Every professional knows health and success go hand-in-hand.
Did you know there is a secret career strategy hiding in plain sight? Great business leaders routinely put it at the top of their list. Consider the following:
- Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle and ranked as the fifth wealthiest person on Earth, follows a disciplined gym routine to maintain his strength and stamina.
- Elon Musk, founder Tesla and SpaceX, co-founder PayPal and multi-billionaire businessman works out regularly and plays sports like tennis and swimming.
- Tim Cook, CEO Apple Inc. is known to be a fitness freak and loves cycling, hiking, and hits the gym on a regular basis.
Clearly health plays a key role in the success of these business leaders. Why is this the case? And how can you leverage this knowledge to gain an edge in your career? Consider the following reasons and strategies:
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, has stated that working out gives him at least four extra hours each day to be productive. Consider the other side of the coin: health-related productivity losses account for 77% of all employee productivity losses according to this study.
- Tip: Research shows that productivity falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours. Reinvest those non-productive office hours into your health by shifting your mindset and habits.
- Your personal brand matters in your career and your health and fitness is a part of your brand. Did you know that men worry more about their appearance than their jobs? (according to a recent TODAY/AOL survey). A study in the Journal of Labor Research found workers who exercise regularly earn 9 percent more on average than employees who don’t work out. Even those who work out just one to three times a week see a slight earning advantage over their sedentary peers, making slightly more than 5 percent in additional pay.
- Tip: It pays to make fitness a part of your personal brand. Think of working out as giving your career a raise.
- Increased success in your career often means increased business travel. Early morning flights and late evening client dinners disrupts normal sleeping, eating, and exercise routines. Many tired executives struggle with stress-eating on the road.
- Tip: Healthy road warriors travel with energy bars to forgo airport food, and develop simple bodyweight routines they can do in their hotel rooms.
- In the not so distant past, savvy career climbers knew how to to network with senior executives over a cigarette or a drink. Times have changed, and now a smart way to network is at the gym or playing sports. Workplace wellness challenges are becoming more popular because they are fun and also promote lots of networking and camaraderie.
- Tip: Consider pedaconferencing. Like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg (FaceBook) and Jack Doresy (Square) are believers in walking meetings.
- While it’s not fair, experts agree that a person’s appearance can affect the outcome of one’s job search and potential for advancement in the workplace. Obese workers (those who have a Body Mass Index of more than 30) are paid less than normal-weight coworkers at a rate of $8,666 a year for obese women, and $4,772 a year for obese men, according to a George Washington University study.
- Tip: Besides being unhealthy, extra weight could be costing you money in your career. Many companies offer financial wellness incentives including discounts on health insurance, subsidized weight management programs, and online health coaching.
Like great business leaders, now you that know how health can be an effective career strategy. Being healthy can give you an extra edge in these five areas of your professional life, and it will make your personal life more enjoyable as well.