Your gut can make you a better (or worse) leader.
In our everyday busy work-schedule, we tend to forget the importance of taking care of ourselves at work and that our success as a leader, is driven by our health. Our daily wellbeing is directly connected with our performance as a leader. Our health is affecting how we feel and interact with our team, clients and family. And our mind’s ability to perform is interconnected with the health of our gut.
Your gut matters.
I’m not talking about gut as intuition, I’m talking about the fact that the health of your gut, the bacteria in your gut, affects energy and mood, focus and attention, and even how your thoughts. I talked in my previous article Do you have the guts to be a great leader, about why we need to take care of our daily health to create sustainable success and the importance of bringing our humanity with us to work, so we can create better relationships. What does that have to do with your gut-health, you might wonder? We cannot be high performing, empowered, mindful, engaged and great leaders without taking care of our gut-health.
Everything starts with the gut.
Your gut or more precisely, your intestinal tract is 26ft. long. That 26ft. is all twisted up in the core of your body. It is how we absorb our food, which becomes information for our entire body’s system. Our blood, our brain, our muscles, our cells all use the food we eat to send nutrients to all our organ’s and their function.
You can then imagine that when we are not eating well, our digestive system is not healthy either and that affects our daily energy, ability to focus and pay attention, our mood and yes… even how effective we can be as a leader.
Your gut and your brain.
Research has shown that the bacteria in our gut are directly affecting our brain. About 90% of serotonin, which is our wellbeing hormone that helps us pay attention, listen, be discerning and reflect and communicate better, is produced in the gut. Serotonin also affects how we feel about ourselves, our confidence and our sense of feeling safe and it helps us be more creative. You can learn more about that in my TEDx talk about Why nourishment matters for creativity.
What you eat affects how your feel.
You can probably also relate to feeling tired and sluggish after a meal, unfocused and unmotivated, maybe even a bit moody? This is what happens when your digestive system needs to spend too much energy on digesting a bad meal, rather than distributing that meal to your system as energy and fuel.
Additionally, when we consistently don’t eat healthy, we have an overgrowth of “bad bacteria” in our gut, rather than the good bacteria that helps us break down food into energy. Additionally when we have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, also called candida, we don’t absorb the nutrients from our food as well, which also affects not just our overall health, mood and wellbeing, but also our brain and brain chemistry, which in turn affects our performance at work.
The gut is the core of our wellbeing.
Our hormones, our nervous system and our neurotransmitters are all affected by our gut-health, they are interconnected with our brain and “run” our body as a whole system. The importance of the gut-brain connection has only recently been discovered by researchers, in terms of depression and anxiety, and we have yet to really research, how a healthy gut makes us more productive. However, the reports that I constantly get from clients over the past 15 years, list improvements such as; better energy, better mood, more clarity and less brain fog, better ability to focus and pay attention, less depression and anxiety, less irritability and more kindness. Yes kindness. Empathy is interconnected with our gut-health too.
Learn to listen more.
As leaders we need to learn to listen more, not just to our teams, but also to our very own gut and what our bodies need to perform at our best. It is too easy to grab the office junk-snacks instead of meal, the sugar and a cup of coffee to boost energy, with the imbalanced blood-sugar and erratic behavior to follow.
What makes a great leader is someone who can be present, see and listen and make discerning decisions based on what is important, instead of just reacting to what is urgent.
A nourished leader is someone with the physical, mental and emotional resilience, that can only come from good gut-health.
Also check out my article about Why leaders who lunch are better leaders and stay tuned for the next article about how you can improve your gut health and with that… your ability to be a great leader.
To learn more about the Nourished Leader program and workshops and keynotes: jeanettebronee.com