If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll have noticed that I focus on sharing insights on how you can improve your career outlook by applying various techniques I’ve learnt over time and which helped me accelerate my career up to the C-Suite. Most of these have been mentally orientated, except one Stretch your way to Wealth. You obvious know that keeping your body strong is essential if you want a strong mind. You probably also know that Executive Presence has a lot to do with how you look and how you feel about yourself. However, there are other things you need to be thinking about and doing. I’ve summarized the most important ones below in the 5 things you need to do if you want to be a top performer.
You’ll notice that these things aren’t new. You’ve probably heard about some of them before. Possibly you have been doing something about it. Possibly you haven’t.
I myself struggle with some of them.
However, it is imperative, not only to having a strong body and mind that helps you improve your career prospects and wealth creation, but also for another important reason: extending your life expectancy and being in a good position to make the most of your (hopefully early) retirement.
1. Don’t smoke
Don’t start rolling your eyes if you smoke. Rather quit and quit now. If you don’t smoke, good. Don’t start now after reading this. Studies are pretty clear on this one: smoking shortens your life expectancy dramatically. How can you enjoy your early retirement if you’re dead?
I’ve heard people say that the best business conversations happen outside with the smokers, and if the boss smokes, it is a great way to catch up with him or her. Rubbish!
The best business conversations can happen at any time. Pop your head in the boss’s office if you need to chat about something. Stop someone in the corridor if you want a conversation. Everyone likes talking. We’re humans and we thrive on personal interaction.
You don’t need to kill yourself to get ahead in your career.
2. Don’t abuse the alcohol
I struggle with this one personally. I like the odd glass of great Bordeaux, especially the Graves region, at the end of a long work day. A cold Macon or Chablis in summer is a pure delight. Then again, I’ve struggled with the morning after as well and felt the lack of energy and mental agility after spending time with a nice bottle of wine the night before.
Don’t be excessive about it.
Try not to drink during the work week. Save it for the weekend and then don’t go overboard.
3. Work out regularly
Given my working hours and having two young boys, this is lower on my priority list than it should be at the moment.
The studies are also quite clear on this one. Work out for at least 30 minutes a day. That’s right – everyday.
Walking, jogging and cycling are techniques that can get you out of a car and into working out regularly. Maybe you live too far from your work, but you don’t need to eat in the office? You can pick a spot that is a brisk 15 minute walk away. A round trip is 30 minutes and if you need to eat at your desk, you’ll be able to do that, just take a 30 minute break to get your food.
Regular breaks during the day have been shown to improve concentration and productivity, so don’t think you need to stay glued to that screen the entire workday.
4. Eat good food that is healthy
We all know sugar in excess is not good for us. So, don’t eat it in excess. Prepared foods that need a microwave to eat should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t have time, you say? A salad is quick to prepare and can be all fresh. Throw in some smoked salmon or tuna and you start getting something consistent. You might not like it at first, but who said changing habits was easy?
Your life expectancy is more important than the 1 minute high you may get from that ice-cream.
Eat food that is high in antioxidants. Studies show that they seem to maintain you and your body longer.
Listen to your body as well. How do you feel after that massive burger and fries? Light and agile or heavy and tired?
It is amazing the feedback we can get from ourselves.
Defining healthy is not always easy but there is enough literature out there for you to get your head around it and define it for yourself.
5. Stay slim
Sounds obvious right? Probably difficult?
If you’re eating healthy food and working out or exercising 30 mins a day, then it should start becoming easier.
Waist line more than 40 inches/102cm (Men) or 35 inches/89cm (Woman)? Not good. You’ve got to do something about it, so see the above points.
Keeping slim adds years to your life and significantly improves your Executive Presence.
Bringing it all together
Life expectancy is a combination of many factors, and it is important to know them.
Working hard, improving your career and amassing wealth is one thing, being able to enjoy it is another.
Looking after your body, helps you improve the ability of your mind to learn and react. It improves how you look and how you feel about yourself. It improves your confidence.
Confidence comes from you feeling good about who you are and what you can do.
Confidence increases when you perform well, and more confident people are more likely to get ahead in their careers and life.
Following the 5 simple things above will help you progress in what you can do at work, it will improve how people see you and how you feel. It will also add significant years to your life, so that when you retire and want to enjoy the wealth you have amassed, you’ll be in great health to do all those things you can’t do at the moment, for lack of time.
Remember, this is a long-term game. Trying to change years of habits takes time.
Ask yourself these questions:
Who do you want to be and what do you want to look like in 5 years’ time?
What job do you want to have in 5 years’ time?
What does your bank balance look like in 5 years’ time?
Now use these techniques to start putting those ideas into motion. It is not meant to be easy, so take it a step at a time and keep your goals in focus.