By Seth Streeter, MS, CFP®
CEO of Mission Wealth
“The greatest wealth is health.” – Virgil
As a holistic wealth advisor, I am committed to helping my clients achieve true abundance in their lives across multiple dimensions. Physical health is a critical foundation of wealth, and without it very little can be experienced or enjoyed.
In my quest for insights, I am continually seeking world class experts for tips and strategies to achieve the highest levels of vitality possible. When it comes to health, The LAB / P3 in Santa Barbara is a beacon of information. In this state-of-the-art facility, professional athletes of all varieties come with their trainers to assess, refine and restructure their programs to optimize results and prevent injury. Advanced computer-aided testing and diagnostics are utilized along with leading sports physicians and trainers to pinpoint a customized approach to become the best YOU possible.
I sat down and spoke for a bit with Alex Ash, the Director of Training at The LAB, and Dr. Marcus Elliott, the founder, and from them I learned the following valuable concepts about physical health:
What does being healthy mean to you?
The LAB experts said it all begins with your definition of health. Think about the following questions:
- How do you define physical health?
- What are the most influential sources that guided your answer?
- Is this definition your ideal target for your personal health level?
- Are you taking the necessary steps to express this version of a healthy you?
There are many ways to define physical health. For some it is looking good in a bathing suit. For others it is being able to finish 100 burpees in 2 minutes or being able to take on new challenges without any physical limitation. And, for many, it is simply waking up with an overall sense of well-being. Each of these answers reflects different values and priorities that will affect the way we manage our body, habits and our expectations.
I learned that it is important to reflect on how current pop culture definitions of health may be influencing our own individual definitions. Clearly, health is a very personal thing, and it’s important that we all become clear with how we want to express it in our own lives.
Getting on track
Here are some guidelines I learned from Alex at The LAB that will help you uncover your own purest form of health expression. Or, in other words, how to make your health your wealth:
Step 1: Honestly evaluate what aspects of health are most important to you and write down a hierarchy of health priorities.
Step 2: Identify what you will be able to effectively change by yourself and in what ways you need further help, knowledge or guidance.
Step 3: Seek out help in specialized areas from experts who can design, measure, track, and adapt your program to ensure positive results.
Step 4: Be persistent. Many habits can take a while to have significant impact. Tracking and measuring results will help identify small steps forward. If you don’t see any small wins after 3 to 5 months, perhaps it is worth considering changing your plan. But do not forget that physiological change can sometimes take over a full year of consistent and persistent effort before change occurs. Don’t ever give up.
Customization and values
The LAB experts said that while there are known contributors to health (such as cardiovascular vitality, skeletomuscular strength, endurance, flexibility, body composition, stress management, quality sleep, nutrition, disease prevention, and various other categories), it is important to recognize that every person requires their own customized approach. Someone who just recently discovered that they are at an increased risk for heart disease would likely want to put most of their focus on managing their cardiovascular health: by assessing and improving body composition, consistently exercising in a way that strengthens the heart and lungs, adopting techniques to manage their stress and consuming foods that don’t clog arteries. With heart disease being the number one killer of Americans, this should be fairly relevant for a lot of people, but it won’t be the main focus for everyone.
For many people, using their bodies through sport or in an adventure that puts them closer to nature creates an extraordinarily meaningful psychological experience. It drives how they see themselves and their place in this world, and it sparks a common bond with other athletes who share this same passion. If they lose their physical ability to participate in these activities, they may confront significant emotional and social loss. For those who value this active lifestyle, strength, athleticism, and injury prevention are likely going to be the focus of their health regimens.
The experts at The LAB said that how you value and define your fullest expression of health will drive your focus, required resources and approach.
More topics to think about
What can you already do by yourself? After identifying what aspect of your own health you’d like to improve, it’s important to identify places you’ve had success in dealing with this issue. Perhaps it’s something you learned from working with a specialist in the past, or something you researched and found worked for you.
After identifying these successes, use them to create a plan to stick with for at least 3 to 5 months and identify ways in which you can measure your success. If sleep is an issue for you, you can journal the length and quality of each night’s sleep. At least once a month, look back over the big picture and evaluate if you have made advances and if any modifications to your approach may be required.
If you are not making progress on your own, or you have no idea where to begin, reach out to a specialist who can advise and track your progress for you. Also, there are many apps and devices available today that can serve in a surrogate trainer/coach capacity.
Make sure you are choosing good resources. Tracking progress is a critical component on your road to health mastery. Finding someone who can show you clear before-and-after results from multiple patients is an important first clue to whether they will be able to help you. This applies to all aspects of physical health, including getting a cardiovascular profile done from your doctor, measuring movement inefficiencies such as joint range of motion or joint stability or tracking your diet. In our big-data age where almost everything can be measured, we need to remain discerning to ensure we are only tracking the most relevant factors to achieving our goals.
Who can hold you accountable? We are the company we keep, so finding a tribe of peers who share your commitment to health may be a crucial contributor to realizing your goals. Finding the right group of people who are on a similar committed path as you may help you find the motivation and fresh approaches to overcome the health challenges you are struggling with.
Be honest. Learning to take complete control over your own vision of health starts with being fully honest with yourself. You have to learn to be your own master and not rely on others to provide a vision or definition of your health. You can then take ownership over your progress. Even if you’ve hired specialists to help guide you toward your goal, they will not be able to make the important internal adjustments that will ultimately transform habits that will lead to optimal health. Your body is your temple, so you need to treat it accordingly.
Wealth, in all of its dimensions, is something that is accumulated and protected over time. Without physical health, our material possessions and life experiences cannot be fully enjoyed. Our physical health is our vehicle to create impact and connection in our work, relationships and in the community. It will allow us to participate in the activities that feed our soul. Health and wealth are interrelated to be able to enjoy true abundance. Here’s to you taking positive steps today to express your health and wealth into the world.