Category Archives: Personal Development

Are you heading for your executive use by date?

Are you heading for your executive use by date?

What is a “use by” date? Other than a stamp on your milk carton or that dusty jar hidden at the back of the cupboard telling you when to throw it out?

While doing some research about executives holding their position I happened upon a very different example. In the “Asia Pacific Thought Leadership Series” by Heidrick & Struggles, an executive’s “use by date” signifies the age when he or she supposedly moves from being “effective” to “ineffective”.

And the main reason for expiring executive effectiveness is a lack of good health. But while regular physical exercise is so important, worry and stress plays a big part in deteriorating health.

A company called Body View® in Florida once offered free CT scans to 155 CEO’s and when the tests came back:

  • 38% had evidence of coronary disease
  • 10% had serious coronary disease
  • 6% needed surgical correction.

A lot of this had to do with how they dealt with pressure situations.

Get a brighter outlook on business

Research shows that healthy executives are more likely to see changes as challenge and opportunities for growth rather than reasons to worry and stress more.

In other words, if you worry and stress your health will suffer, and if you’re not healthy to begin with you’ll worry and stress even more. Catch-22 anyone?
So training for the Olympic decathlon aside, what are some simple things we can do to extend our executive use by date?

De-cluttering your mind lowers your stress levels

In most work situations, our stress responses cause our performance to suffer. One way to reduce stress is to get your work and home life organised.
By creating a list of actions at the end of each day for the following day you’ll greatly reduce any anxiety you might be suffering from. And because you go to bed knowing exactly what has to be done the next day you don’t spend half the night tossing, turning and staring at the ceiling.

Follow the Aussie adage

“No worries”. It’s a great saying. Unfortunately it’s often easier said than done. And the added stresses of today’s fast paced business world don’t help. But in the back of your mind always try to remember that:

  • worrying won’t change the situation
  • worrying won’t make the problem go away
  • worrying won’t get you through the problem happen any faster

Turn a challenge into an opportunity

When you do face challenging or worrying situations, always ask:

  • “What is this situation helping me learn about myself?”
  • “What positive lesson can I get from all of this?”
  • “How will this situation help to make me stronger?”

Long life vs quality of life

According to the ABS, the life expectancy for a girl born today in Australia is 83.7 years and 79.0 years for a boy. Interestingly enough, since 1987 men have managed to scrounge an extra six years, but the ladies only an extra four. Make of this what you will!

In an era where life really does seem to fly by, it’s comforting to know we’re all living longer. But what the figures don’t include is quality of life. By this I mean the degree to which we effectively engage in life.!

The sad fact is that many people “go bad” long before they reach their 79th or 83rd year – especially climbing or at the top end of the professional ranks.!

So my question to you is, “Are you doing the right things to extend the term of your natural executive life?”

2 easy ways to work smarter not harder

2 easy ways to work smarter not harder

Everyone of us has talents that can be used to achieve the things we see as true success in life – and ultimately, real happiness.

To work and play at your peak is not about having an abundance of natural skill. You are better off with determination, vision, confidence and focus.

It’s about understanding where you waste time and how to use that time to best effect – working smarter not harder. With a little practice, it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think.

A picture perfect performance

Think about the incredible performances of an Olympic athlete like Usain Bolt. He achieves those cheetah like world records using the power of mental energy to reinforce exactly how he wants to perform. In other words, he sees himself crossing that line with the rest of the field in his wake before it happens.

Visualisation is not something reserved solely for elite sports people, rock stars, movie stars, business gurus, etc. Many successful people in all professions and ways of life have used it since childhood to create the circumstances of their own life. You can do it too. Here’s how.

Create vivid images to get where you want to be faster

Sit in a comfortable chair at home, close your eyes and breathe deeply to clear your mind and relax your body. The more sights, sounds and smells, tastes and touches you incorporate in your mental images, the more powerful your desire will be to make your vision happen.

When you focus on what you want – rather than the answers and the detours along the way – you will get to your destination faster. Without focus on your vision it will take a long time and effort to achieve your goal.

Get some momentum going on your new commitment for the good life! Prove to yourself that waiting is over and hoping is the past, that faith and action have now taken charge

Stop time wasting and start being effective

Take several sheets of paper and go somewhere where you will be alone and undisturbed and write answers to the following questions:

  • How do I waste my time? What can I do to prevent or reduce wasted time in the future?
  • How do I waste other people’s time? Whose time do I waste? How can I prevent this from happening?
  • What activities am I now performing that can be reduced, eliminated or given to someone else to do?
  • What do other people do that wastes my time? Can anything be done to reduce or eliminate future occurrences? If so, what?
  • What do I do that is urgent but unimportant?
  • What do I do that is important in light of my goals?
  • Am I spending my time pursuing those things that are important to me? If not, why not? If so, how?

Writing it down will help you see the things you need to concentrate on and those you need to cast aside.To make the transition easier:

  • work on improving your concentration and memory skills
  • prioritise your to-do list and make every day count
  • keep control of effectiveness-killing emotions such as guilt, worry, fear, failure and anger.

Practise these exercises regularly to stay focused on your goals and you’ll be well on your way to reaching them before you know it.