In 2015, David was awarded a sabbatical grant and had the chance to travel throughout Europe, receive spiritual direction and reflect on his future in the church, presumably to get all charged up for many more years in ministry. Instead, he increasingly became convinced that there was another career calling to him outside of pastoral ministry, this time as a coach. After returning from the sabbatical, David was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He realised that whatever life he had left was a pure gift and if there was another career out there for him, he had better start reaching for it now. “Within one year I had caringly said farewell to my congregation and enrolled in a coaching program,” David says.
Shortly after that, he created Coaching & Conflict Transformation, LLC. In addition to being a coach, David is a Certified Mediator and mediates two-party and complex multi-party cases in Washington state. He believes that his mediation experience does add depth to everything he does in the coaching space.
David added to his initial training by receiving specialised certifications from the Cancer Journey Institute which helped immeasurably in his work with cancer clients, and the National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach certification which is the gold standard for health coaching worldwide.
How important is one’s health and wellness when it comes to achieving success in the workplace?
The logic is easy to see. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have much of anything. Without it, you can lose your livelihood and almost everything else. I don’t think many would argue this point. The rub comes with seeing one’s life over the long run and in the big picture. It is so easy to let other things overshadow the importance of our health and wellness.
Our collective global attitude toward healthcare has created something of a crisis by suggesting that very soon we will have a pill to solve whatever health problem that may come our way. That pill will probably never exist. We borrow from a quick-fix mentality what only good health habits can create.
Why do so many busy professionals overlook their health and wellness?
So many of us avoid taking care of our health and wellness because we started building poor health habits as our careers began in our 20s and 30s. I should come clean here and mention that I did too. Too often I skimped on my sleep, sat when I should have exercised, and ate fast food when I should have eaten more vegetables. Many of us found that we could take advantage of our health. Those earlier decades are career-building years. We pushed to get ahead, and our bodies seemed forgiving. If we weren’t proactive about our health then, we may start to feel some repercussions in the late 30s and early 40s and beyond.
But in no way am I here to paint a gloomy picture. Life is open to so many possibilities for great things to happen at any turn. It is never too late to act on our health and wellness.
So many of us avoid taking care of our health and wellness because we started building poor health habits as our careers began in our 20s and 30s.
Why is it important to pay more attention to our health and wellness, especially if we’re living a fast-paced and stressful life?
You can look at health through the lens of your peak performance and the health of your most important relationships at work and home.
If you take a clear-minded and blatantly honest view of your own mental, emotional, and relational sharpness, you’ll notice when it falls off as fatigue sets in. It might also be helpful to have a trusted co-worker or partner help you evaluate your sharpness if that is possible. With this feedback in hand, you’ll discover your limits. You may have to take a couple of steps back from pushing yourself to the max and favour creating better health habits. You’ll discover when you aren’t getting enough sleep (most likely you’ll need between 7-8 hours, so get real about that) or enough exercise (about 150 minutes of movement/exercise per week) or taking the fast-food option too frequently (less than three meals a week is a good beginning target).
What are some little steps that can help busy people with improving their well-being?
I absolutely love this question! Little steps turn into big gains over time! The key is to work with your own motivational engine. It gets larger when we enable it to build on itself. Isolate one thing you want to improve health-wise, like taking a five-minute walk once a day for one week. Or, if you’ve already got walking down, choose to add one vegetable to your plate at dinner for one week. You get the idea. Think, simple, easy, doable, “I-know-I-can-nail-this-without-thinking.” And, then crush it! Then the next week, make sure you don’t add much. Just something little and crush it again. During your first month you should come away with incremental improvements, and each time: nothing but wins.
The idea is to keep working with the long game in mind. And (hint) it wouldn’t hurt to have a health and wellness coach. Remember, that you created habits over years, and you can’t undo them for good quickly. As you gradually and methodically add to your wins, you’ll reshape your attitude about what you can do and build confidence—your motivational engine—to replace bad habits with good ones. Ultimately, you’ll run the marathon, or whatever your big goal is, but the initial motivational work must come first.