Leadership Insights by Jay-Ann Gilfoy
My commitment to fitness.
When I was a kid, I didn’t think of my self as particularly athletic. I tried softball, but wasn’t really that good. I swam and enjoyed that. I ran a little track, but was never considered athletic. Come to think about it, I was one of those not-first-picked-for-the-team kids.
I joined a fitness studio when I was 20 and began a life-long commitment (and at times, addiction) to fitness. I have run for fun, for speed, and for distance.
I have done step classes, boot camps, heavy weight lifting. I have experienced the benefits of Pilates, yoga, Barre, HiiT and spin.
Moving my body all in the name of challenging myself to learn something new, breathe deeper, and push beyond a typical comfort zone.
I love winter activities like skiing and snow-shoeing. I like summer activities like hiking, swimming, wake surfing, golfing and paddle-boarding. In the spring, I love the sense of being outside early in the morning when the air is fresh and the day is beginning. In the winter, I love to get all bundled up to sweat things out.
Over time, I have grown more confident and observed myself as an athlete, doing things I thought I couldn’t and gaining a great sense of satisfaction. I'll never be a world-class athlete. I don’t like extreme anything, but I do have a strong sense of endurance, commitment and passion. And I make sure that I do something pretty much every morning to start my day before any chaos can arrive and impact things.
Over the course of my life, exercise has made me a better parent, helped me through periods of depression, a divorce, two kids, multiple job changes, family health issues and a multitude of trying times. There have been occasions where I felt too busy or things were too hard to keep going but I endured, and I think it has been one of my key success factors. There is no better problem-solving tool then going for a run, walk or cycle. After 45-minutes to an hour, I feel completely capable to make a key decision, choose a different path than what I was originally thinking, open up my mind to other possibilities, or decide to let go of whatever it was that was bugging me in the first place.
Exercise has also allowed me to indulge in things I love like wine and chocolate, and I am a big believer in moderation.
Lately I have been reading a lot about meditation and the power that you can generate from that. My daily morning activities are my form of mediation. If I am doing something that I really need to concentrate on, it helps to ground me. If I am doing something that my body already knows, I can zone out and find that place of inner peace where all I hear is my breath and all I feel is fully and completely alive and ready to lead on.
Each day is a gift, and I like to start the day with some sort of gratitude to my body for keeping me capable and agile in how I deal with the things that can be thrown my way. I look at some of my family, friends and mentors who are much older than I and still are doing the things they love, and I admire their continued commitment to health and wellness.
I am excited to be joining the Board of Directors of ParticPACTION. I see this opportunity as a way to merge my passion for health with helping to build stronger organizations.
Jay-Ann Gilfoy, a visionary senior leader who develops high-performing teams with a future-oriented focus on people, purpose + profits all operating at their highest potential. Learn more about Jay-Ann here.
Learn more about our PowHERhouse AMPLIFY program for senior leaders here.