A few years ago, I wasn’t feeling healthy. I was a senior executive working long hours, on and off planes every week, carrying extra kilos and completely lacking in energy and enthusiasm. I knew something needed to change and I didn’t want to wait for a crisis before I took action. So after listening to others extol the benefits, I signed up for a juice fast in Bali. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was willing to give it a try. I was always exhausted and because of that, I wasn't best serving my family or my team, let alone myself.
That week in Bali was life-changing. I spent a week on nothing but sunshine, fresh juice and water. The first couple of days were truly awful as my body detoxed from caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and unhealthy chemicals from processed food, hair and body products. But once I made it beyond day 3, I starting feeling really good. I lost five kilos in that week without feeling hungry and I felt the best I’d felt in years. But equally importantly, the detox week gave me the clarity I needed about what needed to change in my life to make me healthy and happy, and gave me the strength and courage to take the bold steps that were needed.
So fast forward to now, and I've noticed several bad habits have crept back in so I'm detoxing again at home. But this time my detox is extending to my habits and routines, my living and work space. James Clear in Atomic Habits says “The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our habits” and “success is the product of daily habits – not once-in-a-lifetime transformations” . Over the last few years as I reorganised my life, I’ve watched my organising systems deteriorate. I have goals for the results I want to achieve, but it’s the systems that matter – the systems are the processes that lead to those results. This week I'm putting systems in place to ensure I perform at my best, maximise my available time, and reach my goals faster.
But I've also been inspired by Marie Kondo, author of the book "The Life changing Magic of Tidying Up" (not to be confused with Sarah Knights book, "The Life Changing Magic of not giving a F" which is equally helpful). After watching the effect her Netflix special had on my kids who started neatly folding clothing that normally get thrown on the floor, I’m decluttering my home and office. I moved house last year and despite throwing out and donating a lot before moving, I still have too much weighing me down. To make space for the new, stuff needs to go. Decluttering is surprisingly therapeutic. A clear space is a clear mind for a clear year. I want to feel the lightness that comes with less possessions.
These days I'm a true believer in the power of a detox every year. For too long, I put other people's needs before my own whilst ignoring what I needed. But I've experienced the difference it makes when I prioritise my own health and happiness. In leadership roles, our ability to be there for others requires us to be fit and resilient at a mind, body and spirit level. But this equally applies if you're a parent or carer. If you have a gruelling schedule and don’t feel at your best or happiest, don’t wait for a crisis to make some change. As they say in the airlines, fit your own mask first. Your loved ones will thank you for it, your people will thank you for it, and you'll be a better person and leader. Companies benefit just as much as people from a detox.
If your business is feeling weighed down with disorganisation, clunky processes, unclear accountabilities, or confusing structures it might be time for a detox. Politics, bad habits and behaviour, or clutter in organisations damages the culture and limits a company’s ability to build great customer relationships and trust. Consumer trust with organisations took a hit in 2018 so it might be time to detox your organisation so you can deliver exceptional customer experiences and make your customers raving fans again. Consider this:
How are you feeling? Do you have the energy and vitality needed for your life this year?
How's your diet? Is it providing the energy you need or are there improvements you should be making?
Is your organisation carrying too much extra weight? Do you have too many people with unclear accountabilities? Is your structure too top heavy?
Is bureaucracy creeping in? Are there too many handoffs making it hard to move fast for customers?
Does your company have bad habits that make it unproductive?
If so, it might be time for a detox. If you would like to talk about how to detox you or your business, I’d love to hear from you.
Naomi White is a transformational leadership expert and the Founder and Managing Director of Metamorph Co, a consultancy specialising in helping leaders to transform their company by focusing on lifting their leadership capability and improving the employee experience. For more information on Metamorph Co programs or on how Metamorph Co can assist you and your business, please contact Naomi via www.metamorphco.com
 CLEAR, J. (2017). ATOMIC HABITS.
 CLEAR, J. (2017). ATOMIC HABITS. Place of publication not identified: RANDOM House BUSINESS.