Have you ever looked at a guy like Richard Branson and thought, “How does the guy get it all done?” 400+ companies, World Records, and billions of dollars under management in a single lifetime. Oh, and I forgot something, space exploration. The guy is on another level.
We are entrepreneurs, leaders, and mold-breakers. Although, of the mortal kind. We need every advantage we can get. So, we should probably pay attention when Titans of business and leadership talk about the things that give them their edge.
Here are 3 areas where your (lack of) exercise could be hindering your leadership.
Richard Branson was asked what he does to increase his productivity. The whole world stopped to listen. He leaned back, thought for a second, and said, “Work out.” He felt his physical fitness, by way of exercising, brought him an extra 4 hours of productivity each day. He not only went harder in the day, he went longer. He wakes up and usually starts the day off with a swim around an island. Not too shabby. He also owns the island. Please tell me you are taking notes. Are you getting some exercise in each day? What’s that? You don’t have time? Really, you don’t have the time not to. 30 minutes for potentially 4 hours. That’s what I call ROI.
What do you want to achieve? Is it significant? Does it matter? Yes? Then it will take perseverance, and a lot of it. Great leaders are known for their commitment to their cause, even when conventional wisdom says it can’t be done. How do they have such fortitude? They face adversity head on and overcome. Then they face it again. They fail. They move forward. They succeed. They move forward. Movement through adversity creates perseverance. Teddy Roosevelt built perseverance from a young age. The great president who was known for leading the Rough Riders, being shot and then proceeding to give a 90 minute speech, and conserving a 100 million acres of forest was born sickly, small, and prone to bouts of asthma. His dad saw great mental ability in his son but was worried his poor physical state could hinder his ability to achieve. He sat him down and famously said, “Theodore, you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should.” Convicted, Teddy set off to “make his body” by lifting weights, taking swims in icy rivers, and learning to box. He fought his deficiencies and it taught him to overcome the inertia of homeostasis. Then some other stuff happened and he became president. Read a book if you want the whole story.
Knowledge is power. But do you know what else is power? Power. There are very few things as satisfying as experiencing your own strength at work. Sure, there are different kinds of power: internal, mental, physical, but I’m talking specifically about physical power. There is something very primal in it. You don’t have to be a he-man to understand the benefits of increasing your strength. And don’t think physical strength is something gender specific. It’s not. Women have been lifting heavy things for a long time. A picture of Marilyn Monroe lifting weights has overtaken the Rosie the Riveter image as the icon of women’s strength. Leaders, men and women alike, are powerful people and that power can be exhibited in numerous ways. Why would you neglect the most evident external manifestation of that strength? It works synergistically with your internal strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “the resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.”
So to recap the benefits of exercise and a general care for health on business:
-Be more productive (someday you might have your own island)
-Build perseverance (the hand you were dealt can be improved)
-Power is power (and so is knowledge, so stay in school)