My weight had been an issue my whole life. I was always the chubby kid, always taller and bigger than my peers. Because of that, I was uncomfortable and depressed. I remember gym class in particular, because I was slower than all the other kids. It was an especially difficult time for me because it’s where I experienced the most bullying. When I was 18, the summer I had just graduated from high school, I lost all my friends. I was miserable, alone, depressed, and suicidal. It was after a failed suicide attempt that I realized I didn’t want to live my life like this anymore. I wanted to be comfortable and confident in my own skin.
One of Google’s earliest executives, Chade-Meng Tan, teaches a popular course for Google employees that helps build such qualities. It’s demonstrated positive benefits for success and wellbeing. And much research confirms that self-examination is critical for leaders’ positive development. For example, Scott Keller, a director at McKinsey & Company, described the importance of overcoming self-interest and delusion in the Harvard Business Review. He emphasized the need for openness to personal growth and development, because “deep down, (leaders) do not believe that it is they who need to change...” and that “the real bottleneck...is knowing what to change at a personal level.” Self-awareness also expands the capacity to know what not to pursue, not just what to go after, as Greg McKeown, CEO of THIS, Inc., described regarding what he learned from an Apple executive.
Sports psychologists are hired by athletic teams and schools. A sampling of employers posting on the Association for Applied Sport Psychology website in late 2013 reveals a wide variety of organizations: Western State Colorado University, Bridgewater State University, K-State Athletics, the New York Mets. Perusing postings gives a sense of what top facilities are looking for (http://www.appliedsportpsych.org/resource-center/employment-opportunities).
If you make the right food choices and watch your portions but you find that you’re still struggling to lose weight, don’t forget to consider the calories consumed in your favorite sweetened beverages. “Café mocha’s or other popular coffee beverages, sweetened teas, sodas and fruit drinks can easily add 150 to 500 calories extra to your day and daily consumption can easily foster a pound or more weight gain per week,” says Gueron. Stick to water or unsweetened tea and save the sweetened stuff for a special treat.
Some exercise and sport psychology professionals are also licensed psychologists, who are doctorally trained individuals who have met their state's educational and training requirements and passed a comprehensive exam. These psychologists undergo specialized postdoctoral training in how to optimize athletes' performance and well-being. Only licensed psychologists may call themselves psychologists.
Psychological assessment and treatment are no silver bullet—and can in fact be gratuitous. For instance, a coach who trains executives to enhance their strategic-planning abilities need not be a psychiatrist. But don’t assume that all executives who have planning problems lack the necessary skills. Can a psychological disorder interfere with developing a business plan? Absolutely, if the client suffers from clinical depression, which is known to block one’s ability to engage in constructive, goal-oriented behavior. Without safeguards to prevent coaches from training those whose problems stem not from a lack of skills but from psychological problems, the executives being coached and the companies they work for will suffer.
Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave. Unlike some dramatic portrayals of hypnosis in movies, books, or on stage, you will not be unconscious, asleep, or in any way out of control of yourself. You will hear the therapist’s suggestions, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to act on them.