GOAT employees

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WE almost always associate the letter combination MJ to superior athleticism. After all, most sportswriters will arguably consider retired NBA shooting guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls as the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) in the sport of basketball.

In the Legal Affairs Department of Philippine Airlines, we have an MJ whose athletic abilities, though not in the field of basketball, are superior to most lawyers. Some say he is mentally quick because he is physically healthy. He may not be the GOAT among athletes in PAL, but Michael Jourdan “MJ” Navarro has been one of the company’s more productive employees. And in recognition of his performance, he was named one of the finalists in the Individual Contributor of the Year category of PAL’s Shining Through Appreciation and Recognition Awards. Among his 2018 contributions include his tireless efforts in filing the necessary pleadings and presenting compelling arguments before the Civil Aeronautics Board to procure the much-needed fuel surcharge for PAL and his vital role in drafting and
formalizing guidelines in the handling of unruly passengers.

But one of the admirable attributes of PAL’s MJ is his health and fitness regimen. Aside from competing in iron man events, MJ also rides the bike on a regular basis, rain or shine, using state-of-the-art biking gear. A triathlete who recently went vegan, MJ is conscious of what he eats and what he drinks; hence, he opted to have a vegan diet late last year. MJ once brought “meatball” (red beans instead of ground beef) pasta to the office. It tasted almost the same sans the real meat. It is always a challenge to eat healthy, for vegans in particular, due to the unavailability of vegan dishes in the Philippines.

I have often wondered about the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian diet. I was told that while both do not consume meat, vegans do not eat eggs, milk, honey or any food derived from animals. In contrast, most vegetarians consume dairy (Lacto-vegetarians), while some vegetarians consume eggs as well (Ovo-vegetarian). In my case, I opted to go pescatarian at the start of the year. Similar to a vegetarian, I opted to abstain from all kinds of meat, poultry included, but resorted to just fish and seafood as my sources of protein on top of the usual vegetables. In my first 30 days though, I felt sluggish and lethargic, perhaps due to the lack of carbohydrates. I surrendered.

A healthy worker is a productive worker. Whenever we report to work feeling refreshed and energized, we tend to have the motivation to do more for the company. Ian Larkin, a management professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that “showing up feeling better means people work harder on a day-to-day basis.” In one of his studies, Larkin said that employee wellness programs, which help improve their diet and exercise habits, contribute to the reduction of absenteeism. In PAL, our wellness programs include yoga, zumba and even MMA sessions after office hours. I cannot imagine MJ doing zumba, but MJ and I once attended a yoga session initiated by the Human Capital Department of PAL. I think yoga is one exercise that benefits our body, mind and soul. I must go back to yoga soon.

In the Bible, 1 Timothy 4:8 tells us, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” Part of employee wellness should also include programs to nourish the soul. Intermittent fasting has become one of the more popular diets in recent years. But, for believers, fasting is not about losing weight but more about connecting to the Spirit within. When believers deprive themselves of food, they are more mindful that man does not live on bread alone. Physical wellness is not sufficient for a productive life, as we all need some kind of spiritual nourishment.

In the Legal Affairs Department of PAL, we usually start and end each meeting, however short, with a personalized prayer from one of the lawyers. For the past few months, lawyers and paralegals have participated in a weight reduction wager (“Biggest Loser”) in their attempt to jump-start a healthier lifestyle. Intermittent fasting, vegan, pescatarian or any other disciplined diet will likely lead to a healthy weight loss. A servant leader creates an environment that promotes both the physical and spiritual wellness of employees. By doing so, these leaders produce GOAT employees in the workplace, that is, Godly Overachievers All the Time.

For questions and comments, please e-mail me at [email protected]