Balance to brilliance: Fueling business performance with quality of life
Every time my team and I start working with top CEOs and business owners, it always strikes me how poor most of them are at keeping balance in their lives, and how low their actual quality of life is.
Most of the world’s business leaders really struggle with achieving balance and a high quality of life—including the billionaires. You would think that—with all the money and power—it should become easier. It does not. Most of them are lost!
If this sounds familiar and you want to change that, it all starts in the mind. The reality is achieving a high quality of life and maintaining a work-life balance are not antithetical to business success.
In fact, they are the bedrocks upon which enduring success is built. Maintaining a high quality of life and achieving a balance between personal and professional commitments can significantly elevate your business performance and profitability.
Ask the right questions
Remember this: The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions. If you do not ask yourself the right questions, you will not get the right answers.
You can work yourself to death. Or you can ask yourself: How can I accomplish my goals in the easiest and fastest possible way? How can I get more done in less time? What do I need to do to guard my balance? How can I make my work more enjoyable? How can I make this more fun?
The majority of the world’s population who live in poverty work first of all for food, then for shelter. It is a mystery to me why a lot of CEOs or wealthy business owners have horrible eating habits and treat their bodies as if they were enemies. Instead, you should treat your body like your best friend. For starters, it is the only one who will definitely stick around till the end.
In the same way as it is necessary to track the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a business to help you measure progress against your most strategic objectives, you need to track your personal KPIs. What does that mean?
For example, I track my daily energy levels from 1 to 10, my mental energy levels, the quality of my day (from -2 to 2), my diet (calories and macros), my daily exercise, and so on. All of this are on spreadsheets so I can always check back on what I did even months ago. I try to do that every day and assess quick course corrections with my assistant.
What would be your own KPIs that make most sense for you? Then track them daily and rigorously. Rigorous tracking produces rigorous results.
Measure what matters
Personal KPIs can be hours spent with family, weekly exercise goals and work hours capped at a certain limit to ensure work-life balance. Find out what works for you, then track it!
I recommended to one of our clients to track the time he spends doing photography. Why? My company and I were doing a very comprehensive and wide-reaching change management and consulting program for his family and business conglomerate because they wanted to maximize profit, pivot and future-proof themselves. He, as the CEO and member of the family, played a crucial part. In my personal one-on-one coaching sessions with him, I soon found out that photography was the No.1 and only activity during which he did not think about work and could shut off.
Rely on others
I have a natural tendency to be a workaholic and am a bit obsessive-compulsive with getting things done. This is not bad in and of itself. Actually, once you get to know them, you will find that many of the world’s famous business leaders share these same traits. But they come with a warning: I need the help of others so I can balance and keep a high quality of life.
I have learned what my weaknesses are. In practice this means I have to fire myself from being responsible for my personal balance. As a result, I have delegated this to others in my team who do not have blind spots in these areas like I do. They recommend to me what I have to do to keep my minimum balance and guard a high quality of life.
Don’t drop the glass balls!
John D. Rockefeller undoubtedly became the wealthiest man in history but had terrible balance in the first half of his life. So much so that he suffered from frequent anxiety attacks and constant pressure. The question is: what use is all that money and success if, in the end, you are suffering more than most people who possess very little in comparison?
Rockefeller made significant changes in his life to focus more on health, balance and philanthropy only in the latter part of his life. Do not wait so long and make these changes earlier.
Brian Dyson, former CEO of Coca Cola, said, “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them: work, family, health, friends and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls—family, health, friends and spirit—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
Enhance your productivity and creativity
Remember: It’s not only about the hours you put in; it is how much you put into the hours. When your mind is refreshed, productivity soars. A study from Stanford showed that productivity per hour declines sharply when a person works more than 50 hours a week. The study showed that the decline is sharp. Maintaining a balance is not a luxury, but a necessity for enhanced productivity, which in turn boosts profits.
Creativity is the fuel for innovation in any business. A well-rounded life, with time for relaxation, reflection and hobbies outside of work, nurtures creativity. The mind needs downtime to incubate ideas and solve problems in innovative ways. This downtime often comes when we step away from work, engage in physical exercise or pursue hobbies.
Make fitness a priority
Many Fortune 500 leaders have early morning routines to kick-start their days. For instance, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, starts his day as early as 4:30 a.m. Similarly, regular exercise is a common practice among the world’s top business leaders. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, credits his daily workout routine with significantly boosting his productivity.
And so do I. I ask my office to plan sports into my schedule six times a week because I am hyperactive. By doing this, I keep a sane mind in a healthy body. Most of all, I can continue to be at the top of my game and keep solving the world’s most complex problems for our clients.
Once you take care of your body, everything will go faster and your mind will be more focused. What do you make all this money and success for if not to be in optimal health and fitness ? No time? No excuse. If the people like Richard Branson and Fortune 500 CEOs, whom I have worked with, have time to work out, so do you! INQ