For 25 years I have helped thousands of business leaders grow their company and succeed professionally. Some of these high performers needed help scaling their business, some wanted to be able to step away from it all and spend time with their friends and family and a growing number of entrepreneurs are simply physically and mentally burnt out.
This impacted me in a way I didn't even know about. I was having issues with my energy level and suffering from headaches. The doctors I spoke with offered very little to help me during our 7 minutes in the exam room. They did a few tests, scheduled a few follow up appointments, but not much beyond this surface effort. I understand. My business coaching company works with quite a few medical groups in the U.S. and I get the financial constraints they are operating under and the broken model.
But I needed to find answers. So I started my own line of inquiry. I started reading books and publications to help me try to solve my challenges. Turns out that my headaches were "cured" by wearing blue light blocking reading glasses when I was on my computer, an idea I picked up from Dave Asprey's bestseller, Head Strong.
As for the energy, a CEO friend of mine pushed me to find a concierge physician who would spend the time with me to figure out what was going on. I took his advice and found a local functional medicine physician who I could pay hourly to work with me as long as it took to figure out what was causing my low energy. What a difference a better model made. He spent over an hour with me on my first visit and ran a much more detailed panel of blood tests. And there, in the family history combined with the blood work and symptoms I was dealing with was the issue -- I had "Hashimoto's Thyroiditis", a condition where my immune system was attacking my thyroid gland which affects over 1 million people in the U.S. He came up with a simple plan of action to deal with the condition, and it's working.
This experience prompted me to start asking high energy and successful business leaders for their "secrets" to greater energy and health. One of these conversations was with Anna Collins, the President of Bulletproof Coffee and former worldwide general manager of Amazon Prime memberships. She had six concrete suggestions that she found worked for her. Here are her top six biohacks for business leaders.
1. Be Present.
Many top executives and business owners subscribe to the idea that being fully present, free of distractions, gives you the ability to focus and do more in less time. This skill was one that was practiced often at Amazon. Anna recalls during her time at Amazon how she would be in meeting with Jeff Bezos or Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Consumer, and the way they role modelled being fully present in that meeting. They weren't distracted; they weren't checking their phone; they gave their full attention to the project or task at hand.
How about you? Are you fully present for most of your business day? When you're talking with a key team member, are you actually giving them and the matter at hand your best attention? It worked pretty well for Amazon...
2. Focus On How You Fuel Your Body.
What you eat (or don't eat) can have a direct effect on how you feel and how you are able to perform. I learned this as an olympic athlete and it is still true as a business person. If you don't fuel your body properly, you won't have the energy to do the things you want to do for your business or your loved ones.
Are you eating quality food during the day? Are you getting enough quality drinks? If not, this is a simple fix.
I see so many business owners come to me who work seventy or eighty hours a week and they are on the brink of exhaustion. And you have to ask yourself: "Are you really able to make good decisions when you are sleep deprived?" Get to know your body and how much sleep it needs to function properly and make it a point to rest.
4. Be Mindful of The Trade Off
Another secret Anna shared with me has to do with being mindful about the trade off. As a business leader, you probably travel a lot and are surrounded by opportunities to eat delicious junk food, stay up late and partake in an adult beverage or two. But it's important to think about how those choices affect your energy and health. I myself make it a point to get a refrigerator in my hotel room when I travel, and will pack or pick up some healthy options to curtail my junk food consumption while traveling. (Thank you Trader Joe's and Whole Foods!)
5. Keep Your Stress Levels in Check
Stress is the number one reason for burn out and has a myriad of negative health consequences. So, if you want to live longer and grow your business faster, keep your stress in check.
As a business leader, you don't have a lot of control over the external stressors of the world: unexpected business travel, vendor issues, employee problems etc. But you do have control over how you handle the stressors. Do you let it roll off your back? Do you take the time to step away from your desk and take a walk or meditate? All of these things will help with your stress level.
6. Try New Things and Measure Results
And finally the last tip has to do with trying new things and measuring the results. This can be used in the realm of health and wellness as well as in business. When you try something new, pay attention to the results and document the outcome. If you feel low energy after a work trip, try going to sleep earlier on your next trip and see how that affects your energy afterwards. If you notice a difference, take the steps necessary to change your behavior moving forward. If you don't notice a difference, try looking at another variable.