As leaders and high-performers in business (or aspiring leaders), we need to treat our bodies the same way the professional athletes I work with do.
Sure, it may sound like an NHL hockey player and a CEO don’t have much in common with regards to preparation, but often the demands of the business leader are even higher.
A CEO is often expected to “play” 14 hours a day. Now, we would never expect Lebron James to be on the court 42 minutes a night, or Sidney Crosby to be on the ice for 60 minutes a night.
If these athletes did, we wouldn’t expect them to make the right decisions, perform their role, or be their best.
As the essayist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “Those who work much do not work hard.”
You need to give yourself a reprieve and recovery so you can bounce back…
And ultimately be the best you can be.
That’s why I tell our clients at the top of business game:
You Need To Be a Pro
Act like a pro.
Train like a pro.
Eat like a pro.
Recover like a pro.
Sleep like a pro.
I’ll share one story of a client who’s a CEO of a major company.
He told me, “Justin, I’ve been eating like an a**hole.”
Then I ask him how he’s sleeping, and recovering from his workouts, and, unsurprisingly, those are missing the mark for what needs to be performing at his best.
“Hm. I guess I’m just an a**hole,” he replied with a chuckle, knowing he needed to make changes to his nutrition to solve those other issues that were hurting his performance at work.
I told him to imagine how much more quality work he could get done… how much better his decisions would be… how paradoxically taking the time to treat your body like a pro athlete would open up empty space in your life.
He needed to start treating himself like a pro.
And, if you want to feel your best, perform your best, and advance to the top of your field, you should too.
The First Steps to Being a Pro
Professional athletes have a process. Some of them always take a pregame nap, others have a ritual meal. On the days where they’re not competing, they have routines around recovery, sleep, training so they can be ready for those competition days.
Establish a Routine
Top professional athletes know what they need to do on gameday to prepare. You should too. Only for you, almost every day is a “game day.”
You need to have a process. Imagine sitting at your desk in the morning, having done your workout, having woken up refreshed.
Because it’s all a part of your process, you can hit the ground running from the first moment and you start working.
You have a very clear understanding of what you need to accomplish.
The evening comes, and you know what you’re going to do before bed (your nighttime routine, which I’ll cover in another article). You know what time your phone goes away, when you have your last bite of food and your supplements. It’s all part of your routine.
With your life set up this way, imagine how much more productive you would be? Imagine how much more quality work you would get done?
Imagine the fewer errors you would make are the speed at which you would increase the work you accomplish.
Whether you’re already a CEO or another high-performer, you’re not just trying to be another brick in the wall of the machine. You are or are trying to be in the top 1% of all achievers in North America, to be the type of person people strive to seep into the footprints of… just like pro athletes.
Start By Monitoring
As you’ll see will be a theme, there’s no way to know what diet, exercise program, or nightly sleep routine works best for you unless you’re looking at metrics. The old adage is “What get’s measured gets managed,” but it goes deeper than that. “What gets measured gets manipulated.” If you don’t know how well you’re sleeping, eating, or exercising, how can you make changes?
We’ll be diving in deeper with each of these topics, but for now, the best thing you can do is start measuring these. Then, use those metrics to guide you in finding your pro-like routine.