What connects the performance of a mountain climber and an executive? What is required to stay at the top? What are the pitfalls of climbing to the top for a long time?

Being a mountain climber and serving executives for now over 25 years I have noticed a certain “hardness” of people in both groups. In order to perform at a high level, many of us choose to tighten-up, discipline ourselves and focus relentlessly on the goal. In order not to feel weak, or appear weak, in the face of all sorts of difficulties, we repress emotions, sensations, and feelings.

As a climber, I learned to ignore my physical pain and simply not listen to the ‘weak’ part of me demanding care and rest. This seemed to be a necessary mental discipline to be able to climb to the top. As a manager and owner of a company, I taught myself to shut down many of my emotions so I could  be productive.

These tactics worked well but only to a point when I, having lots of accumulated, repressed pain inside myself, broke down and got sick. This is typical for the executives I work with and it is very common. We fight in the “corporate war-zone” until we drop almost dead. We allow the goal to be more important than our well-being – both emotional and physical. The mind is hungry.

The mind is simply HUNGRY for MORE and does not listen to your body and to your heart – and sooner or later we get into a serious trouble. It all starts in childhood when others neglect our emotional needs. Not feeling good enough, we start looking for emotional substitutes and this is where the addictions take a hold of us.

The most respected addiction in our world is the addiction to work. To win at work is an excellent way to feel better about ourselves and this, like a good drug, can blind us to other needs we have. No wonder we get drained. The only way to get better is to understand what is going on within us, best well before a major exhaustion.

To understand what is going on inside you, you need to stop and listen to your emotions, which are like signals pointing to the solution. The most difficult part is to start hearing your feelings again. The second part is to recognize the human needs that underlie those feelings. Your disciplined, goal-oriented mind will fight back – and will try to prove that focusing on feelings will make you less productive, and less successful.

The neurobiology research is proving otherwise. In order to succeed as a person and as a manager, you need Emotional Awareness. Experiencing and noticing your feelings is just this. I have worked with many executives who seemed invincible who “suddenly” have experienced serious breakdowns in health, relationships, and ability to be happy with their lives. Many lost their jobs, wives, and self-esteem as the consequence.

It makes me sad to see so many people in dire straits. It does not have to be so. You can change some of your disciplined mastery into disciplined, happy balance. You, your company, and your family will benefit tremendously.

if you are feeling that I have described you above, with all respect I am calling you to reach out and get support from a courageous executive coach who works with emotions. I know how it feels to be vulnerable, especially as a high performer who always managed to succeed. This situation is different. It requires stopping and seeing your performance from a different angle. Requires the New Individual Strategy.

Please contact me at skype: Jacek Skyski, or jacek@adventureforthought.com if you or your colleague may need such support.

Jacek Skyski Skrzypczynski, Power-Back Executive Guide, Power-Back Performance System, serving executives around the globe.

executive health, emotional intelligence, top performance,