record number)

c)       Emotional – I feel emotionally drained or unavailable to others most of the time (record number)

d)      Spiritual – My inner being feels disconnected from the rest of my world (record number)

If you scored 12-15, its time to get real about meaningful self-care. Stop and change your spark plugs. If you scored 16-20, its time to reverse course or prepare for a transmission overhaul in the emergency room.

Those who believe this is hogwash are like people driving a car without a spare tire, or those unfortunate soles who keep driving on that weird little spare tire. They are announcing to the world, “See I am 100% certain I will not get stuck.” That is until life happens and the tow truck loaded with EMTs needs to come and rescue them.

If there is any one thing that can have the greatest, most immediate positive impact, it is creating time to get physical (whatever that means to you.) It almost doesn’t matter what the physical activity is so long as you reverse the course and do it now. You can do the ‘physical therapy’ now or later and if you do it later, it could be ugly.

The Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual benefits are too numerous to mention here. But needless to say, people who are healthy in these areas are happier, more resilient, more engaged and more productive employees.

Well now…. isn’t that something?