Kelly Borth: How clearing your head with some mental health days makes you a better leader

Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest

Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest

This month I decided to remove my marketing hat and put on my CEO hat. In numerous peer-to-peer driven groups over the years, I have heard the resounding message more times than I care to admit: to be the best CEO, we need find time to work on the business and not in the business, we need to make time for our family because we cannot get that time back and we need to take care of ourselves so that we will still be here to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Yet, as a CEO who has friends and clients who are CEOs, living this is much more easily said than done.

With 2014 in the headlights, I thought that now was a good time to emphasize that even CEOs need a timeout. As CEOs,we need to stay focused, be happy and in good health mentally and physically. Living this will improve our performance. The recession was a tough couple of years for many of us, but it does look like things are getting better. It is a great time to take a timeout and make sure our game is spot-on.

The business timeout

To keep a sharp focus, CEOs need to get out of the day-to-day minutia to analyze past performance and plan for what changes need to take place to strategically grow the company.

I am not talking about scheduling a planning retreat with your leadership team, although that is important, too. I am talking about time for you, the CEO, to get away and get focused on the next big challenges that lay ahead.

Since founding Greencrest in 1990, I have religiously scheduled time away from the office for annual business planning, and I have credited that planning for the company’s success. Last February, after three years of being consumed by the business, I got back to scheduling time away for business planning. This sacred ritual makes me a better CEO. When I do this planning, I emerge with what I need to lead my company into its next phase of growth.

The family timeout

At times, family demands can be as grueling as business demands. And sometimes we just can’t find enough of ourselves to share with all those who need our time and attention.

Yet, if we don’t find a livable balance, we will miss out on important moments in our life that cannot be bought or replaced. Time with our family is when we can relax, be ourselves, be with those we chose to have as a part of our lives, share our dreams, embrace our spirituality, raise our offspring and plant the seeds that will long outlive our own mortality.

How many times do you hear people talk about the parent, grandparent, sister or brother who inspired them?  Taking a timeout for family is essential to our happiness as CEOs. Business is a moment in time; family is a lifetime.

The personal timeout

Sometimes between meeting the demands of both our business and family, there is just nothing left at the end of the day or week for ourselves. Sound familiar?

Nonetheless, a CEO needs to take a timeout for mental and physical health… working out, reading a good book or watching a movie, getting a massage, meditating, pursuing a hobby, socializing with friends, eating right, getting regular check-ups, oh and adequate sleep — whatever is needed to maintain good health and invigorate your inner spirit.

A CEO needs to be able to maneuver in the fast lane at all times, and that is just not possible unless all cylinders in our life are operating at peak performance. Taking a timeout is an essential ingredient. It is the fuel CEOs need to forge ahead at full speed.

 

 

 

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 22-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into market leaders. She has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the U.S. Reach her at 614-885-7921, [email protected], @brandpro or for more information www.greencrest.com.