Leverage Wellbeing for Success – with Megan McNealy

If you love inspiring comeback stories, then this show is for you. My guest shares the details of her health breakdown due to the stress of her busy corporate career. Instead of taking her life, this crisis got her attention and motivated her to take a hero’s journey to wellbeing. 

Megan McNealy is the bestselling author of Reinvent the Wheel: How Top Leaders Leverage Wellbeing for Success, and she’s a wellbeing thought leader for the world’s top executives. In this episode, Megan and I discuss the mistaken belief pervasive in our workplaces that doing well is more important than being well, how to achieve your best self and harness the power of your own well – being wheel to manage stress and start a healing path, and how she was able to heal her body while working full – time and managing a family. If you keep putting well – being on the back burner because work takes priority, then you’ll get a lot from this episode. Megan proves that it’s possible to heal from chronic disease and failed relationships and bounce back to create a vibrant life at home and work. Check out this episode to discover how well – being drives, promotes, and accelerates success.

Curiosity is the key

Having an autoimmune disease that is supposedly incurable is a tough situation to handle. Megan had to determine within herself to find her own healing since doctors gave her no other hope. She viewed the disease as a visitor that had a specific message to tell her, and then she believed that the disease would go away. Curiosity was the impetus to help her uncover the layers of knowledge she needed, so she read every book, researched every theory, and interviewed every healer she could find to discover truth. She created a wheel of every action that worked for her. See our Resources section to download it for free.

Wellbeing drives success

In just one example of the elements of well – being, we know that sleep is essential for our health. The body gives us messages that are unique to us. Rheumatoid arthritis froze Megan’s hands into fists constantly to the point that she couldn’t function normally. She saw it as the outward manifestation of how she was on the inside, scrunched up and immobilized by stress and anger. Megan learned that well – being drives success and is foundational, instead of something that hinders and destroys your career. She discovered that prioritizing health and well – being led to an unprecedented blossoming of her career.

Stories of success

Megan’s book features the healing stories of many famous people who have excelled in specific areas of wellness. Through her niche market of working with executives, Megan identified leaders who used their journeys to well – being to leverage their success. Her purpose in writing the book was to help others feel less lonely on their healing journeys. She was able to include stories from heavy hitters and endorsers who were happy to help share their success in well – being.

Living an extraordinary life

Megan’s words are extraordinary. Whether it’s a conversation, night out, date, or work event, she owns this viewpoint that she won’t take part if it isn’t extraordinary. With all that she’s been through, Megan has really high standards for her busy life of juggling an executive career, a demanding side hustle, and life as a single mom. She is determined only to fill up her free time with things that are extraordinary so that she doesn’t waste a single moment on the mundane. 

Protect the asset

Recently, Megan called several of the executives that were featured in her book to see how they were spending time during the coronavirus pandemic. All of them were doing something productive to protect the assets of themselves, taking care of themselves in ways like walking, jogging, or exercising in the fresh air. When we face a stressful time, we’re tempted to think it’s the worst time, but successful leaders pivot from that mindset to turn difficulties into the best times for their businesses. Megan calls their viewpoint a different vibration. Another trait of these leaders is that they have figured out what brings them joy, and they incorporate those activities into their daily lives.

Learning to relax

Achievement-oriented people have a difficult time meditating and focusing on just breathing. An activity of moving meditation, like painting, can help someone really sink into who they are. It becomes a chance to be with the best part of yourself and ground yourself in quiet moments of joy and gratitude to find well – being. Relaxing is hard for people who are used to doing things all the time. Painting, journaling, watching the sunset, and observing the hummingbirds can be moments of pure joy that revive your soul and spirit. 

Megan’s wheel of wellbeing

Megan took all the knowledge she gleaned from books, doctors, healers, and experts, and put each element of well – being on a wheel. There are 18 different elements divided into three sections of six items each for the body, mind, and spirit. Examples of the elements would be sleep for the body, speaking your truth for your mind, and savoring spirit-lifting hobbies for your spirit. These elements impact your personal and professional life, and each one is equally weighted. Any one of these items can bring you down if it is ignored, and any one of them can boost your wellness in impactful ways. 

Alignment, not martyrdom

Our culture expects us to sacrifice well – being for martyrdom. Why do we listen? Megan believes her life is a three-legged stool of herself, her children, and her partner, and that all three legs have to be balanced and in alignment. She wants her daughters to see her thrive and be well because she owes it to them to show them that the sky’s the limit when it comes to their well – being and their achievement in life. The truth is that women can only best serve others in their lives if they take the best care of themselves and find alignment. 

Highlights of this episode:

  • 10:37 – How Megan healed herself
  • 13:54 – Foundations of well – being
  • 24:58 – Healing stories of successful leaders
  • 28:51 – Why Megan does only extraordinary things
  • 31:45 – Protect the asset, change your vibration, and look for joy
  • 39:03 – Difficulties for achievement-oriented people
  • 45:12 – Megan’s revolutionary well – being wheel
  • 50:44 – Why our culture expects martyrdom
  • 1:00:03 – Women need to honor themselves
  • 1:00:33 – Fem Five

Resources mentioned:


Find Megan on LinkedIn or Instagram, @meganmcnealy

Email Megan: megan@meganmcnealy.com

Find Megan’s free gift, her wellbeing wheel: www.meganmcnealy.com/assessment  

Untamed by Glennon Doyle Melton

The Fem Five: 

  1. Favorite book to recommend for women? Untamed by Glennon Doyle Melton

2. Favorite self-care hack? “Hydrating myself. I drink a lot of green tea.”

3. Best piece of advice and who gave it to you? “From Oprah, I learned to ask how I can serve others.”

4. Female CEO or thought leader you’re into right now? Kara Goldin, CEO of Hint

5. One piece of advice you’d give your five years younger self? “You will be healed.”

Last Time on The NextFem Podcast

Don’t Let Anxiety Call the Shots – with Dr. Kathleen Smith

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