Fits of anxiety plagued me for a period of seven months toward the end of 2021. I made it unscathed through the pandemic but what threw me over the edge was in May when our COO of our company joined the Great Resignation. To make matters worse, my leadership was being questioned at the medical supply I oversee as CEO.
I have never had trouble forming strategic plans, implementing, and leading my teams. So while our company rebounded rapidly and had our most productive and profitable year, my personal health steadily deteriorated.
I am an avid reader of leadership and psychology books (plus the Master program that I am finishing up in Executive Coaching and Consulting), so I was clear on where the problem was: my own anxiety. My personal coach (I believe all great coaches need to have coaches as well) recommended that I look at a place called Onsite Workshops out of Tennessee. I was willing to do most anything to get recalibrated.
A week at Onsite’s Living Centered program is by no means cheap. At the time of my trip it ran $6,400 not to mention the travel to and from the conference. I could speak for hours about the concepts, friendships, and things I learned about leadership. Instead I’ll reflect on three of my biggest personal take-homes:
- I need to protect and just be myself. My anxiety that had shot into overdrive was the result of trying to be too many things to too many people. There is a time to be diplomatic as a CEO but there are other times where if one tries to be everything to everyone, it is a recipe for disaster.
- The videos I have been recording on our TikTok page about New Year’s Resolutions stem from what I learned at Onsite. Their goal is to have us make 2% changes in five areas of our lives. If I can make five small 2% changes in five major categories, this is 10% progress. Five weeks post-Onsite, I’m thrilled to have achieved all of these goals and things are going better than I had hoped for.
- Last, I changed how I had been meditating. I’ve always been someone who starts my day in prayer and scripture. However, no matter what verses I read, more times than not, I have continued to get more anxious. Part of this I believe was I never learned how to breathe in a way that relaxed my central nervous system. I was flabbergasted to find how effective this has been both at Onsite and since I have come home.
One does not need to drop $6,000 for a self-care retreat; however, if money is not an issue I would strongly recommend their Living Centered week as they have this both in San Diego and Tennessee most months. Other options would be the many good books out there that can walk you through what I paid several thousand dollars to go through. I’d be happy to pass these onto anyone who is interested. Just find a local cabin you can rent and give yourself 2-7 days to read, meditate, and journal about how you are doing in your life and what 2% changes you can implement going forward.
I’m encouraged to know that we are only as effective
as a leader as what we have been willing to process in our own lives. Retreats like Onsite, working with a coach or counselor, or other methods can help show our blind spots in leadership and relationship so we can then shore up a few loose walls in our house. When that happens, not only will we be able to take care of ourself better, we’ll be able to lead our team even better.
Cheers, Coach Erik