We have all heard the airline safety briefing where the Flight Attendant (or video screen) tells us: “In the unlikely event of a cabin depressurization, oxygen masks will automatically drop from a panel in the ceiling above you. Grab a mask, pull it towards you to release the flow of oxygen and place the mask over your mouth and nose. Put your own mask on first before assisting others…”
Seems totally logical that we cannot be of assistance to anyone else in the airplane (or anywhere else in life) if we don’t make sure that we can breathe ourselves.
Why is it then, that the leaders and executives I see every day insist on doing everything except take care of themselves? Not exercising, too little sleep, poor nutrition and hydration that consists of coffee, soda pop and alcohol but not water. It’s no wonder why we cannot handle stress, have poor relationships with those that matter the most and have energy crashes at the most inconvenient times?
Your Number One Priority
Like the airline safety briefing, putting your own mask on first—in other words, making sure that you are making your health a priority—is the only way you will be of any use to others, be it those who you lead or care about the most.
Another way to look at it is this… Would you let a $100,000 race horse smoke cigarettes, eat junk food, not get enough rest and never exercise? Most of us would not even let a $5 dog we rescued from the pound do that! Why is it then we do that to ourselves? We have to believe that we make our living with our brains – brains that are capable of generating income over millions of dollars in a lifetime. Professional athletes realize that they need to take incredibly good care of themselves. Leaders need to have the same approach.
Steps to be Your Best You
And here’s the good news, it’s easier to do than you think! Here’s my program:
- Water. Three liters everyday including one liter immediately upon waking each day (our brains run on oxygen, good nutrition and, most importantly, water). After sleeping, our brains have been deprived of water for 8+ hours. The worst thing we could ever put in our bodies is soda pop sweetened with artificial sweetener (the devastating effects on our total health is a very LONG list)!
- Rest. Seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Our brains need sleep to reset and repair after being stressed by use, the environment and toxins we have in our system. Waking up at night is normal – don’t worry about it. Limit ‘blue light’ from electronics for an hour before bed. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. Sleep in a cool, dark room. Don’t sleep with your phone in or beside the bed.
- Nutrition. Eat in a nine-hour window – our bodies need lots of time to reset, repair or remove damaged cells and we cannot do that when we are consuming energy digesting food. You won’t die if you are a little hungry outside that window! Try eating like this for 3-4 days and you will notice a HUGE improvement in energy and inflammation around your joints!
- Eat like a caveman. Our bodies were designed to eat a mixture of nuts, berries, fruit, vegetables and lean protein or fish.
- Limit or remove dairy (except sourced from goats), bread, rice, grains and sugar. None of this was around when our bodies were designed.
- Move. Exercise does not have to be tough or time consuming. Our bodies were designed to move. Our brains thrive on the boost in oxygen and ‘happy’ hormones or endorphin, serotonin and oxytocin. Have more energy. Feel better. Sleep better. Global road warrior and successful leader Richard Hoy, has walking meetings with his staff. He gets shit done and does over 10,000 steps-a-day while wearing a suit!
- Meditate. Find 20 minutes every day to be alone in your thoughts. No technology. No distractions. No agenda. Your very best ideas and creative thoughts will happen here.
That’s it. Super easy to do. All you have to gain is health, energy, happiness and more success. What’s stopping you from putting your own mask on first?
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