You must know yourself better than you know the back of your hand. You must know your body type, your character type and whatever else helps you understand your potential to flip out when put to the test. There is a real caveat here: avoid at all cost the word “should” which is not about knowing yourself but more about judging yourself against an arbitrary and potentially self depreciative ideal. Be You but know what that really means.
You must know others. People are unbelievably predictable. If you find yourself constantly surprised or disappointed in people, you are missing a vital ingredient in your asset base as a business executive. You need to be able to assess people in seconds, predict their responses and be mindful enough to appeal to their better side. Miss this and you miss the whole point of communication.
You must know the difference between love and emotion. Why? Because love means making unemotional decisions, separating delusions and illusions from choices, putting yourself at arms length from critical human impacted decisions. Carry emotion through your day and week and you’ll burn out. Love is detachment. Without this perspective you become part of the problem you are meant to be finding solutions to.
You must have a bullet proof immune system. The bugs, virus, bacteria, disease that floats around aeroplane cabins, office aircon, and client meeting room crockery, is a test of the best immune system. Immune strength is more than adaptation. It is recovery, sleep, alcohol moderation, eating well but more important than all these combined, it is digesting well. If you do not give your mind time to absorb the day, your body time to absorb nutrients and your heart time to absorb the love of family, you will, eventually, break. Simply put, the art of letting nourishment in is a science few business executives understand, they even think it’s about meditation or slowing down, neither of which does the trick.
You must have a reason. When the why is big enough things start to fall into place. So an executive who has achieved their goal, hit the ceiling of their own prediction, is a dangerous animal, caught in a trap of its own making it can very nearly chew off its own foot. Stagnation is a terrible disease that comes when an executive simply raises the bar on their current income or family life without stepping back and asking “WHY?” – If the Why is not big enough, all the hard work, professional development and effort will go nowhere. When the WHY is not big enough, work becomes about HOW… and that’s the fastest path to self sabotage there is.
You must work out how to enjoy your day. Life is a roller coaster. Stuff happens good and bad every single day. If you expect otherwise you’ll eventually join the ranks of anti depressant consuming executives (40% of business execs take them constantly) or you’ll join another global community of execs who need alcohol to round out their day. If you aren’t enjoying your day, including the rough and tumble of it, either get out or get better at it otherwise it’s going to end up badly. Really, you want to be around to enjoy the fruit.
You must value romance. Look, I know this crosses over into the “forbidden” territory of family life for an executive but the day romance evaporates out of your daily thought process is the same day your work becomes more than work, it becomes a place where you try to suck water out of a stone. Work isn’t the home of romance, home is, life is. And if you get the romance happening outside your work you’ll bring a certain relaxed calm into your work that’s in step with work. Of course if you are a pole dancer or night worker this might be different. 99% of business stress can be sourced in relationship instability and lack of romance. It’s hard but it can be done.
You must do it now. How many people do you know who act totally dumb in their life and work on the basis that they are going on holiday in a few months and so it’s ok to skip a few exercise sessions, get home late, lose a few nights sleep and drink a little more on Friday night? On go the kilo’s, on goes the domestic abuse and for some stupid notion people think that a holiday is going to “make up for their dumbness.” It seems the more dumb an executive is, the more they spend on their family holiday. Guilt Trips… It’d be a great travel agency. Instead, make everyday a holiday. Get up, have a laugh, enjoy a play, got off to work, get home and make it a holiday instead of grind, grind, grump, moan and groan …. life is an accumulation of little choices, the first and most important choice is that we are blessed and we are, ultimately, on holiday. Borrowed time –
Never ever ever never ever ever never give 100%. Even if it’s the final of the Olympic 100 meters and you want to win in world record time. Hold something back. In love, in life, in work, in play, as a parent, as a partner, in investments. Hold something back. Staying in control to the bitter end means holding something in reserve. Know you’ve got control. Know you’ve got more. If you run, swim, race, work, love, talk, care, cook, smile or fart, hold something back. Never give 100% – 90% is ok, keep 10% for you. Try it.
You must know your own vision, inspiration and purpose because people are going to do and say dumb things. If you lose the peace in your heart (comes from knowing your VIP) because someone else is having a bad life or a bad moment or a bad week or is in a bad relationship you are going to be like a handkerchief in a hurricane. Blown from left to right based on other people’s choices of which you know only the result – what they said or did. Instead, make that peace in your heart your go-to space. Nothing can disrupt that space once you recognise that everyone is doing their best to be their best even if it comes over as their worst. Simply put you need to be generous with people and let them have their ignorance. Somehow the way to do it is to be thankful for whatever they’re saying or doing. Sometimes easier said than done.