When you think of an executive, you probably think of a super-dominant, type A kind of person.  The dude thats always on point, calm and collected under any situation.  The boss that has such laser-focus that nothing stops them from winning at, well… basically everything.

Most people aren’t born that way though.

That’s a personality they craft through consistency.

The reality of executive life is a constant battle for your time and attention that can leave you drained by noon.  A life where you make so many decisions that you can’t even decide which whisky you’re going to relax with tonight.

startupblackbelt-whiskey

(At our office, the choice is obvious…)

A life that draining is no fun.  There is no amount of money in this world that makes it worthwhile.

Yes, there will ALWAYS be times that are busier than others and situations that spin out of control…

So how do successful executives deal?

Thankfully, there is a painfully simple hack that every successful (and happy) exec I know uses to keep them sane, relaxed and crazy focused.

STAY FIT AND EAT (MOSTLY) CLEAN.

Sounds familiar, right?

Every time I see an exec stressed or underperforming, doesn’t matter if they’re a colleague, one of my app building students or a client, I ask them one simple question:

Boss, do you even LIFT?!?

It’s the easiest thing to do outside the boardroom that will bring you total dominance inside the boardroom.  Focus, confidence, determination and a calm mind.  Total dominance.

For me, the routine is simple: 

Lift 3-4 Times A Week

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I lift.  The program and goals change from time to time, but the consistency remains.  Some days it’s an hour, some days it’s only half.  The key is consistency.

This is an absolute necessity.

When you consistently lift, you consistently push yourself both physically and mentally.  This prepares you for the ups and downs of the busy executive life.

On top of that, personal records are shattered on a regular basis. 

You know that PR feeling.  When you bench an extra 10 lbs out of nowhere.  That feeling when you add that extra plate to your deadlift.  When you drop the weight and the first thought that runs through your head is “I am the fucking greatest.”  Talk about absolutely skyrocketing your confidence…

What does that do for your focus? 

Pushing hard to lift that big weight or hit those extra reps is absolutely impossible if you aren’t totally committed to the task at hand.  I don’t think its even possible to completely lose focus in the middle of a rep.

Consistently lift and you will consistently get better in all areas of your life, including the boss life.

Bonus points if you have a coach that handles the workout and diet planning for you.  Delegation is a skill to hone too.

“Rest Day”

I’m not a professional trainer, but I have one.  And when they schedule my rest days, it always has something in it besides “sitting on your ass.”  It’s usually some light cardio like cycling or running.

My preference is, and always will be, fighting.

When I say fighting, I mean martial arts.  Don’t go pretending to be in Street Fighter 2… You’ll probably get KO’d and robbed in about 20 seconds.

The key is to find a dojo or “martial arts school” and get a workout in.

Being a Jeet Kune Do black belt (my company is called Startup Black Belt for a reason), I’ve trained in a ton of different styles.  Muay thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, wing chun, eskrima, silat, boxing, krav maga, you name it — I’ve probably trained in it.  All of them are great for real world defense, all of them can give you a great workout.

The key to picking “the best” style is simple:  Pick the one you like and stick with it.

Some people will gravitate towards kick boxing, some to jiu jitsu, some towards tae kwon do.  The best one is the one that you enjoy while getting a good workout.

When martial arts training isn’t practical, the default for me is for a “power walk” around the neighborhood while my son more or less sprints next to me.

All of this cardio is acting almost like a moving meditation where you can just “zone out” for an hour or so. 

Now go try some martial arts for a week and tell me how much more productive you are in your work time. 

Seriously, go do it and report back.  You’ll be glad you did 🙂

Caveman Day

Ahhh, caveman day.

This is when you take a special day of the week and pretend to be a caveman.  Go watch football, relax and don’t worry about how clean you’re eating.

Keep the laptop and phone off.

The point of caveman day is to reconnect with more people than devices and to give everything a rest.  Your brain, your body… everything.

This is the ultimate recharge and you really shouldn’t skip it.  Fuck the stereotypes of the ever connected CEO.  It’s hurting your productivity and your company overall.

The bottom line is if you keep fit, lift consistently and take a day off from everything every week, you’ll find yourself operating more like Harvey Specter and less like Ebenezer Scrooge.  More productive, greater focused and less stress.

Able to crush that next proposal.  Focused enough to launch your new app.  Owning the boardroom and the barbell.

A truly focused and centered boss.

 

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