Tired of being a slave to your Blackberry 24/7? Are you skipping the gym, family events, or doctors visits because of a crushing workload? According to Marty and Joshua Seldman, authors of the new book EXECUTIVE STAMINA, working too hard for too long has a high price.
I recently interviewed Marty Seldman, Executive Coach and the author of the new book Executive Stamina: How to Optimize Time, Energy, and Productivity to Achieve Peak Performance. Present here is an excerpt from the interview. The complete interview and podcast shall be available soon.
Q. Marty congratulations on your new book. I wanted to know what was the inspiration behind this book?
I have been an executive coach 22 yrs and luckily coached over for 1500 people and I started seeing patterns where people with good intentions and good work ethics would push themselves to a point where they were making more mistakes because of tiredness and stress and get away from good practices of fitness and nutrition and and I started seeing patterns undermine their own goals make mistakes through tiredness and also made precious trade offs in their personal life.
Q. Do you think getting tired and working long hours has major health risk factors for executives CEOs and all other employees? How have you seen this during your work experience?
In many studies and research it has been proven that you get to that point of diminishing return where extra work leads to poor results. And in business it is so easy to make mistakes and undermine your career. People make mistakes and blame it on being too tired at work. If you are too busy and too tired and too stressed you will make mistakes which eventually will hurt your career.
Wonderful communication devices like Cell phones, Blackberries etc., lines have blurred between work and home. We find many people are now addicted to these devices. It is rare that people are taking a vacation and not checking in to the office daily.
Q. What are your tips on how exercise and endurance training can help these executives and employees in their career?
The book provides a holistic approach to fitness and integrating it in your career. In the book we say that even though you have a mental job and you sit around most of the time you must look at your job as a physical job.
I saw some chess players running 6 miles a day and that I wondered why they need to run when they sit on their chairs and focus. But these jobs require concentration, alertness, verbal discipline and also high level of interpersonal skills and you need a program where your energy is sustained throughout the day and there would not be a drop-off.
Q. What tips do you suggest on integrating exercise in our workplace?
We need to be realistic but also creative there was a woman we worked with who said “I don’t have the time”, now she has walking meetings and they just go for walks talking about the issues. Go for walks and think about strategic planning, people can combine exercise with commute to a certain degree. We definitely say that be creative go for walks and walk to the person instead of sending emails. Do the basic things at least to maintain the basic level of fitness.
People have to look out for sleep as well. You may often make mistakes if the body is not well rested. And in order to sleep well your body needs to be tired from some physical work.
Q. I endorse the point of view of progressive change, what are your tips on integrating career life and health, can we find time for all that? Especially I talk in favor of a working mother who is always short time on time- how to find time to integrate work time and health and fitness? How can we find more time to integrate work and personal life, does making a plan help? What your tips on that?
You need to understand that what are your absolute priorities, you cannot be a good mother or a romantic partner if you do not have a good foundation in health.
We have found that people believe that if something is worth doing it worth doing it right or perfect and that can be a trap that leads to people tending towards being a perfectionist.
And we reach a point that we are not too good at anything. We need to prioritize what we need to do and what we need to do really well. We overcommit and that can be a trap if we believe in doing everything right all the time we are in the perfectionist zone we advice to really prioritize and .. most people do not make these distinctions.
What it comes down to is – Learning to say NO. We try to show that everything you say yes to you say no to something else; we discuss a technique in the book called a soft no and I often observe that particularly women have a tougher time saying No than men.
Q. So it would be right to say that this book provides a holistic approach to career and life management with keeping in mind that health is the most important aspect of one’s life.
Yes, definitely. We often tend to drift away from good practices – unless you have a great friend who can be very candid with you it is very difficult to know when you are drifting away. We need systems to keep us from drifting – In the book there is a chapter dedicated to this topic. People whom I have approached.. many of them say that is the most useful for them since it helps make sure that their priorities and their values are aligned ..and the final section is on how to apply it to the relationship with family and friends and not let them drift either.
In these trying time of recession and downturn it is important to keep the focus, be positive and keep on with a positive pace and not be in the drift. For more tips on how to approach your career and life positively and enhance your success through building up stamina and endurance read Marty and Joshua Seldman’s book EXECUTIVE STAMINA where they explain how to increase effectiveness at work and enhance personal fulfillment by focusing on fitness, nutrition, time and stress management, and building positive relationships.