There is immense value in a solid morning routine.  Ariana Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Howard Shultz, and countless others have well-documented routines they claim greatly contribute to their successes.  

Since each day has the same 24 hours, why shouldn’t we evaluate all minutes equally? I did just that when I reached out to many of the great leaders I studied from Building the Best to find out exactly what they do during lunch. Their answers varied, but they all have a common theme: focus less on food and more on health. By health, I mean body and soul, but more importantly the health of their relationships with others.  

Always Focus on Relationship Building

We’ve all seen a CEO or boss eating their lunch alone. While it might happen occasionally, the best leaders don’t make a habit out of it.  Jason Lippert, CEO of Lippert Components, said, “If I do eat, I never eat alone. It’s always with one of my teammates or customers so that I can work on developing meaningful relationships with the most important people to our business.”

Leadership is all about relationships and what better way to build relationships than through the breaking of bread. Bypass solo lunches at your desk and make a point to never eat alone. 

Excercise with a Group

The lunch hour is a popular time for professionals to make their way to the gym.  Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage, said “I don’t spend a lot of time eating during my lunch hour. I can eat in 3 minutes but it takes me a lot longer than that to work out. I structure my day to where I can workout in the Movement Gym with other teammates.  Turns out to be a great opportunity to collaborate with others, knock out my daily health goal, and check-in with new Movement employees I don’t know well yet.”

Not every leader has a gym in their office but Casey’s routine is a powerful one. Instead of allowing the lack of gym to hinder your exercise with others, ask teammates to go on a walk outside or head to the closest gym.  

Focus on What Goes In

Most leaders have such busy days they rarely get the opportunity to carve out a whole hour for lunch.  Chip Brewer, CEO of Callaway Golf, spends as much time as he can with team members during lunch but he also leverages healthy options, “I’m very particular about what I eat. When traveling, I’m often at a lot of big dinners.  When in the office, I eat a low carb and low sugar diet – lots of salads with chicken.”

Not only is Brewer worried about his waistline, he knows he is fueling his momentum for the rest of the day.  By switching out your favorite carb riched lunch with something lean and healthy, your afternoon performance will see a jump.  

The moral of the story is to use your lunch hour to build stronger relationships and a healthier you. Whether you’re focused on one of these activities or all three, your leadership will be well served.