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Keeping an Eye on Your No.1 Asset

By: Anne Laing

Why is it that as executives or entrepreneurs we are willing to invest our money, time and attention on the maintenance of our cars, properties or businesses, yet rarely invest the same amount of time or effort into the condition of our bodies?

Most of us will have experienced the perfunctory medical check where a doctor takes your blood pressure, weight, height and some routine blood tests. We dust our hands and think, “good for another ten years!”

My mother-in-law had one of those recently and was relieved when several days later she had a reassuring call to say she was in good shape for her age. But, just a month later she was diagnosed with colon, liver and stomach cancer and told she had only weeks to live, rather than years.

When you’re faced with the imminent possibility of dying, you become very focused on maximising your chance of survival, for yourself, for your family and for your business.

It is only now you really realise how much you will actually lose without your health.

You also realise that having ‘key man’ insurance isn’t going to mitigate your business longevity.

Suddenly looking after health cannot be put off until later, when the time is right, when business is better, or when things have quieted down.

What you look like on the outside is not always a clear reflection of what is going on inside, as many lean, stressed executives have found out.

The pressure of challenging markets, longer hours and downsizing companies combined with high personal outgoings puts unnatural pressure on our ancient physiological structures.

Those who continually whizz through the day without a thought for their optimal cellular renewal–with coffee to start the morning, packaged lunches on-the-go, more coffee, and a bottle of wine to wind down in the evening–risk more than only burnout.

These are all fertile breeding grounds for heart attacks, strokes, aneurisms, dementia and cancers. It doesn’t happen overnight; these diseases manifest themselves after many years of neglect.

To stay on top of your game, get into the driving seat of your health, become a student of your wellbeing and take charge!

As we have so recently experienced, the impact of enforced downtime is wide-ranging and often devastating.