The Ultimate Winners
Sharon Osborne once said on the Oprah Winfrey show that she preferred to be a beautiful face alighting from an old car rather than a wrinkled woman in a posh one.
The US and UK television personality and wife of rock star Ozzy Osborne was talking about society's obsession with physical looks. She could not, and neither could Oprah, understand people's willingness to do anything to maintain their looks and physique, often times at the expense of their mental health.
In other words they were saying it was more important to pay attention to what is inside rather than outside. They were of course speaking in the context of the world of entertainment, where looks and image play a very big part.
Closer to home, a trip to any crowded private hospital will prove that people are willing to pay thousands for medical treatments when something goes wrong with their bodies. But on the other hand they prefer to ignore, go into denial or say it is a waste of money to pay someone to help deal with their mental and/or emotional issues.
So why is it that the majority of people behave in this way; giving more importance to the physical self rather than the emotional self? Is it due to ego, stigma, and societal norms or is it because emotional issues are largely hidden and therefore not visible to others? We look down on overweight people but don't bat an eyelid at an unkind person who lacks generosity of spirit.
This brings to mind Debbie Ford's movie The Shadow Effect. In essence the movie delivers a message that we all have a shadow self which needs to be acknowledged and brought out into the light rather than keeping it suppressed.
Suppressing the shadow self almost always leads to outbursts, sometimes in spectacular fashion as in cases involving public figures caught in immoral acts such as soliciting prostitutes, having affairs or being involved in corruption.
In a day-to-day context this can translate to issues such as dishonesty, uncontrollable rage, abuse and obsessive-compulsive behavior, which lead to relationship problems.
We all have varying degrees of emotional issues at one time or another. The difference between someone with a healthy emotional outlook and someone who is in denial is that the former would make an effort to address it and move forward.
There was a manager I knew who used to shout at his people in the most unprofessional manner, with foul language rolling off his tongue on his worst days. He clearly needed help but felt coaching would take up too much time.
What I found most disturbing was that people in the office turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to his antics, sometimes going so far as to say, "That's the way he is"! Here was a man who was bathed in prosperity - his physical world was in great shape but his emotional self was sadly, driven by past programming.
Unfortunately such examples are the norm rather than the exception. Society dictates that materialism is given priority in all areas of our lives. If you have the right car, house, gadgets, clothes and go to the fancy neighborhood gym, you are on the right track.
When we fall sick we seek the best treatment from the best private hospital. We are expected to be happy with these outer trappings and any sign of emotional issues are best swept under the rug.
However, I am heartened and my faith restored momentarily when I come across individuals who actually take the time and trouble to seek suitable help in dealing with their issues and overcoming their problems. How does one ignore the mind when it is the driver in our lives?
The decision makers in companies who understand this are the greatest benefactors. As they assist their people in creating winning mindsets by providing coaching, therapy or personal development programs they become the ultimate winners. These are the leaders who understand that by constantly striving towards an optimum level of mental resilience and performance both in their personal and work life they are in effect creating effective people.
Isn't the value of health far more important than the value of prosperity? Isn't it time for companies to acknowledge this, now that we have come full circle in burning our people out? Shouldn't we be looking at achieving optimum rather than maximum for sustainable results? By optimum I mean set KPIs that reflect a good balance between health and wellbeing, having good relationships and an all round balanced life? What do you think?
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers established in Sydney in 2002. She is a corporate NLP trainer and consults in creating effective people in the Asia Pacific Region.
She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat – Turn Your Luck Around to Realise Opportunities – to be launched on the 23rd
October 2014. Go to www.viafrontiers.com
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.