If you want to be the best anything, you have to be at your best. It’s really not negotiable.
In the opening scene of the documentary film, Becoming Warren Buffett, Buffett challenges a group of students to: “Imagine you’re going to be given a new car. Any car that you want is yours. It will be at the front of your house with a bow on it when you get home. There’s one catch. That’s the only car you’re ever going to have in your life. So, you better take care of it.”
Then Buffett comes to the point of his analogy and tells them that the same thing goes for their bodies: You only get one and you better take care of it.
Even though Buffett regularly eats at McDonald’s—he once treated Bill Gates to lunch at Mickey-D’s using coupons—and he is known for drinking six Cokes a day, his point about taking care of our bodies is compelling.
In fact, daily exercise is one thing many wildly successful people agree on. Buffett is in his late 80’s and is worth more than $85 billion . . and he exercises regularly. Richard Branson founder of the Virgin Group—and over 400 other companies—is worth $5.1 billion and learned long ago that daily physical activity can add as much as four hours of productivity every day.
U.S. presidents as diverse as Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy had strong opinions about fitness:
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” —John F Kennedy
“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.” —Thomas Jefferson
Writing in the magazine Inc., entrepreneur and author, Josh Steimle titled an article: Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Business. His reasoning is that you can always come back from a negative business event, but your body’s well-being is essential to life.
We frequently read in business publications about Fortune 500 companies that have onsite health and fitness facilities. Nike, Apple, Goldman-Sachs, USAA, Google . . . the list is long. The reason is simple: making exercise easily accessible eliminates an excuse and encourages staff to use the facilities. In turn, culture-wide physical exercise helps reduce medical insurance costs and absenteeism . . . and it makes everyone at the company sharper and more competitive.
Fitness Is Vitally Important to Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur you may argue that you can’t afford the time every day to run around the neighborhood or workout in a pool or gym.
The truth is, you can’t afford not to.
Many small business owners jump from crisis to crisis throughout the day. The only way to break out of that routine is to schedule your fitness time. Tell your staff, you’ll be in at 9 every day because you have to take care of your body first thing in the morning. Or, announce that you’ll be away from one until two every day for your yoga or spinning class or whatever.
If you’re not already setting schedules for yourself, scheduling workouts is a great way to institute that practice.
And while you’re setting aside a time to devote to your health, it’s a great time to also set goals for yourself. We all feel exhilarated when we achieve our objectives. So, target a weight-loss or running distance or number of tennis sets goal that you’ll actively work toward.
The Bottom Line
One of the side benefits to working out is that it reminds you that you can perform beyond the limitations you previously assumed.
You’ll discover that, as you build your body, you’ll also be sparking your creativity, and reinforcing the self confidence that convinced you that you could be a successful entrepreneur in the first place.
And when you start taking regular workouts seriously, your team will notice and—if you’re a strong leader—they’ll follow. And there are all sorts of benefits to a healthy, engaged workforce.