Christina Benty: Great Leaders Lead Their Own Lives, PowHERfully, First!
PowHERhouse recently interviewed Christina Benty, former politician and life-long learner, leader and lover of a positive and healthy lifestyle.
There is a rule of thumb for comedians: “Get off the stage while they are still laughing”. For politicians, maybe it should be “Get off the stage while you are still laughing”! After almost twelve years in local government, two terms on council and two terms as mayor, I chose to retire while I still loved what I did. My gut instinct led me into the role, and this Fall, it told me that it was time to move on. I have learned a thing or two over my tenure, not only about leading a community but more importantly, about leading my own life. How you really are in your private life is how you show up in your public life. The two are inseparably intertwined. If you truly want to be a leader, then you better lead your own life first.
The lives we live today are an accumulation of the choices we make day after day. Taking charge of one’s own life involves some very simple and yet profound daily decisions. It is akin to brushing your teeth. No one brushes their teeth once a month thirty times and expects a clean bill of health. That is ridiculous. Daily albeit tedious habits creates a compound effect. It is that way with everything in life. The small, incremental decisions you make on a daily basis shape your future. We are, and forever will be, a product of our choices in life. That is why it is so critical to choose your habits wisely.
Prior to my career in local politics, I worked as a fitness instructor, nutritional counsellor and a wellness consultant. In other words, I knew better than to ignore the importance of self-care. During my political career, I struggled to maintain a healthy diet, a consistent exercise routine and regular sleep patterns. Late night meetings and a busy travelling schedule made it tempting to talk myself out of exercise. Community events, conferences, and social gatherings seldom serve leafy greens, healthy fats, and lean protein.
However there are only two uncomfortable realities: the pain of disciple or the pain of regret. I knew that it was easier to stay in shape than it is to get into shape. Getting fit is hard work but when it comes to exercise and healthy eating, I wanted to live excuse free. Physical exercise and nutrition cannot be neglected for any length of time. Food can be either medicine or poison, and exercise is like fertilizer for the brain. In a world where sometimes your brain is the most important piece of equipment you have, size really does matter. Both exercise and nutrition help with focus and cognition. Current research demonstrates that intelligence is positively correlated with health. I confess, some days and weeks were more successful than others. However, in the long run, consistently moving in the same direction, even slowly, has allowed me to build a foundation of self-care that supports me to this very day.
I love the saying “It takes nine months to have a baby, no matter how many people you put on the job”. Health and fitness is not a destination; it is a process.
We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. So in the words of Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your ONE PRECIOUS LIFE?”
Describe your Mission.
TO BE A SOURCE OF JOY, LOVE, AND INSPIRATION TO OTHERS, TO HELP THEM SEE WHAT IS POSSIBLE,
Describe how you stay PowHERful and on the top of your game.
MONITORING MY SELF TALK, ASKING MYSELF HOW I WANT TO FEEL EACH DAY.
What is your ultimate dream for your business/Mission and where you’d like to take it.
TO WORK WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND DEVELOP AN EXCELLENT REPUTATION IN STRATEGIC PLANNING, STAFF RECRUITMENT, PERFORMANCE EVALUATION, GOVERNANCE TRAINING AND AS ASSET MANAGEMENT EVANGELIST! (OR TO MAKE LOTS OF MONEY PERFORMING/SINGING WITH A JAZZ BAND) 🙂
Describe what success looks like.
LOVING WHAT I DO AND BEING PAID WELL TO DO IT.
Describe your success strategy in one sentence.
I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO DO WHAT I NEED TO DO!!!!!!
What would you say your Top 3 Excellence Habits are (ie. habits that ensure your success).
STAYING FIT/ EATING HEALTHY/ INVESTING IN RELATIONSHIPS.
Describe your Top 3 Time Management Tips as they relate to your Mission.
1) I TAKE BABY STEPS
2) I CHUNK MY TIME AND I FOCUS ON WHAT I NEED TO DO
3) I ACKNOWLEDGE MY FEARS AND THEM LEAN INTO THEM
Describe your Top 3 Consistency Tips as they relate to your Mission.
1) DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO
2) WRITE IT DOWN
3) TAKE ONE ACTION EVERYDAY THAT MOVES YOU TOWARDS YOUR GOALS
Describe collaboration and what the looks like/feels like on the ground – how does it show up in your life?
I VALUE EXCELLENCE IN MY LIFE AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS. I WANT TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE AND HAVE THEM BRING OUT THE BEST IN ME.
Describe a favourite hobby or adventure.
CYCLING TRIPS, WINE TOURING.
Favourite energy meal or snack (healthy).
OLIVES, NUTS, GREEN SMOOTHIES.
Favourite indulgence or treat.
HIGH-QUALITY CHOCOLATE AND WINE!
Top 3 things on your Bucket List.
TO DO THE CAMINO IN SPAIN, CYCLING TRIP IN CALIFORNIA OR UTAH, WINE TOUR IN NAPA VALLEY.
What does giving back (fulfillment) look like to you?
HAVING MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS THAT PROVIDE SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT AND HOPE INTO THE LIVES OF OTHERS. I WANT TO USE MY INTERACTIONS WITH PEOPLE TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.
I never leave home without my…….. PINK WATER BOTTLE
Current favourite running song….. FIREBALL BY PIT BULL OR TITANIUM BY DAVID GUETTA
Fave quote or mantra? IF NOTHING IS NO, THEN ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
Photo credit: Brad Hunter