Sam Bahreini, a seasoned operations officer and agile entrepreneur, is co-founder and COO of VoloForce, a company that helps enterprise retail brands understand organization implementation through automation and simplification.
Let's face it: When it comes to building a successful business, everything else seems to take a backseat, regardless of how important it may be. Health and family are often the first to go. We tell ourselves that our business demands our attention, and there will be time for those things once it's up and running.
The thing, though, is that you're never "done" with your business. What's more, studies show that the quality of your physical and mental well-being is a huge contributing factor to the success of your business. Consider these points:
- A 2012 Stanford University study found that firms underperform significantly when CEOs are sick.
- Data from the Center for Creative Leadership suggests that CEOs and business leaders who are out of shape are often perceived as being less effective at their jobs.
- According to a report by the Integrated Benefits Institute, U.S. companies lose more than half a billion dollars per year due to lost productivity stemming from employee illness.
- Emotions are important to productivity, too: Gallup found that disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion in lost productivity each year.
So how can you improve your business by enhancing your well-being? Here are the best pieces of advice I've gathered over the years:
1. Treat your body like your business.
You can't be at the top of your game unless you're healthy and happy. That means paying attention to your nutrition, fitness, and sleep whether you're at home, at work or on the road.
According to a good friend of mine, Chris Albert, not only do these things affect how you function at work in the short term, but eating well and keeping your body and mind healthy also reduces stress, which will keep you from taking years off your life. Chris helped develop the health and wellness program for our company, which helped us integrate fitness into our company culture. We began offering gym memberships to employees to show how committed we were.
2. Turn off your phone and ask 20 questions.
One of the biggest issues I encountered as an entrepreneur involved being constantly accessible, which was especially problematic at night during family time. Eventually, my mentor, Father John Hopkins, advised me to turn off my phone at home, sit with my family, and ask them 20 questions. The purpose of the exercise was to spark a good conversation and give them my undivided attention.
This goes a long way toward showing your support system that you also support them on a daily basis. You can even have your family and your employees' families come to the office to see your work environment and meet your staff.
3. Pause before you hit "send."
This applies to emails, texts, or any decision you have to make. All too often, our immediate reaction to a situation far exceeds what is pertinent. And when we overreact, our judgment becomes clouded by emotion.
When something comes across your desk that requires immediate attention, read it and walk away. Only respond once you have given deep thought to the situation and explored all avenues to ensure that your reaction doesn't negatively impact your reputation or organization.
I've applied all of this advice to my own life and business, and it has delivered profound benefits. By following this advice, you'll find that your company develops a greater sense of health and interconnectedness. You'll respond to issues with careful thought, rather than knee-jerk reactions. And when health and happiness are the backbone of your company, you'll be more successful and engaged in every aspect of your life.