Americans spend a lot of time focused on physical fitness.
We have countless gyms, gurus, equipment, and apps to facilitate our performance. Athletic shoe and clothing companies spend billions of dollars competing for our attention. And many parents enthusiastically get their kids started in sports at a young age, mulling over their children’s futures as division-one athletes and maybe even professional stars.
But another kind of fitness is getting attention these days. Emotional fitness has become something worth talking about and now, most would argue, even fighting for at work and in life.
Our parents’ generation didn’t talk about emotional fitness. It was a topic that wasn’t a topic. It was for closed doors, tight-lipped conversations or brief mentions. Thankfully, that conversation dam has broken now; we’re recognizing that emotional fitness is one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness. What’s more, we’re learning that our emotional state impacts our decision-making.
We make a little more than thirty thousand decisions a day. If we’re in college or at work leading others, that figure might be higher. One of my colleagues, Susan Packard, is not only thinking about this relationship between emotional fitness and leadership, but she’s also sharing about an equally critical time of decision-making that happens when we’re young adults.
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Packard authored a terrific leadership book called Fully Human: 3 Steps to Grow Your Emotional Fitness in Work, Leadership, and Life. She acknowledges the growing feelings of loneliness many Americans experience as they show up for work or life events. How we carry anger or fear into the office and social interactions can further increase our feelings of isolation.
More recently, Packard has written The Little Book of College Sobriety: Living Happy, Healthy, and Free. The book is a testament to the many reasons young people find themselves disconnected in their new environments, perhaps struggling with unproductive emotions or coping skills they’ve brought from home.
How we manage these unproductive emotions both as young adults discovering our early professional habits and later as leaders is a critical interaction skill that deserves the focus we often give our physical fitness.
Packard introduces how we can boost our emotional fitness with “connector” emotions, like hope, empathy, and trust. These emotions positively affect our ability to make healthier decisions as leaders and as young people.
Join me for Off the Rak on July 27 at noon EDT, when Packard and I will be talking about her latest book on emotional fitness and the importance of personal fulfillment and emotional health for rising and seasoned leaders alike. We’ll unpack some of the important steps to creating a foundation for your emotional strength and how to grow your resilience—especially when life is throwing challenges your way.
In the meantime, consider taking Packard’s emotional fitness quiz. She encourages you to take this quiz periodically to measure your progress. I’m going to take the test now. Want to join me? I look forward to talking about the results with you and Packard soon.