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Health, fitness and mental acuity

As a business owner I sometimes tend to push myself a little hard. If I am not willing to put in the effort, how can I expect my team to do the same?

In the day to day challenges associated with running a company it is easy to just keep pushing hard, and then push a little more ... and of course as "the boss" you think you can just keep going and going like the proverbial energizer bunny!

The trouble is that things "give", typically it is those good habits (if you have developed them). The diet slips a little, the exercise slips a little and before you know it you are working more hours, not exercising enough and your eating and drinking habits suffer.

Over time you feel more tired, that boundless energy you normally have has slipped and you are not feeling as generally energetic as usual. You also notice that you make mistakes, don't read things as carefully as normally, miss an appointment here or there, forget to send emails etc. Probably nothing too important, but troublesome all the same.

It is clear to me that I operate much more efficiently when I am feeling good ...when I am healthy and in decent shape.

Last year we experienced one of the toughest economic times in living memory and our industry tends to be hit very hard in downturns. Anecdotally 40% of staffing companies in the US went out of business during that time. It has been a long hard road just to survive the recession and the world economy is not out of the woods yet.

I know that the effect on me of this last year was dramatic, I was working longer, travelling more and the stress levels were higher than probably any period in our thirteen years in business. I am very happy with how we have performed and how we are positioned as the economy recovers but it took its toll.

There was a strong impulse to keep the "pedal to the metal", to keep pushing and ensure that we have a good growth curve before stopping to take a breather. The holiday season was timed such that it was easy to have a nice long break without taking too many work days ... so my plan was to recharge the batteries over that period and come back refreshed to start 2010.

It didn't work out so well, a nasty case of bronchitis knocked me back and it was still hanging around when got back to work. A couple of days of dragging myself around convinced me it was time for drastic measures and I took two weeks off ... without going anywhere! This is not something I have done before and it was a big decision to step away from the business for two weeks at a time when we need to be taking full advantage of a recovering economy.

Sometimes you just need to listen to your body! Half way through week two I am feeling great, I think I slept more in week one than I can ever remember, I am back to having daily workouts, I have been eating healthy meals and have dropped a couple of pounds. I feel ready to get back int things ... and I still have a few days to go.

I have written before about the need to look after yourself. Most times a good nights rest and a return to a healthy lifestyle will do the trick, but every now and then it takes something a little more drastic to charge those batteries back to full. I'm glad I took the break ... 2010 here I come!