(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
It seems to make sense that if your employees are healthy, motivated and engaged, they are happy. I also believe that with a happy, healthy workforce, you experience increased productivity, higher staff retention and a healthier bottom line - a win/win situation.
Employers have recognized this for many years, offering their employees incentives, such as subsidized gym memberships, health checks, in-house weight loss programs, staff satisfaction surveys, cinema tickets - the list is huge. For some employees, it has the desired effect - at least, temporarily - but for most, it just doesn't have a positive, long-term impact. So are we missing the point? Instead of guessing at the problem and providing the answer we think is required, would a better approach be to actually identify the issue and tailor the solution?
I think so. In my mind, wellbeing is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach - it's a way of life. It's the integration of mind, body, spirit. Everything we do, think, feel, believe and eat has an impact on our state of health. It's more than just the food we eat - factors such as healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity and spiritual awareness are essential forms of nourishment. And it's personal - each and every individual is unique - so offering, for example, subsidised gym membership (which often is taken up but not used) - does not get to the heart of the matter, so any incentive only provides temporary relief. Wellbeing & Performance coaching provides a positive connection, a supportive relationship for the person(s) who want to make a positive, permanent change. It a journey of self-discovery; the client finds their own answers and makes their own choices. The coach encourages and supports them on their chosen path.
Our programs focus on 12 key areas. Working one-on-one or in groups, each individual decides the areas he/she wants to work on, and creates their own action steps that move them towards their goal. The process is less time-consuming than you would imagine; the results are more far-reaching than you could hope for.
For more information on how Wellbeing & Performance Coaching can improve the health and happiness of your employees (and yourself), please email me: email@example.com or call (02) 8006 9224.
BANG!! We all turned around in the gym to the direction from which the noise had come, and there was one of our group members, lying flat on his back, glasses having flown through the air and landed some distance away. No one is sure what happened - we were getting ready to do our end-of class stretches, chatting amongst ourselves, and all we know is he was talking one minute, and on the floor the next.
The staff were fantastic. Instantly, they appeared from all corners of the room. Monte, the owner, took control, grabbing the telephone on his way so it was ready to hand if he needed to call an ambulance. Monte knelt on the floor next to the guy, started talking to him, while checking vital signs, all the time reassuring him and telling him to lie still and not get up. He was asking him questions - such as “do you know what day it is?” and “roughly what time is it?” - to see if his condition was getting worse or improving.
Some of the members were suggesting an ambulance be called. When Monte didn’t respond (although he still had the phone in his hand), the members looked at Howard, who responded “he’s got it” - meaning, it’s under control, and if Monte feels he needs an ambulance, he’ll call for it.
Seeing that Monte was able to cope, Howard moved us to a different part of the gym, and took us through our stretches. As our class disbanded, the next class was coming in. There was no verbal exchange between Monte and Howard, they’ve just worked together long enough to have that level of trust between them, and to each do what was required.
With Howard in charge of the room, Monte asked Hayden, a student in his first hour of student placement, to assist by locating and photocopying the member’s file. This meant personal details and exercise history was available to the ambulance crew should they need it.
Next, Monte wanted the area coned off, and the first aid box and gloves brought to him. Having spent about 15 minutes with the guy, observing and communicating with him, Monte felt it appropriate to ring for an ambulance. The member wanted to sit up - Monte stayed calm, gently, reassuring him and still telling him to lie still. As he stayed on the phone to the emergency services control room, Monte asked a member of the class that had just finished if they could please wait on the street to meet and direct the ambulance crew.
When they arrived, the ambulance crew immediately went to work, checking vital signs, asking questions, getting as much detail as possible.
A gym incident report was filled out, and a list of all the members who had been in the class that day was attached to it, with their contact numbers for future reference if required.
Finally, before the ambulance crew took the member to hospital, Monte spoke to his doctor and wife to advise them what had happened.
What criteria do you have for choosing the gym you want to exercise in? Perhaps you want state-of-the-art equipment, or a personal trainer to work one-on-one with you? I wanted somewhere close to home with great equipment AND with qualified, friendly, professional staff who showed me that it was as important to them that I achieve my goals as it is to me. It never occurred to me that I might be taken ill at the gym ... but how reassuring to know that in the event I am, the staff will remain calm and work together to take care not just of me, but of everyone else in the room.
It's 7.25am - five minutes before my gym opens - and there's me plus four other members already lined up at the front door. One lady is banging on the door to gain entry, despite the rest of us telling her that the gym doors won't open until exactly 7.30am.
