By Batista Gremaud
Leif Meneke is a human optimization coach and founder of Grey Fox Consulting. He guides Business Leaders to transform their relationships with their businesses to have a greater impact and live their most vital lives.
Q: From Wall Street to High-Performance Coach for Business Leaders. How did that happen? What's your story?
Fourteen years ago, I had the outward appearance of success. I cut my teeth on Wall Street as a leadership development and Human Capital expert with highly complex global organizations like American Express, Pfizer, and Deutsche Bank.
But the truth was I couldn't lead myself. I was impulsive, suffered from the traumas and dramas of my past, and misused substances to escape feelings of inadequacy.
I got so sick I was diagnosed with medical catatonia. That was the diagnosis my team of medical doctors gave me.
After a medication meant to cure me failed, I decided to cash it in. My ex found me unconscious in my apartment, and I woke up in a hospital bed.
I remember thinking; this is my life! How did I get here?
As I stared at the white patient band around my wrist, I thought I was looking at a surrender flag. I kept repeating to myself, "I surrender. I surrender."
I realized I didn't want to die; I just no longer wanted to be that guy who couldn't make his life work.
I decided to make the most of the life I had left, so I set off on a road trip that took me all around the United States for six months. I had been practicing Shamanic drumming with a teacher for a while, so I took my drum and went into nature. I dreamed, I screamed, cried, and pleaded. Finally, I let it all out, and over time I started to heal and get better.
The pivotal moment was when I came into a new relationship with fear while standing on top of a boulder in Joshua Tree. What if there's an earthquake? What if a strong wind blows me over? I could feel my heart beating faster and my mind coming up with strange scenarios! That is when I heard the wind whisper: "Fear is not trusting yourself or not trusting God, the Universe!" As I admired the overwhelming beauty in nature, I wept and fell back in love with life.
That collection of experiences is why I am so passionate about helping leaders optimize their lives to positively impact the world.
Q: How do you incorporate your life experience into your coaching?
I work primarily with business owners who have created or built their dream business and a monster that sucks the life out of them. My clients are generally at a pivotal point in their business where they want to make a change, whether to scale their business, sell, or take it to a new level. So my work plays at the intersection of leadership, performance, and Health.
So many leaders are out of alignment; they're unhealthy, overweight, drink excessively, and smoke. It is wasted energy and wasted opportunity.
If you transform yourself, you will change your business, so I work with my clients on three levels:
First, aligning the self, which is deep transformational work. I incorporate my knowledge of neuroscience and my awareness of indigenous wisdom. Science is now starting to catch up with the teaching of our ancestors. I guide my clients to reimagine and recreate their relationship with their work.
Then bring that out to their team, which is vitally important, particularly for business owners, to have an optimized team.
Lastly, I help align the whole organization and get it going in the right direction.
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Q: What is the difference between Healing, Curing, and Optimizing?
Healing means coming into balance and homeostasis. It does not necessarily mean that you will be cured. Curing is removing and eliminating that dis-ease, illness, or virus from the body.
The problem today is that so many people believe they can just take a pill to be cured, but they don't embark on the healing Journey.
Disease is a teacher, and we are not learning the lessons when we don't change. If nothing changes, nothing will change. We have all seen people who don't make the changes needed to heal and end up right back where they started.
Optimizing is about taking the good that is present and making it better; it is growth-oriented.
We come from nature. We are a part of nature. We are not separate from it. So, those biorhythms and the chronotypes, the cycles and seasons of our bodies, at whatever stage of life we are, are one of the foundations of optimizing.
Q: In a practical sense, how do you optimize this human vehicle?
Here are some of the steps I take
A gratitude journal is a great way to start the day. I write, and I get things off my chest.
I spend time in nature. I'm an avid outdoorsman. That is my time to center myself and clear my head.
I follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
I practice several biohacking modalities, such as hyperbaric chambers.
I've also been strength training and going to the gym for many years.
I push myself and practice consciously getting out of my comfort zone, the most potent tool to optimize ourselves, in my opinion.
The Greeks talked about the male need for physical fitness and the need to challenge and compete with each other as part of the male makeup. Unfortunately, we are losing some of that in today's society. We're losing what it means to be men. We lack the space for men to be men. As a result, men show up wounded and live small lives.
Q: What are your three takeaways?
First, you've got to be able to lead yourself before you can lead anyone else. That involves doing the personal work to come into alignment and a place of integrity and integration within yourself. That gives you the grounding to handle the chaos of the world. We live in a very complicated and complex world!
Second is, what got you here won't get you where you want to go. So when you're at that point in life where you find yourself on the hamster wheel, working too many hours, understand that the skills you need are not the ones that you have. It's time to change and learn a new skill set. This is an opportunity to become a new person. Ask yourself, "Who do I want to become?" and work backward from there.
Third is to hire a coach. Especially if you are at a point of transition, find those people who can guide you and will be honest with you.
Too many people, including spiritual advisors, guides, and coaches, aren't honest with their clients for fear of pissing them off. I love my clients, but I tell them: "I'm not your friend; I'm your coach; I'm here to help you to get the results that you're looking for. I'm interested in guiding you to create the mindset, habits, resources, and structure for your life to get you the desired outcomes."
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Batista Gremaud is the CEO and president of Dr Fitness International, an International Body Designer, Strength Training Expert, No1 Best Selling author of Feminine Body Design, Empowering Fitness For A Pain-Free Life, co-creator of the Feminine Body Design online strength training mentoring system, co-host of the Esoteric Principles of Bodybuilding, Recipient of the most outstanding fitness program 2019 by The Winners Circle, Mastermind at Sea. and producer of the Dr Fitness USA’s THE SHOW.
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