The gradual decline in your health is best compared to the power of moving water. Although the river is calm on the surface the power of moving water can carve a crevice out of the hardest stone. The quality of your life is related to what you endure. Put up with these warning signs and soon you will have to accept that your best days are behind you.
Sacrifice is what it takes to win. It is the essence of winning, and winning is not optional. Like the athlete, those who are destined for the C-Suite must win.
You may see the warning signs below and think Yes, I do that, but that’s not affecting my health or you might feel that the trade off (professional success for physical well-being) is somehow worth it.
If that habit is an isolated one you may be correct, but when these mistakes become part of a weekly routine they’ll make you pay eventually.
1. THINKING SLEEP IS NEGOTIABLE
Fatigue is the lubricant for the slippery slope that is executive decline. Run on a sleep deficit long enough and the four symptoms of executive decline fatigue, disengaged, physical pain, obesity will become part of who you are.
2. RELYING ON CAFFEINE TO WAKE UP AND ALCOHOL TO SLEEP
Tiredness, caused by a lack of sleep, is masked by caffeine. Drinking coffee throughout the day gives your brain the boost of energy needed to get back to the task at hand. This nervous energy needs a release, but rather than cut down on caffeine, you turn to alcohol.
Alcohol is not a sleep aid. It’s a sedative it only mimics sleep. Caffeine to wake up and alcohol to go to sleep is a receipt e for chronic exhaustion.
3. KEEPING TEMPTATION WITHIN ARMS LENGTH
The Law of Food Proximity is simple: if you can see it, reach it or smell it, you will eat it.
4. ADOPTING A NEW NUTRITION STRATEGY EVERY WEEK
Far too many people believe they can lose weight if they eliminate a single item from their diet and replace it with something beneficial. You cut out ice cream and start drinking green juices. Repeated failure does nothing to change the approach. At no point do you consider how the many variables of weight loss work?
5. EXERCISING OUT OF GUILT OR TO PUNISH A BODY YOU’RE NOT PROUD OF
Those who have spent too long in the achievement stratosphere are often disconnected from their bodies. You forget what it feels like to win physically. Motivated by the forceful words of a doctor you are closed off to immense feelings of pride that come with a new physical accomplishment.
6. REFUSING TO ASK FOR OR ACCEPT HELP
The problem is that asking for help is seen as an open show of weakness. There is an inflating of the ego that comes with professional overachievement. You want and expect to be as good at weight loss as you have been at managing your career. You understand when your professional expertise has reached its limit. You need to be willing to admit the same when it comes to your health and fitness.
7. LOSING FAITH THAT SUCCESS IS POSSIBLE
The loss of self-confidence that comes after a failed attempt to transform your health can lead you down the path of lethargy and weight gain. You can convince yourself that the pleasures that come with a lean body are out of reach.
These are the seven mistakes that create the creep, that slow change in behavior that drives executive decline. Each habit in isolation is a minor and easily correctable issue.
The over-achiever who can identify and correct these mistakes in their 30s will avoid the unnecessary pain and hard work that it takes to change the rate of decline later in life. Ignore these mistakes long enough and the rate of decline will accelerate and many can’t find the way to slow it down.
The mistakes that executives make I relate to the story of Tiger Woods in the 2013 Masters. Every decision that Tiger made about hitting a golf ball was enough to win his 15th major tournament. It was the mistake that he didn’t know he made that cost him the title. Read this story here about Tiger, executive decline and what to do about it.