4 Leadership Lessons Gained from Weight Loss

I’ve been fat for a big chunk (no pun intended) of my life. I have proved to myself over and again that I can lose weight, and get down to that place where my height and weight agree with each other. Then slowly but surely, one donut and one ribeye at a time, the pounds and the paunch return. Over the years, the pounds have brought new friends with them...blood pressure and blood sugar medications, back and digestive issues, and most recently sleep apnea!  This is not a club of friends you want to hang out with, trust me!

So the time had come for me to have a very, VERY serious discussion with myself about my long term health and quality of life. But it also made me look at my business with the same discerning eye, and ask the hard questions about the health of my company, and the health of both it and my team. Had I allowed my lax attitude in life to threaten the health of my staff and my organization? Some of the same things I had to do to move me toward a healthy body are the things I’m also working on to move me towards a healthier company and team! See if these may not help you as well.

Determine Your Level of Health

This was critical for my body…I knew high blood pressure and high blood sugar could have very damaging long term effects. Beyond that, I was breathing heavy even after small things, like picking a Cheeto® up off the floor! I knew there were key problems to my health that were directly related to my own poor choices. I also discerned that there are a limited number of solutions to this problem, and I would need to think, pray and research well before I decided which solution was best for me.

My team…and your team too...may well be in the same kind of situation. Over time, we can see our organizations fall into atrophy; leaders get lazy and procedures get sloppy. Our organizations can get bloated, out of shape and just plain unhealthy. Leaders must be brave enough to look into that mirror and see the true reflection of their own bad choices, and the ensuing negative results.

Discover What Healthy Means

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t expect to be a 54-year old model with a six-pack and a photo on the cover Sports Illustrated! That isn’t what health is for me. Health is getting off of as many of my weight induced medications as possible, dropping my weight down to a reasonable amount, and a healthy regimen of quality food and regular exercise. That is the vision I’ve burned into my mind, and it will be the place I finally end up living!

My organization is no different. I have no aspirations of becoming the next Microsoft or Amazon. But my company could do so much more to make a difference in this world than it currently is doing. We have plateaued over the last few years, and it’s time for an indepth “physical examination” to see where we need to make some serious changes. We are looking for what needs “built up," “cut off," “stretched” and made better all around. No one can make me be healthy as a leader- I choose it and do it, or I don't. As we develop that list, then we begin our work on each area to improve it!

Dig Deep Discovering Your Options

I’ve tried literally every fad diet and trick out there, but the weight kept coming back. Liquid diets, HCG injections, medications, treadmills--you name, I’ve done it. One area I had not seriously considered was bariatric surgery. I began reading and talking to friends who had experienced it then met with a surgeon to discuss my options. I’m not saying this option is for everyone, but I know me…and you know you. After exhausting all other possible options, was it time for something drastic as an overhaul of my system?

You may very well find the same situation exists for your business. You may have refined your policies, improved some techniques or communications, or even reorganized your pie charts. Could it be that it is time for a specialist to come into your company and help you determine if there are some drastic, serious things that may need to be cut out or cut off of your business? When leaders get brave enough to be honest about the real cost of change, then that's the first step towards healthy changes. Just as it is with health issues, problems don’t go away when we ignore them.  Is it time for a specialist?

Dive in Wholeheartedly to Possess Your Solution

Well, I made the plunge and scheduled my Gastric Sleeve surgery. It happened on May 4th, and so far I’m down 26 pounds! I’m hopeful that this journey will not only leave me 60 pounds lighter, but that because of the mechanics of this solution, it will also help me keep the weight off and live a healthier, longer and better quality of life!

I’ll be looking at some similar solutions in my business. I want every aspect of my group healthy--our team members, our values, our goal-setting and our actions--all pointing us in the direction we need to be going. We want to be a company that makes a difference in the lives of people. When leaders, businesses and organizations are healthy, we make real impact happen more often, and we do it better as well!


  • What is one area your organization that could stand to be a little more healthy?
  • What does healthy look like for your key team members? What needs to change to get them there?
  • What is the one, best option you think you have right now that could push your group towards a more successful and healthy organization?
  • If you could bring in one specialist and only ask them one question about your organization and it’s issues, what would that be?
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