Don’t bite off more than you can chew

We’ve all been guilty of it.  I know I certainly have, & it is a common mistake I observe in organisations I’m working with, particularly those just embarking on their wellness journey.

A Wellness Coordinator’s passion & enthusiasm for spreading the wellness message can sometimes lead them to taking on too much. Or they try to create a wellness strategy which is everything to everyone, & ultimately spread themselves too thin. They underestimate how much is involved to develop & implement a strategy, & do it well.

This is risky for a number of reasons.

#1 – It’s not sustainable

The stretched Wellness Coordinator risks jeopardising their own wellbeing, which apart from the obvious concerns for them as an individual, isn’t a good advertisement for their wellness strategy!  Not to mention the link between stress, absenteeism & presenteeism?! Like leaders in the organisation, it’s critical that the Wellness Coordinator ‘walks the talk’ & serve as a positive wellness role-model.

I’ve personally fallen into this trap in previous Wellness Coordinator roles. Where taking on the role of wellness ‘intrapreneur’, & trying to push the wellness agenda & boundaries in the organisation, has compromised my own wellbeing. Worse still, it took a concerned colleague to point this out. They questioned whether I was being the best wellness role model. Ouch! This was a hard pill to swallow. The redeeming factor is that I consistently use this personal experience to illustrate the link between leadership, values & overall wellbeing.

I’ve learnt it’s a fine (& ironic) line between striving to create a healthy organisation & not jeopardising your own health & wellbeing. I believe this can be particularly challenging for the wellness intrapreneur. Whilst you may not ‘own’ your organisations strategy, often you’ve created this figurative ‘baby’ from scratch. Like an entrepreneur, you’ve nurtured it & guided it through the tough times, including when the naysayers told you ‘it won’t work’. As you ride the highs & lows of the wellness rollercoaster, it’s important to not only stay passionate, but be realistic, & ensure you maintain boundaries to protect your own wellbeing.

#2 – Your overall strategy can suffer as a result, or sometimes even fail.

Ultimately it comes back to the mantra, quality not quantity, & striving to be results-oriented as opposed to activity-oriented. Or in simple terms, concentrating on a few things & doing them well. Particularly in the early stages, it’s about getting the runs on the board & proving the value-on-investment to the organisation. As the saying goes, you are much better to under-promise & over-deliver!