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WELLNESS

4 Personal Habits That Will Improve Your Business

How deep breaths, hot yoga, and no gluten can make you a more effective leader.
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This year, I decided that I'm going to share my lessons. Lessons are some of the only things that we can both learn and teach. As I expand my new social enterprise, I feel it is important to share as I go. So, here are my January lessons:

The "Compliment Sandwich" works.

I know that sometimes I can be a little too to the point at work and forget to "lead with love." Basically, if you lead with something nice and end with something nice, then in the middle, you can say the criticism or basically anything you want.

For example: "I really loved the way you designed that flyer. You really thought through what the value proposition was and executed it well. One quick thing is that I'd love for you to think critically about how you reach out to people on our company's behalf. Your tone needs to match the company's tone, and if it doesn't, then people will get confused. I'd love for you to send me all emails before they get sent out to anyone until we get the tone right. You're doing awesome at managing my schedule, so keep up the good work!"

I still sometimes forget to do the Compliment Sandwich, especially when I am in a rush, but it does wonders for long-term relationships. Your people need to know the things they are doing right, too.

Three deep breaths go a long way.

Bad things happen. All the time. Especially when you are running a startup. Or when you have partners who may have different opinions than you and you think their viewpoint is just plain wrong. Or they think yours is just plain wrong. I really learned that getting upset never, ever helps. Ever. Even if I still get upset (the stakes are high, man!), I know it doesn't help. Ever.

So, if you set your alarm on your phone to take three long, deep inhales and three long, deep exhales every hour, your sanity will be so much happier. (Unless your boyfriend farts in the room, which happened to me just now. Then you have to go in another room and take three long, deep breaths there.)

That's also when you can press the Pause button for about 45 seconds and remember that we all will die one day and that we may as well exist as peacefully and happily as possible. Until the next fire drill comes. And then you take three more deep breaths. It’s an ongoing practice, and it really helps!

Hot yoga two times a week is all you need to stay in shape.

I started doing hot yoga, and I've never been in better shape in my life. And I've never sweated more in my life. Just try it: a 1.5-hour class twice a week. All of the gross things you take all week will sweat out of your pores. I didn't realize how much my body excretes until I started taking these classes. It's only $8 for a 1.5-hour class at Yoga to the People. My skin is glowing.

Challenge yourself to no sugar, no gluten, and no dairy for a month.

I challenged my friend Max for us to go on a no-sugar, no-gluten, and no-dairy diet for 30 days. This was to help his skin sensitivity and to help my joint pain. I've had three knee surgeries from soccer and two bicycle accidents, and so joint pain has been fairly common for me.

I know that gluten is a natural inflammatory, and that sugar, gluten, and dairy all exacerbate skin conditions, but I never knew for sure if forgoing any of them really helped joint pain. Until I met with Seth Godin a couple of times at my restaurant, and he told me how he went gluten-free and dairy-free, and all of his joint pain went away. Seth wanted to meet me at Wild, because he knew he could eat gluten-free, dairy-free pizza there. Knowing that we could eat pizza at Wild at the very least, Max accepted my challenge.

I will also say that I love chocolate and dessert--I have it every day. To do the no-sugar thing was going to be the hardest part for me. But if Natalie Portman can do it, so could I.

So we did it. We ate a lot of Indian food, sushi, Mexican food, and salad, and a lot of Wild's food. We held each other accountable. (Having an "accountabilibuddy" helps so much!) It became easier and easier. And my joint pain went away! And Max's skin cleared up! Holy moly. It actually worked.

I have since kept up this diet for the most part. Except I do eat some dark chocolate. But that's OK. Dark chocolate is good for the soul.

Just try the diet for 30 days. It sounds a lot harder than it is. Your emerging six pack will thank you, and your joints and skin will say thank you, thank you, thank you.

I feel like 2014 had to start with sharing good personal habits--this will ensure really good productivity for our burgeoning businesses. It’s all interconnected.

Last updated: Feb 7, 2014

MIKI AGRAWAL | Columnist | serial entrepreneur

Miki Agrawal is a serial social entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and television personality. She founded the farm-to-table alternative pizza concept called Wild in New York City and partnered with Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh to open the concept in Las Vegas. She was a recipient of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival's Disruptive Innovation Award. Agrawal is also a partner in Super Sprowtz, a children's media company. Her book, Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After, came out in August 2013.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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