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?”

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