No executive planned for it to turn out this way. The gradual decline of the executive’s physical health is best compared to the power of moving water. Although the river is calm on the surface the moving water deep below can find the weakness in rock and carve a crevice out of even the hardest stone. The constant pressure is powerful enough to change the landscape, creating a valley where there was once a mountain.
Executives tell stories how they once played football every weekend or how they loved the feeling when they crossed the finish line of every half marathon. Inactivity is the major cause of the decline in the executive’s physical health. You could accuse the executive of being lazy but in fact it’s quite the opposite. Long periods of inactivity stem from the constant demands that their professional roles place on their time.
The executive who is physically inactive, the one who has given into the increasing responsibility of their role, will soon live a binary life. All on or all off. The executive gives so much at work that they have little else to give to anything else. They are too tired, in too much pain, and their brain is too fatigued to make any decisions that aren’t related to their work, so they do nothing.
They look for moments where they can escape. An hour on the couch while the kids play outside or retreat into an empty room during a family gathering. Executives crave these moments, but what is depressing is that they provide so little in return. Downtime seems to do nothing to recharge the batteries.
It may seem a little counterintuitive, but Executive Athletes enjoy more energy and fulfillment by physically doing more. By discovering the joy of movement and enjoying these moments with those they love.
“If you are living a life that’s binary – full on at work and full off everywhere else, you are not getting the best out of yourself when you are full on. In a strange way you need to feed yourself in different ways, shapes and forms for you to get the best out of each part of your life.” – David Heine, Chief Operating Officer, eftpos
David is one of four executives who is profiled in my book The Executive Athlete which will be released later this year.