What separates the tired, soft, unproductive executive from the healthy and highly effective executive?
Stephen Covey's classic, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People,'
rocked the world of personal development and business. Within 7 key principles, he summed up how to skyrocket your effectiveness in yourself and with others.
As my service focuses on health, which I believe is a massive factor in one's effectiveness, I thought it would be useful to view each of the habits through that perspective.
You want to be effective, of course, but you also want to be healthy enough to enjoy the fruits of that effectiveness. As many of the world's most successful people say, your health is your wealth. Healthiness and effectiveness go hand in hand.
1. Be proactive
The first habit of healthy and highly effective executives is proactivity. Proactive people are driven by values independent of the environment or what other people think of them. Essentially, they choose solutions over blame and complaint. Being healthy doesn't come naturally to any busy executive, so initiative to control this aspect is important.
Taking responsibility for your current situation and acknowledging all which happens from now is up to you. As cliche would have it,
"Change starts from within."
Once we decide to become proactive, exactly where we focus our efforts becomes important. There are many concerns in life, but we don't always have control over them. Proactive people focus on the things within their circle of influence.
Healthy and highly effective executives make the decision to improve their health, and their lives, through the things they can influence rather than simply reacting to external forces.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Goals, we all have them and we all put them at the back of our mind until one day we realise things aren't going as we had once planned. Healthy and effective executives have purposeful goals and work backwards from them, ensuring the end is always the objective.
An effective goal-setting process starts with a broad scope of life and all its possibilities. Then, strategically working through timelines and objectives, goals which are in line with personal values and principles can be established.
(Being coached through the right goal-setting process can be an absolute game-changer. If you want to go through something unique, let me know and I'll connect you with the right person.)
What separates healthy and effective executives from those who aren't is a continuous reflection of whether your actions are in line with your long-term goals and personal principles. Alignment ensures effectiveness in purpose, whereas misalignment can send one down a spiral feeling lost, 'missing something' or unfulfilled.
3. Put first things first
An ineffective executive fills their jar with sand before placing in their big rocks, and when it comes time for the rocks they realise they have no room. Sand is all the little things which don't matter; big rocks are the actions which move the needle forward.
If you were to simply react to life as it happens to you, you'd spend your days at the whim of other people, helping them with their big rocks and never making progress of your own. Healthy and effective executives have the capability to identify what really matters and channel time and energy into these things before any others.
In health, this means identifying the key movers in exercise, nutrition and recovery, then making time and putting prioritisation into doing them.
This is why many exercise in the morning. Health is one of the biggest of big rocks, affecting things such as productivity, mood, energy, lifespan, relationships and confidence. Getting it done first it ensures the important task which feeds into every other aspect of life actually gets done.
4. Think win/win
A great way to enter engagements is to think win/win, how can you come from a place of abundance where everyone is able to succeed?
Importantly, healthy and effective executives are able to use this principle in regards to efficiency, opting to take the perspective of how to make the most of situations.
- What if I...?
- How could I make it work...?
- What would it look like if...?
Most of the time, there is a simple solution (for example, struggling to move during the day? Turn an appointment into a walking meeting). There is always a way to win. If there isn't, maybe the wrong objective has been targeted and it's best to step back and reassess.
5. Seek to understand
Covey's original 5th habit related to communication and effective listening in relationships with others. To the healthy executive, seeking to understand is more about understanding yourself, being able to listen to cues and feedback and effectively make decisions based on that.
Self-awareness is a key meta-skill, encompassing emotional, cognitive and spiritual aspects. The more one understands themselves, the more they understand the world around them and have the ability to create an impact. One must put effort into emotional intelligence, improving decision making, especially in stressful situations (where binge-eating can sit).
A healthy and highly effective executive can delay short-term gratification to succeed in the long-term.
I'd also note in this principle, a healthy and effective executive has a basic understanding of nutrition (calories, protein, carbs and fat). Food is the fuel we live off and has profound effects on the body. It deserves some attention.
To synergise is to seek ways to leverage individual parts to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. A healthy and highly effective executive can trust, understand and communicate with others to gain a greater outcome than they could on their own.
In the realms of health, this means getting help. Whether it be physically, through a personal trainer or nutritionist, or mentally, such as a performance psychologist, a healthy and highly effective executive builds a network around them to reach a higher level than they could on their own.
Any relationship in these areas is multiplied by one's willingness to trust and communicate. It's a two-way street.
7. Sharpen the axe
The last habit of healthy and highly effective executives is continuous self-improvement. They take time off 'producing' to work on their 'production capacity'.
Improving one's production capacity comes in the form of personal renewal of the physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. To remain healthy and effective you must have balance between these. Each dimension is as important as the next, but my focus is on the physical. If you don't have your health you really have nothing.
'Sharpening the axe' comes from the story of the young man who came across of woodcutter struggling to chop down a tree.
Curious, the young man asked, "what are you doing?"
"Can't you see I'm cutting down this tree?"
"Why don't you take a break and sharpen your axe?"
"I have no time to stop." The woodcutter explained he'd been at this for hours and had lots more to do.
The young man pushed back, "If you sharpen your axe you'll be able to cut down the tree faster."
"I'm way too busy to stop!"
This is where I place a lot of my coaching. New clients come to me out of balance, with a heavy focus on work (producing) for the last 15+ years. The way we reframe their perspective on health, especially the physical strength, endurance and nutritional components while touching on the mental dimension always leads to improved output and a sharper axe.
So, how can we help you sharpen your axe?
Executive Performance is the leader in physical transformations for executive men in Sydney. With a thorough approach to health which includes nutrition, exercise and mentality, results are far beyond what you'd expect from your local gym.
Ready to increase your health and effectiveness in one quick click?
Get in touch to schedule an appointment.