Stress blog

Success needn't mean neglecting your needs

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. April 10, 2010

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  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
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  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

A wonderful dinner with friends provided camaraderie and much more. Let me explain.

One of the gentlemen in our group is a highly visible leader in our state and nationally. He's an expert in the areas of quality and safety in medicine. He shared with me that the demand for his expertise seems insatiable. He travels approximately 100 days a year, which represents half of his professional life. He has meetings starting at 7:00 a.m., continuing throughout the day, including the noon hour, and into the evening. Despite this grueling schedule, he's "dead fit," to use a racetrack term, and has never looked healthier. I asked him how he does it.

He was pleased that someone was interested and shared with me that he makes fitness a top priority. Every morning before the work day starts, he rows, cycles, lifts weights or hops on the treadmill. This is non-negotiable and an embedded part of his day. He's also proactive in making sure that he stays at hotels with exercise facilities and he orders special meals when he flies to meet his dietary requirements. In other words, he orchestrates his health and wellness. He doesn't leave it to chance. That is an important lesson for each of us: We need to be committed to our health.

The other gentleman at the table is also a nationally recognized expert. His field is technology, and he heads up a large government agency. Several years ago he introduced the smart phone into his workplace, but now feels that it's an anchor around his neck since he never gets away from work. He admitted that his wife drove to dinner so he could check his email on his phone. I've known this gentleman for many years, and it was obvious to me that he was distracted and not at all a happy camper. The lesson here is real clear: Although the wireless world empowers us, it can also drain us if we let it.

As I've said before, we can't give what we don't have. If we're not healthy, if we're not rested or if we're distracted, our gifts and skills go to waste.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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6 Comments Posted

April 10, 2010