Personal Sustainability in the Pursuit of Success

I have been involved in the corporate arena and wellness industry for a number of years and believe that there is a lack of conversation around how to sustain oneself in the pursuit of success.

As women, we talk about work-life balance – and there is an excellent article on this site by Christie Mims on integrating work and life – but the reality is that we assume the primary role in family matters and the guilt that comes from prioritizing a career over family.

It is unlikely that women will alter their societal role – nor should they. With the worldwide statistics on the low representation of women in senior roles in business and government, the logical solution would be legislation on gender representation in the workplace.

South Africa is forward thinking in this regard, and has developed a bold draft bill on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equity which requires 50% female representation at senior levels. The current conversation is about the ‘workability’ of the bill, and I would prefer the focus to be on the sustainability of the accelerated development programmes that will be required to achieve a legislated representation – whatever that final percentage will be.

Undoubtedly the focus will be on ‘technical skills’ development – business skills, management skills, EQ development – but if there isn’t an equal emphasis on wellness skills development, the results will be unsustainable.

What is required is improved cognitive functioning, better stress management and resilience, not textbook cramming.

At an early stage in a business career, women (and men) need to learn the skills that will sustain them for the long haul:

  • Recognizing the signs of burnout before they have a negative impact

  • Finding purpose and meaningfulness in your life, including your work life

  • Accepting that life is stressful. Using the energy that stress brings, channelling it and then making the time to recover from it

  • Pacing yourself with a longer term view of your career

  • Putting unmovable “Me-Time” into your monthly diary

  • Understanding the Mind-Body link and the simple things that can be done to optimize personal performance, including exercise and good nutrition habits

I believe that it is in the above areas that women excel. We know how we feel and we are willing to speak about it. Who wants to work in an organization where feelings and compassion play no part? Every survey about the best companies to work for highlights how important these factors are and it is no coincidence that these companies are also financially successful.

Women can collectively influence personal and workplace wellness in order to sustain the acceleration of women in business.

In a world that embraces crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, it is time for crowd influencing. Women can collectively influence personal and workplace wellness in order to sustain the acceleration of women in business.

Follow Lavinia on Twitter.

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