The most important meeting of my day

The most important meeting of my day

It’s 6.09pm in Boston right now and I’ve had a good, busy, productive day. I didn’t quite get everything done that I’d planned but I got most of it done. Samantha, my EA , does pack it in in my schedule and she tries valiantly to keep me on track but this was one of her more ambitious days. Right this minute I was hoping to be at the Gary Vaynerchuck book signing over at WeWork where Reward Gateway USA’s temporary office is, but I’ve managed to miss that by having an overrunning call. Hopefully Samantha is getting me a signed book and a selfie!

I was up at 5am to write a quick guest blog article for REBA – a couple of cups of coffee and that seemed to flow OK. Then it was over to the office for 7am where I did a second (and final I think) interview with a fantastic guy who I hope will become our new VP Marketing.

At 10.45 I spent an hour with two of our new Boston colleagues, its was their first day today – Chloe Thompson who has joined us to manage and grow our blog audience, and Kristin Zajac who has joined to lead on product marketing – very exciting hires and two great new very skilled and experienced people for our team! We spent almost all of our hour together discussing favorite foods but managed a quick look at the visuals for the new London office which I counted as work.

I had lunch with Chris Busby and Drew Loucks, our investors over at Great Hill and spent a quick 10 minutes jumping on a sales call with a potential new client over in the UK – hopefully helping Jenni and Alex in our Birmingham team with that deal (hope so anyway!). And then I ended the day with a second interview with a great guy in California who I hope might become our next CFO. Fingers crossed!

So all in all, a great day – lots of great people to meet both just joined and hopefully about to join our growing team, proving that there is great talent out there for good companies.

But actually, the point of this post wasn’t to share the detail of my day, it was to share what is honestly the most important part of my day. With no disrespect intended to anyone else on my schedule, all of whom I loved spending time with, the most important person in my day was my PT, Rick Crampton who I met at 9am. I see Rick every morning and that hour is without question the most important hour of my day.

After an hour with Rick moving heavy objects around, pulling tensioned cables from fixed places and once a week (Wednesday normally) pulling Rick himself around the studio on a long rope whilst he’s standing on slippy pads (yes we do do that) I am genuinely ready to take on the world.

I wouldn’t have said this 3 years ago and it was Arianna Huffington who completely changed my view on health and wellbeing and probably saved my life. 3 years ago, when I was loving work and loving life but spending no time on my health and fitness, I watched Arianna present a talk at the Inbound 2013 conference. And that talk, in just 45 minutes changed my whole view on health and fitness and how it connects with leadership and successful business.

It’s a wonderful, inspiring and thought provoking talk and I would love you to watch it. But if you don’t have time,  I hope Arianna will forgive me for distilling the whole piece into this quote :

Burnout is the disease of our civilization…

If we’re going to cultivate leaders who will be able to take us through these turbulent times, they need to be able to : first of all, see the icebergs before they hit The Titanic. Thats leadership. Everyone can see the iceberg after it has it the Titanic.

Erin Callin who was the CFO of Lehman Brothers just before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, wrote a very moving piece in the New York Times recently in which she described her life. She said she had no life, she was working round the clock, her marriage was destroyed, her relationships were destroyed and, the thing she didn’t say is – that “Lehman Brothers went bankrupt”.

So thats the thing  that I want everyone to understand

It’s not like its a trade off. Like, “I’m just going to build this great company and to hell with my relationships and my life and my happiness.”

No. You can no longer do that. Because the world is moving so fast, change is happening at such overwhelming speed that if you are not really connected with your own wisdom, if you are not able to listen to what Steve Jobs called “the whisperings”,  if you are not going to be able to tap into the zeitgeist to know what the needs are before even your customs know what  they need. People didn’t know that they needed an iPod did they?

If you don’t know all of that you’re not going to be an effective leader.

That was the thing – my own wellbeing was no longer an option. I would fail as a leader if I was exhausted.

So what Arianna’s talk made me realise was that wellbeing was no longer an option for me – it was no longer something I could sacrifice to spend more time on building our business. She made me realize that sacrificing my health and wellbeing would mean I would build a smaller business – my health and wellbeing was the most important thing that would make me able to build the business that I knew we could.

And thats’s why I put Arianna’s talk down as probably the most influential, most important talk I’ve ever heard in my life. 

Its is that  talk that made me prioritize my daily visit to the gym over every thing else in my day. I love my job, our business, our clients, my team, colleagues and the investors that backed us and they all hugely important to me. But I know that I serve all of them well only by making the time I spend on my own health and wellbeing the most important time in my day.

(I also hope that in time, we can play a role at Reward Gateway in helping other people and companies see the benefits of employee wellbeing – we’re building product right now and our announcement this week that the team from Yomp are joining us is another step in that direction.)

Go on, be good to yourself, spend 45 minutes watching the whole talk- its here.


Written by 

Glenn is an employee engagement and tech entrepreneur. He founded Reward Gateway, the HR technology company in 2006 and continues to lead it as CEO today.

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