Over the years, I have spoken to more than 6,000 company CEOs and have worked with hundreds directly. One trait that all of them share is an enormous amount of energy.
Energy comes from all sorts of places--personal passion and commitment, good genes, youth, goals. Over time, though, long hours, travel, and the aging process can eat away at your energy reserves.
So how do you keep the energy level of a world-class competitor in order to lead your company?
I have no miracle answers for you. Yet there are some simple ways to adjust what you are doing now to get more energy--and sustain it over the upcoming decades.
These three tips gave me a big lift in energy (and overall performance):
- Commit to an hour of exercise a day: In the book Younger Next Year, I read about a plan calling for an hour per day of exercise, six days per week. I started this plan a year ago, and the payoff has been an extra one and a half to two hours of peak energy per day, which keeps me focused and productive.
- Set your priorities: You're a leader; you know how to get things done. So decide what your real priorities are, and then make sure you make time for those--and skip the less important stuff.
- Eat better, whenever you can: You may not always eat well, but you probably know already which eating choices you should change. The trick is to avoid the "all or none" mental trap. If you can't sustain an eating regimen for the rest of your life, then by default it is a fad diet for you. Better to make better choices that you can make forever.
Now here are a few additions to take your performance to the next level.
- Hyperhydrate: Water is a known way to combat fatigue. I drink more water--I shoot for 100 ounces a day--to sustain my energy for me. There are plenty of other good reasons to drink more water, but it was the energy lift that changed my behavior.
- Travel smarter: When you're on the road, it's worth paying a little bit more to get a good bed, a quiet room, and workout facilities. One more hour of your top intensity is probably worth more to you and your business than the incremental price difference to get a hotel that gives you what you need.
- Meditate: This may be a challenge for you, but I will tell you that the studies are irrefutable on the value of meditation--it gives you mental clarity, stress release, and improved focus. To make it easy on yourself, buy a meditation CD, and listen on the plane or in your office, following the instructions.
I'm not a doctor, so if you are going to make a radical change in your diet or exercise, please talk to one first.
My broader point is this: Your personal performance is your top priority. Make sure you have the energy you require.