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Food, Attention and Leadership |

Food, Attention and Leadership

October 16, 2011

As I wrote in my last post, I will be exploring work from different disciplines (e.g., leadership, psychology, Buddhism) related to my curiosity: In the quest for sustainable business, how might the cultivation of attention contribute to the process of leadership development?

I’m going to side step this a bit today in honor of Blog Action Day. The theme for October 16, 2011 Blog Action Day is food. I will attempt to relate attention, leadership and food. Here goes…

When I think of food, I think of all the wonderful organic food that enhances my life—it allows me to have energy to think up a creative way to relate attention, leadership and food!

Since 1996, I shifted the way I ate from the more processed, nitrate rich, antibiotic enhanced foods to the more natural organic choices. I would categorize my diet now as almost like the Paleolithic diet—mostly just vegetables, some meats, legumes and tofu. That’s right – no grains or fruits! (Okay, I eat an apple or pear every once in a while. And I love coconut.)

I feel that the deployment of my attention is affected by many factors such as emotions, physical surroundings, what is going on in my mind, and what is going on in my body. Food affects my emotions, mind and body. At least that is what I discovered when I switched to more natural organic foods. My mind is not as foggy, I feel less like I’m on an emotional rollercoaster, and my body is less tired. Of course more than just food affects these things, but I can tell you for sure that if I eat a piece of wheat bread (organic or not) my mind will become foggy, I will get grouchy and I will be sleepy. This results in my ability to focus attention in a significant way.

From a leadership perspective, I want to be able to attend to a challenging situation in a focused and clear way. The effort used to overcome the fog, grouchiness and tiredness in order to assess a situation means less ability to be present to a situation and less ability to respond creatively.

There it is: attention, leadership and food–what foods I eat affect my ability to attend to the present moment in order to see how best to deal with a challenge.

Time for a coconut smoothie!

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6 Responses to “Food, Attention and Leadership”

  1. patrick t. rost on October 16th, 2011 4:56 pm

    hi lisa!
    this is fantastic, and somewhat related to my #bad11 post for today as well. i’d be honored if we could have a mindmeld about our respective beats, brands and futures - maybe a skype chat or a meal at the upcoming intensive?

  2. Steven Crozier on October 16th, 2011 6:43 pm

    So true, so true. Did you ever try making an executive decision after a couple of corn dogs?

  3. ATCLisa on October 18th, 2011 7:39 am

    Patrick, Thank you. It would be good to have a meal together at the next intensive.

  4. ATCLisa on October 18th, 2011 7:40 am

    No gluten for me!

  5. Karen J Granger on October 18th, 2011 12:55 pm

    Lisa ~ I just embarked on a similar journey, after realizing that my so-called healthy diet of fish, some eggs, whole grains, veggies and fruits, was causing me to crash and burn every afternoon, for an hour or two.
    This realization came on the heels of weight gain while following the new WeightWatchers eating regimen! So while the foods are certified organic and probably healthy, they are not the healthy choices for my body, at this time in my life.

    I’ve made some changes. No whole grains. More green tea. More animal proteins. Two servings of fruit, but no fruit after 2 pm. And 5 lbs just fell off me. Most importantly, no afternoon energy/sugar crashes. So I’m going to stick with this for a while more and see how I feel.

  6. ATCLisa on October 19th, 2011 11:07 am

    Thank you for this, Karen. Good to know that I’m not alone when it comes to healthy food that does not work. It is unfortunate, but I feel better on this strict diet.

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