The Healthy Executive

Executive BS: What’s Your Excuse?

stiff branson

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, states that working out gives him at least four extra hours each day to be productive.

The Top 3 Excuses I hear from out-of-shape executives are:

“I don’t have time”

“I hate the gym”

“I’ll deal with it later”

I totally get this. I’ve written before about how my life fell apart using those excuses plus many others.

If you are not a billionaire (yet),  I’m going to let you in on a productivity secret used by elite business performers.

But first, let’s take a quick look at how we get into a rut of bad habits.

A Fast-Easy-Way To A Better Life

There are two ways to live life: The slow. . . freakin’. . .hard. . .way OR the fast-easy-way.

The slow. . . freakin’. . .hard. . .way looks like this:

Good judgment comes from experience,

Experience comes from bad judgment.

This way of learning takes TIME.clock

Who the hell has that kind of time?

It’s painful for me to admit this but I wasted 20. . . 20#$%#@!!! . . .YEARS of my time :(

Don’t be a dumbass like me and do these things:

  • Follow the rules, study hard and get good grades:
    • I got 3 gold stars by my name in kindergarten. I was such a little tool.
  • Get a job, work hard, be a company man:
    • I bought into EVERY line of corporate initiative bullshit. Everyone but me could see I was an idiot.
  • Sacrifice everything to get to the top of the ladder:
    • Every promotion meant a little more pay for a LOT more hours. The higher I climbed, the LESS I made per hour.

nuetronAnd my reward for learning the slow. . . freakin’. . .hard. . .way?

  • I gained 55 lbs due to neglecting my health:
    • In India, being fat is a sign of prosperity. My Indian friends kept telling me “Mr Jeff, you are VERY VERY prosperous”.
  • I was away from home 21 days a month…which led to divorce:
    • I traveled the world closing multi-million dollar deals. My ex-wife got a 50% commission in the settlement.
  • I traveled so much for business I didn’t want to travel for vacation:
    • I was so BUSY making a living…that I had no time left over to live life.

miserable moneyI followed the conventional wisdom of slow. . . freakin’. . .hard. Eventually I made several million dollars in high-tech.

And I was completely miserable.

There had to be a better way.

Let me cut right to the chase.

The fast-easy-way is so simple I COMPLETELY missed it.

It works like this:

Observe successful people and copy their habits. That is all.

This is key: pick heroes you personally admire and feel inspired to emulate.

Don’t be a dumbass like me and fall into the trap of copying heroes that society says you “should”.

Let me share one simple example of how this works in practice for billionaires. And hey, if it works for Sir Richard Branson, maybe you should check it out.

You Are Not A Brain In A Jar

Executive Brain In Jar

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy?

I coach successful executives who are peak performers at the top of the business pyramid.

But often they suffer from “brain in a jar syndrome”. Like I once did.

”Brain in the Jar” syndrome simply means pursuing the highest levels of Maslow’s hierarchy at the expense of the foundational levels.

Maslow's Hiearchy

BUT, there is a fast-easy-way to over come brain in a jar syndrome!

Great business leaders routinely put it at the top of their list. So listen up and learn from their example and copy their habits:

  • oracleLarry Ellison, founder of Oracle and ranked as the fifth wealthiest person on Earth, follows a disciplined routine to maintain his strength and stamina.[1]
  • Elon Musk, founder Tesla and SpaceX, co-founder PayPal and multi-billionaire businessman works out regularly and plays sports like tennis and swimming.[1]
  • Tim Cook, CEO Apple Inc. is known to be a fitness freak and loves cycling, hiking, and works out on a regular basis.[1]

Clearly a foundation of solid health plays a key role supporting the brains of these business leaders.

Why is this the case? Why do they do it? And how can you use this fast-easy-way in your business?

Consider the following reasons and tips:

  • Productivity
    • virginRichard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, has stated that working out gives him at least four extra hours each day to be productive. Consider the other side of the coin: health-related productivity losses account for 77% of all employee productivity losses according to this study.
    • Tip: Research shows that productivity falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours – so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours. Reinvest those non-productive office hours into your health by shifting your mindset and habits.
  • Leadership Strength
    • appleYour personal brand matters in your career and your health and fitness is a part of your brand. Did you know that men worry more about their appearance than their jobs? (according to a recent TODAY/AOL survey). A study in the Journal of Labor Research found workers who exercise regularly earn 9 percent more on average than employees who donít work out. Even those who work out just one to three times a week see a slight earning advantage over their sedentary peers, making slightly more than 5 percent in additional pay.
    • Tip: It pays to make fitness a part of your personal brand. Think of working out as giving your career a raise.
  • Travel Stamina
    • teslaIncreased success in your career often means increased business travel. Early morning flights and late evening client dinners disrupts normal sleeping, eating, and exercise routines. Many tired executives struggle with stress-eating on the road.
    • Tip: Healthy road warriors travel with energy bars to forgo airport food, and develop simple bodyweight routines they can do in their hotel rooms.
  • Networking
    • In the not so distant past, savvy career climbers knew how to to network with senior executives over a cigarette or a drink. Times have changed, and now a smart way to network is at the fitness club or playing sports. Workplace wellness challenges are becoming more popular because they are fun and also promote lots of networking and camaraderie.
    • Tip: Consider pedaconferencing. Like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg (FaceBook) and Jack Doresy (Square) are believers in walking meetings.
  • Appearance Bias
    • bizmanWhile it’s not fair, experts agree that a person’s appearance can affect the outcome of one’s job search and potential for advancement in the workplace. Obese workers (those who have a Body Mass Index of more than 30) are paid less than normal-weight coworkers at a rate of $8,666 a year for obese women, and $4,772 a year for obese men, according to a George Washington University cited by salary.com.
    • Tip: Besides being unhealthy, extra weight could be costing you money in your career. Many companies offer financial wellness incentives including discounts on health insurance, subsidized weight management programs, and health coaching.

So now you know two fast-easy-ways to a successful life:

  1. Emulate your heroes:
    • Pick people you admire — copy their shit.
  2. Take care of your foundation (health):
    • If billionaires can find time for their health — so can you.

PLEASE don’t be like me and take 20 years of making mistakes to figure this out the slow. . . freakin’. . .hard. . .way

Richard Branson



Also published on Medium.

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