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  • Writer's pictureAlison Conigliaro-Hubbard

Leadership Mastery and the 4 Pillars of Wellness

I’m going to try something different but no less aligned to the idea of LEADERSHIP and MASTERY.

Not everyone knows that I have spent a lifetime in the pursuit of wellness. Did I always get it right? NO WAY! It started by trial and error as a teenager with up and down battles with food and eating disorders and oh so many different diets and fitness plans through the years.

In my early 20s I took graduate courses in biomechanics and physiology and anatomy and was certified as a fitness trainer. I appreciated the value of movement. I kept trialing new diets ‘THEY’ said were so perfect only to find, they weren’t.

In my early 30s I ended up with chronic migraines, but somehow, I knew I didn’t want to be on some chemical pill forever, so I weened myself off. The migraines came raging back every so often. I kept testing the diets and fitness plans du jour. I also traveled with some frequency to Mediterranean Italy, which plays into this story.

I was in my late 30s when I travelled back from Southern Italy after many visits, and I had a revelation: why did I always feel different eating pasta and pizza and gelato there than I would feel and look if I ate essentially those same things here? The only difference was quality of the ingredients. Overnight I went cold turkey – there would be no more processed food in my life. None. The food I would choose from here was going to be unadulterated, and I would be at choice on what FUEL I put into my body. My energy, my skin, my hair, my blood pressure – all improved for good. I studied everything I could on the topic, decided to also get certified as a holistic wellness coach, and on the side of work, I initiated a few wellness-oriented challenges about food and fitness that were mostly focused on mental toughness, with my network.

At about the same time I tried yoga for the first time. I had no knowledge of yoga, but a friend asked me to join him for a class. I was hooked. For the first time ever, I found that a consistent breathing practice, combined with movement and athleticism, and meditative music – would not only make me stronger physically, but it would do wonders for my ability to take on challenges at work and in life. Something else I noticed during this time was that getting the most from my exercise wasn’t all about going hard. I combined a regular yoga practice with walking and 3 days a week of some sort of cardio class or a 20-minute interval run. I was the fittest I had ever been during this time – mentally and physically, and I was at my least intense.

In years to come, I would find a variety of ways to incorporate moments of CALM into my life, and that would bring value to everything I set out to accomplish.

Despite all of this focus on wellness, I was diagnosed with cancer in 2020 because of a genetic mutation I had no control over. But my accumulated wealth of knowledge would become a partner through treatment. In addition to actively choosing the food that would FUEL me through, choosing the ways I would MOVE my body to remain strong, and choosing a meditation practice to find CALM through chaos, I knew there was another piece of the WELLNESS PUZZLE that was vital to success through this time in my life: JOY

I struggled with this after my dad passed away suddenly in 2015. Maybe it took too long for me to reconnect with this goofy, playful, joyful part of who I am!

Calm coupled with joyful moments centers us. Whether playing with my dog, dancing in the kitchen, connecting with a friend, playing drums, escaping to the beach to drink in the waves… the neurotransmitters in our body wake up blood flow, digestion, fight stress, and support longevity.

So, here are my 4 Pillars of WHOLE Wellness.As leaders in our lives, I ask you: WHAT COULD BE POSSIBLE, if we put aside the ‘either-or’, and the ‘I have too much on my plate’, and we summoned up the MENTAL FITNESS to incorporate each one of these into most of our days

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