Thank you for your interest in my personal story on leadership. I’ve divided the story into life stages, for ease of progression and understanding. Enjoy!
Young and Clueless: What’s Your Position?
My journey with leadership started at a young age.
Dad always wanted us to be in positions of leadership. I am not sure if Dad knew the specific skillsets that maketh a leader, or the type of training that we would be exposed to when being a leader (of any sort) in school. I think all he knew was that it would translate to us being able to rise to a higher position at work. This of course would mean a more secure job and higher salary, and hence a more comfortable life. Dad was watching out for us.
Well… Dad had foresight. He was (and still is) a wise man.
Even if he didn’t exactly know the processes in-between, he knew the outcomes of being a leader in school would be favourable, and he wanted that for his children. Thank you Dad! I will do the same for my kids as well, but I have a little more clarity on the in-between processes, so I hope to be able to explain this for understanding and internalisation by my kids.
I went through school in various positions as a monitor, prefect, subject rep, house swimming captain and water polo vice-captain. They were all very position-centric. Leadership to me as I was growing up, was associated with a role and position. It was a role that commanded respect and this role was required to perform tasks and duties to lead a bunch of people.
Water Polo: The Role of Sport Participation
Water Polo was my life for the most part of my teenage years into my early twenties. And the sport is something I still am very passionate about. Today, I cannot say “it’s my life” anymore because family is my life and the responsibilities that come with being a husband, father and son take precedence.
But through Water Polo, I learned that leadership was not necessarily conferred to the most skilful or popular player. It was about heart, and it was about relationships and influence. It was about giving respect and commanding the same, it was about having the ability to rally together a bunch of people and possessing the courage to imagine the unimaginable, and to be able to move mountains together.
Water Polo taught me about life. And Water Polo taught me about leadership.
Adulting as an Employee: Values Define Us
Fast forward to adulting and I started my first job as a PE teacher.
Eight years as a PE teacher helped me understand the importance of character traits and values. I had a chance to delve deeper into leadership development and I was blessed to have been trained in coaching and facilitation. When I left service, I was Head of Department of Student Leadership, and I had successfully created a Leadership framework and assessment tool for the college.
From teaching, I understood and firmly believed that Leadership was closely anchored on character traits and values, and that these traits could be learned and trained.
In the years that followed, having the opportunity to helm other general management roles in hospitality and coworking taught me that leadership was also about people and crisis management.
Starting a Family: Decisions that Affect More Than Just Me
Getting married and settling down is a significant life stage where we no longer are living our own lives, but having to take into consideration our partner’s life as well. In marriage, I learnt that sometimes we need to take the lead, but other times we need to take a step back to have our partner take the reins.
Being a father, however, is a totally different level of leadership. I suddenly became even more acutely aware of the fact that leadership meant walking the talk. There was also little room for the shirking of responsibility. It was through fatherhood that I truly understood what it meant to put family as priority in my decision-making and actions.
As a Business Owner: Human Connection and Building Relationships
As a business owner and entrepreneur, leadership did not just mean leading a team towards a common vision that was commercially viable. It also meant having the courage to dream and to take risks. The success or poor performance of the business was not just going to apply to me and my family, but to everyone else in the team, including their respective families.
I learnt that trust as a leader, was the winning formula towards being able to build rapport with collaborators, clients and coworkers.
Leadership to me now: Living a Life of Wellness
The culmination of leadership experiences in my life have helped me formulate a framework that points towards the self-first. This should be the baseline of any individual, before projecting this leadership outwards, towards others. This is what I call Personal Leadership.
The key components of Personal Leadership are health and wellbeing. When we are able to prioritise this through engagement in a lifestyle centred on wellness activities, it is already half the battle won. My expertise, knowledge and experience in fitness, health and wellness combines very aptly with leadership, to have kickstarted the founding of Actxa Wellness.
When I started Actxa Wellness, our purpose was to help individuals and organisations by providing solutions to build positive wellness lifestyles, through engagement in nutrition, sleep and exercise, to improve health and elevate wellbeing. Our flagship Actxa Wellness Programme was developed exactly to achieve this.
Paying It Forward: Leading With Wellness
Another service that is offered by Actxa Wellness is the Leading With Wellness full-day workshop. We believe that to be able to lead others, we must first be able to lead ourselves. This is Personal Leadership. When we understand that wellness and wellbeing are the gateway to better health, we are able to engage the right strategies not just for ourselves, but also the teams we lead.
If you found this article insightful, do get in touch with us to find out more about our Leading With Wellness full-day workshop, where we believe that leadership first starts with self, and that incorporating wellness through engaging in nutrition, sleep and exercise, is the first step.
About Actxa Wellness
Actxa Wellness’ mission is to bring about sustainable lifestyle solutions through fitness, health and wellness. Our flagship programme is the Actxa Wellness Programme which provides employee wellness solutions to team build and create culture; elevate engagement and happiness; and improve overall mental wellbeing.
From providing hardware to track personalised physiological data, to leveraging a proprietary algorithm called the Healthy Living Score (HLS), to incorporating a tried-and-tested curriculum which includes workshops and challenges to engage and build sustainable positive lifestyle habits revolved around EAT, REST and EXERCISE, we have got our clients well covered.
About Alex Loh
Alex Loh is a consultant and coach in the fitness, health and wellness space, business owner, podcast host, loving husband and doting father. His compass is guided by the desire to help people. His focus is to help businesses and organisations harness fitness, health and wellness as the vehicle to build sustainable solutions. These sustainable solutions translate into elevated happiness and fulfilment for the individual and organisation.
As an everyday athlete active in various sports and fitness activities, he is a firm believer in wellness being the cornerstone of life. As a Wellbeing Champion, he is constantly exploring new ideas, activities and modalities on we can achieve greater general wellbeing. We only have one life, so we must live responsibly and be able to enjoy it. https://linktr.ee/alexlohsengyue