"I just want to get in there and get on with it", she said. "Wow", I thought. "She's keen!" I hadn't seen her at the gym before - obviously new - and clearly raring to go! As we filed inside and each got started on our workouts, as I could hear her telling another member "I've already read all my emails and written and posted a birthday card this morning. I have such a busy schedule!"
And suddenly, I understood. You see, I got the distinct impression that this lady was really enjoying her state of busy-ness. That it energized her. That hanging around outside the gym when she could be inside exercising was just a waste of her time. I was like that once - running from one thing to another, on a complete high - thoroughly enjoying the challenges along the way. The lady this morning was animated as she described her life - for her, being busy was Fun!!
For some, however, maintaining this fast pace is tiring, challenging and far from enjoyable. Even the language and tone of voice is different - the words are negative, the voice is slow, everything looks and sounds heavy.
If what you are doing does not satisfy your needs, if you are stuck in a job you don't like, for example, you will probably find yourself experiencing health issues, having trouble sleeping and stagnating. If left unchecked, it may lead to serious health issues, and ultimately, burnout.
Making a change can be simple, if you tap into your creative force. Bringing a playful attitude to your situation may help you get a more positive perspective on it. No matter what your situation, it is possible to transform the way you perceive it into something more enjoyable for you. It's possible to discover your real needs and fulfilling them, of discovering your real talents and using them, of discovering your many options and trying them out.
It really is possible to enjoy life - whether you want to be more energised, have less stress, more time for yourself - whatever it might be. And maybe you will be the one banging on the gym door minutes before it is due to open in anticipation of a fun workout!! I hop
I've always believed in "walking the talk" - that you shouldn't ask someone to do something you won't do yourself - and as an Executive Wellness and Life Coach, I'm promoting the importance of exercise ... but i have a confession to make - apart from long walks at the weekends, I've not been following my own advice.
I've never been a gym junkie. Even during my school days, during breaks and lunch times, you would find me in the music room, practicing the piano, rather than out in the playground.
Over the years, I've 'failed', over and over, to take up and maintain a regular exercise regime. I've lost count of how many times I've joined a gym and not used it, or started a fitness class and lost interest or found an 'excuse' not to go - week after week - until, unconsciously, I'd created a new habit - one of not going!
I went through a phase where I worked one-on-one with a personal trainer. She was a lot of fun - worked me hard, made it fun, but after a while, even that lost it's appeal, and I stopped.
The really interesting thing is that I am not alone in this cycle of setting my resolve, taking action, and not maintaining momentum. I have clients who tell me that they are thinking about starting a diet, or quitting smoking, or giving up alcohol ... several times ... and done nothing about it. Or that they started a new regime, were all excited at the beginning, but lapsed back into bad habits as soon as things got a little tough. If this sounds familiar, it might also make you give out a sigh of relief, as it's normal!!
So, over the past month, I've done some research into local gyms, and found one that interests me. I've joined. My commitment is to go three times a week, to follow a personalised program, with the aim of getting fitter, feeling better about myself, losing weight, toning up. I recognise it took me all my life to get to where I am today, so the improvements will not happen overnight. But I know that long before I see the results externally, they will be happening internally. Already my body gives me little messages - after a workout, I am reminded by my muscles that they have been used after a long period of inactivity - and I get a little "feel good" feeling. That's quite good payment. But this gym is clever. You pay up front for 13 weeks at a time. You get a receipt at the end of the 13 weeks for the sessions you've attended, which you can then submit to your private health company for a rebate. Don't attend all the sessions you've paid for and you can't claim it back! Good incentive, heh! Secondly, you have to book in for the hour(s) you want to work out. They limit the number of clients in the gym at any one time, which means the trainers can give you individual attention - they are constantly checking that you are doing the exercise correctly, as well as ensuring that the level of difficulty is gradually increased, so you are constantly stretching yourself ever so gently a little bit more each time. This requirement to book in advance was initially a negative in my mind - after all, I run my own business - I need to be able to be flexible. My version of flexible, if I am honest, probably means not turning up and skipping sessions if I don't make a specific time in my diary. So my exercise appointments are in the diary before anything else, and I fit my business in around something for me. Of course, I can change those times if I need to, but it is so good to have them already scheduled. And because I go to the same sessions every week, I am getting to meet and make friends with the other clients - which is a clever way of "locking me in" without me feeling duped!!
So, I'll let you know how I am getting on, and what insights I have along the way. And I'd love to know your thoughts/experiences - are you one of those sporty types who love exercising and feel on top of the world when you participate? Or are you more like me, having to drag yourself along?