What's right and good doesn't come naturally. You have to stand up and fight for it – as if the cause depends on you, because it does. – Bill Moyers
(Warning: my old public health geek-self is going to show a little bit in this post)
Inspired by an article I recently read, for the past week I've been experimenting with working at a stand-up desk. I. Love. It.
I'm coaching standing up. I'm checking email standing up. I wrote this post standing up.
My legs have been a little sore at the end of the day, but I'm noticing that after even a few hours of working standing up, I have more energy, with plenty left over for my non-work life as well. I've been sleeping more soundly and longer than I usually do. I feel more energetic for my clients, and I feel more creative, alive and thoughtful in my approach.
It's not headline news (though perhaps it should be) that the amount of time we all spend sitting is slowly killing us. Sitting all day isn't the way our bodies were engineered to function. This certainly reflects my own experience, and what I observe in my children – we have to be taught to sit down.
So, this experiment in standing up got me thinking about the importance of taking a stand in work and in life:
What will we take a stand for?
What happens, what is the cost, when we sit idly by in our lives or in our work?
This isn't just a metaphor or leadership theory.
Taking a positive proactive physical and mental stance as a leader – choosing our attitude, our beliefs and actions, including how we embody our bodies, in service of a broader impact we want to have with others and out in the world – is critical.
Often, when I find a coaching client needs to get into action about something in their lives, I will have them physically stand up, to actually take the posture of standing, to embody what is important to them. Similarly, when coaching clients talk about wanting a sense of balance in work and life, I will sometimes have them stand on one foot to feel the dynamic nature of balance.
So, I challenge you: This week, when you need to get moving on something at work or at home, get moving.
- Have a walking or standing meeting, and see what happens to the creativity and productivity.
- Notice your physical posture throughout the day and how it supports you and the leadership impact you want to have (or not).
- Pay attention to how your mental attitudes, beliefs and stories direct and impact your actions (for better or for worse).
In the Comments below, it's your turn! Try my challenge, experiment, and give me your thoughts on the importance of choosing your stance as a leader. Tell me:
– What will you stand for?
– What's worth taking a stand on?
– What's the cost when you take a seat, in life or in your leadership?
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