It stands to reason that even with great business knowledge and a huge portfolio of success; if you have severe health issue, you would rapidly loose appeal as the head of someone’s business.
It is one of the areas that many people in business overlook or is not even in their conscious awareness. Not drawing a parallel with fitness, good nutrition and hydration with the level of their performance. Any yet it can have such a profound effect on their business. On a pod cast interview (Self Made Man Podcast) Kevin Harrington (shark tank) stated to Mike Dillard, ‘I’m the same weight now as I was when I graduated high school. I think having a physically fir body adds to a good mental state.’
In recent times, there has definitely been growing interest in the correlation between physical health and fitness and the capacity for high performance. With patterns emerging in high performing business leaders and physical fitness and regular exercise. On its own it is perhaps not the sole most important factor for entrepreneurship. However, the overall health has a lot to do with their business approach and success
Most entrepreneurs are very familiar with the idea of goal clarity, the importance of measurement, positive attitude, emotional intelligence and feedback. Notably those entrepreneurs that are fit and healthy are perceived as more capable leaders, as well as having an understanding how to manage and balance personal needs as well as business needs.
How Does This Apply to Me?
How Healthy Diet and Lifestyle Relate to Entrepreneurship.
This applies to everyone, having a healthy and cared for body relates to your personal and business life alike. Especially those keen to achieve success and fine tune their body and their mind to work at their highest level. Eating healthy regular meals and exercising (especially muscle strengthening exercise) have been shown to have more energy for problem solving and creativity compared to those who struggle with their weight.
Not looking after your health and wellbeing can also have quite dramatic effects on your business that have been highlighted in various studies; on average healthy employees cost business 4.1 lost hours per week due to sickness/short term disabilities where as those with three or more health risks eg over weight, smoking, no exercise, etc cost on average 5.6 hours per week.
Most people are aware that certain types of meals can leave you feeling lethargic. Think of those Christmas lunches or you average Friday lunch down the pub. The type of food you consume can drastically influence your productivity. Further supported by the findings in the Harvard Business Review, “Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.”
Research Shows; Health Is Vital for a Healthy High Performing Business.
Research has shown that people perform better over a sustained period of time when they are feeling strong; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It was also highlighted within these studies that it is of course possible to perform well and with great skill even if they do not look after their health and wellbeing (drinking too much, overweight, smoking, etc). However, it was shown that it is difficult to maintain this over time without significant cost to themselves, family, and business.
It is also interesting to know that the Centre for Creative Leadership conducted a study that showed top executives and managers who were overweight were not perceived as highly effective in the workplace. There are distinct psychological stereotyping about what being ‘overweight’ means and as such when someone is seen as overweight, the initial perceived reaction is not positive.
On the other hand, those who are healthy are perceived as being more effective and motivated leaders. Fitness level does have a huge impact on energy levels which is perhaps one contributing factor to this perception that they are more energetic and enthusiastic.
So for the entrepreneur one’s business success is directly linked to one’s success in personal life and health is often a way that people measure your rate of personal achievement.
Mind, Body, Spirit and Emotional Wellbeing
It was mentioned in the ‘The Corporate Athlete’ Harvard Business Review (accumulation of over 20 years research) the ‘ideal performance state’ of a business person/entrepreneur. It noted key themes that are reflected in these four main essential elements; body, mind, spirit and emotion. Where traditionally the approach to high performance training had focused mainly on the mind. Ignoring the physical capacities which of course as mentioned previously are critical to long term performance.
The review highlighted that to reach this ‘ideal state’ it is essential to focus on building rituals around; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual capacities. The foundations of which is health and fitness (physical capacity), followed by emotions, mental focus and spiritual capacity (ability to motivate).
‘Work Fit’ For Entrepreneur’s
Like anything in the world of the entrepreneur there is no such thing as a push button for instant wellbeing and elite performance. However, adopting a ‘work fit’ mindset and culture is a great place to start. Many such programmes are beginning to be developed under the umbrella of ‘wellbeing’ or as specific fitness and mental resilience programmes.
So, what does ‘work fit’ look like or what are the key essentials to focus on;
Nutrition balance where toy have the correct information and education in nutrition and hydration.
Fitness programmes and regular exercise – this is where fitness monitoring and coaching can become highly advantageous.
Incorporating mindfulness and meditation, yoga can be highly beneficial for the ability to meditate pre and post session and the connection with self and breath during yoga.
Coaching with focus on resilience and cognitive behavioural control (emotional intelligence).
Ensuring that all 4 elements are addressed and not neglected.
This will then see you on your way to becoming an elite performer as an entrepreneur, it will also see your performance increase in all other aspects of your life not to mention you will feel good!