What connects the mountain climber skills and executive performance? What is required to stay at the top? What are the pitfalls of staying at the top for too long?
Being a mountain climber and serving executives for now over 25 years I could not notice certain „hardness” of people in both groups. In order to perform at the high level many of them chose to tighten-up, discipline themselves and focus relentlessly on the goal. In order not to feel weak, or appear weak, in the face of all sorts of difficulties, we repress emotions, sensations and feelings.
As a climber, I learned not to feel my physical pain and not to listen to the ‚weak’ part of me demanding care and rest for myself. This seemed to be a necessary mental discipline to achieve anything. As a manager and owner of a company I thought myself to shut down many of my emotions so I could be productive.
These tactics worked well but only to a point when I, having lots of accumulated, repressed emotions inside myself, broke down and got sick. This is typical for the executives I work with and it is very common. We fight in the „corporate war-zone” until we drop almost dead. We allow the goal to be more important than our health – both emotional and physical. The mind is hungry
The mind is HUNGRY for MORE and does not listen to the body and to the heart – and sooner or later we get into a serious trouble. It all starts in childhood when we or others neglect our emotional needs. Not feeling good enough, we start looking for emotional substitutes and this is where the addictions take a hold of us.
The most respected addiction in our world is the addiction to work. Succeeding at work is an excellent way to feel better about ourselves and, as a good drug, can blind us to other needs we have. No wonder we become overwhelmed and stressed. The only way to get balanced is to understand what is going on with us.
To understand what is going on inside you, you need to stop and listen to these emotions, which are like signals pointing to the solution. The most difficult part is to start hearing your feelings again. The second part is to recognize the human needs that underlie those feelings. Your disciplined, goal-oriented mind will fight back – and will try to prove that focusing on feelings will make you less productive, and less successful.
The neurobiology research is proving otherwise. In order to succeed as a person and as a manager, you need Emotional Awareness. Experiencing and noticing your feelings is just this. I have known many executives that seemed invincible. Many of them have experienced serious breakdowns in health, relationships and ability to be happy with their lives. Many lost their jobs as the consequence.
I am sad to see so many people in dire straits. It does not have to be so. You can change some of your disciplined mastery into disciplined, happy balance. You, your company, and your family will benefit tremendously.
if you are feeling that I have described you above, with all respect I am calling you to reach out and get support from an executive coach who works with emotions. I know how it feels to be vulnerable, especially as a high performer who always managed to succeed. This situation is different. It requires stopping and seeing your performance from a different angle. Requires the New Individual Strategy.
Jacek Skyski Skrzypczynski, Power-Back Executive Guide, Power-Back Performance System, serving executives around the globe. My TEDx talk on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMtbQBX6wVs