Iron Rule #10: Balance the physical, intellectual and emotional aspects ofyour life.
Jan 1, 1998 12:00 PM,
I am not a preacher, and I certainly don’t judge how others live theirlives. My ideas are purely practical and help you be a betterentrepreneur-manager. Having gotten my motivation out of the way, let’sdeal with what I mean when I refer to the physical, intellectual andemotional aspects of our lives.
Physical is, of course, fairly self explanatory. Like the long-distancerunner who prepares an entire life for relatively few events, as managers,we need to think about the events we want to be prepared for. If we are inpoor shape, if we are constantly out with a bout of the flu, then wecertainly can’t do battle with some of the others out there. Your physicalwell-being, your weight, diet and general health can contributesignificantly to both your endurance at work and the way people perceiveyou. A healthy, robust manager is always perceived as more intelligent andarticulate than one who is not.
To give you an example of how the physical side can be a turn-off inbusiness dealings, let me tell you a story that actually happened. Nameshaving been changed to protect the innocent. The story involves somebody wewill call Bob. Bob came to interview with me for a job. Bob was superblyqualified for the job, and he felt confident that if he could spend sometime with us, he would be able to convince us he was the right person forthe job. I met with Bob, and he certainly had the intelligence, backgroundand motivation. Only two things bothered me about him. First, he smokedrather extensively, and second, he was a loyal customer of a localsteakhouse that served a lot of food, none of which has ever been calleddietetic. When I interviewed him, I was concerned that he wouldn’t have thestamina to do the work. It involved extensive travel, meetings at theoffice and a level of commitment Bob had not made before we visited. Theinterview started, and after some false starts, Bob askef if I would mindif he smoked. (That was the right approach 20 years ago, although certainlynot today.) I told him I did mind. Then, I wondered why he had thiscompulsion to smoke every half hour or so. Although a rhetorical questionfor me, I believed if Bob could do this while he was interviewing for ajob, he could also do it while he was out talking to some of our clients.He was also substantially overweight and did not seem to realize theclothes he was wearing were at least two sizes too small. I was sorelytempted to hire Bob, but I didn’t. He went with another company in theindustry, and I kept track of him, all the way up to the time he collapsedwith a heart attack a year after the first interview we had. Fate? Would ithave happened anyway? Maybe, but I think that Bob was a cardiac incidentwaiting to happen. His mind and spirit were willing, but his body was notmaintained well enough to withstand the stresses of modern day businesspressures. Bob has since left the industry and has taken on a lessstressful job.
Intellectual aspects of our lives deal with the reasoning side of our mind.Logic plays a big role here. In many ways, the intellectual aspects of thelives we lead can be accurately compared to a computer action and reaction.Feed good stuff in, good thoughts come out. Bad ideas in, bad stuff comesout. If you are intellectually aware of the business world, the politicalworld, the economical world and yes, even the sports and entertainmentworld, then chances are that this side of your life is in good shape.
Finally, we have the emotional or, as many would believe, the spiritualside of our lives. Now, it would be easy to get into a theological debateas to what the spiritual side of our lives should be like; I wouldn’t evendare to presume upon your patience to suggest how you should lead that partof your life. For the most part, I do know that those people with anemotional and spiritual aspect to their lives firmly in place lead happier,more productive lives than those without that psychological anchor.
How do we keep all this in balance? Certainly it is not easy, and often, wehave periods of our lives when one or more of the aspects are really out ofsync. And that’s okay; it’s to be expected. The thing that you have to keepin mind is that if any one of those three aspects are out of sync too long,it’s like a gyroscope that suddenly makes a bad turn and goes off in anentirely different direction than what was originally intended. Perhapsthinking of yourself as a gyroscope moving towards a well defined,predetermined goal will help you in keeping the physical, intellectual andemotional aspects of your life firmly in place. When that happens, you jointhe ranks of those people that seem to be happier, more productive and moreadjusted to the world around them. Try it. All you have to lose are some ofthe psychological anchors that hold you down.