Don’t say, “I’m toning my body,” to a true bodybuilder. Even if they don’t use words, the condescending looks on their face will scream lack of respect. Bodybuilders build their body for a lot of reasons. But building muscle is the focus, not toning.
I’m not a bodybuilder. (Anyone who’s met me is nodding vigorously). I don’t even qualify for body toning. (More vigorous nodding). I probably never will commit myself to a bodybuilding or body-toning plan (my wife, Rita, sighing with disappointment).
I have, however, committed to the most often neglected, and far more critical, muscle necessary for leadership success: My Brain. I’m not interested in mind-toning … I’m talking Mind-Building.
Five mind-building strategies
Today, you’ll think somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 thoughts. There’s a lot going on around you and in your head. To enjoy high brain function and reverse workplace brain drain, consider adding these Mind-Building steps:
- Focus on one task at a time — multitasking disrupts connections and places more of the stress hormone cortisol into your brain, so do ONE-thing at a time.
- Manage technology — jumping back and forth between devices builds an “ADHD brain”. Try turning them off once in a while or only check for new email 2 or 3 times a day.
- Get good fat — that’s right, get enough of the omega-3 variety to help with memory.
- Sleep — How much sleep do you get? Less than 7 to 9 hours is a drain on your brain. Set the alarm to go to bed if necessary.
- Exercise — exercise increases blood flow to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory function.
As we age, our brain has a harder time dealing with distractions. Brains get stronger by eliminating distractions rather than pushing to overcome them. – Dr. Sandra Chapman, Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas
Create space for Mind-Building reflection
Even if you just do it for a day, you’ll feel the burning of powerful thinking. Those are synapses getting stronger. Functionality returning to flabby, dormant cortexes. If Einstein saw you walking out of the Mind-Building gym, he’d say, “Gut work, for your first day.”
Commit to this Mind-Building plan long-term and pretty soon, Schwarzenegger, or Stephen Hawking, will start getting jealous…
As a leader, you have a lot draining your brain. How intentional will you be in support of improved memory, thinking, reasoning, and decision making?
Which of the five steps do you neglect most often in your life?
What will you do to support your brain?
Here’s to your powerful Mind-Building regimen,