Being in the Business of Brainpower…

Rocket Science

By Anne Laing & Tim Bean –

Back in the early days of the fitness industry we used to say “Staying in shape is simple – shut your mouth and move your legs. This isn’t rocket science.”

But hold on: this really is rocket science, as human beings are made up of incredibly complex systems, of which we are only just scratching the surface of understanding. We have systems in the body that need to be functioning optimally, as well as our mental and emotional well-being.

At ground level you have to know and apply the basics in order to prevent, what we call The Three Corporate Career Killers: ‘bail-out’, ‘burn-out’ or being ‘booted out’ from work – or even family.

The good news is that rocket science isn’t difficult for a rocket scientist. Flying a jumbo jet isn’t difficult for a jumbo jet pilot. And being a human being shouldn’t be difficult for a human being. You just have to learn how to do it and, when there is a genuine desire to take control of managing your body, it all becomes easier.

In the quest for a healthy body, one of the most overlooked areas is the brain. Studies suggest we start to lose our edge around the age of 40 when the brain shows signs of slowing. Many will experience some symptoms of mental deterioration, such as impaired concentration, short-term memory loss and difficulties learning new information.

The delicate balance of neurotransmitter production in the brain can be altered by hormone imbalances, chemical pollutants, medications or the choices we make regarding what we eat and drink.

Whenever you drink too much alcohol, or skip a nutrient-dense meal, or only ever eat starchy beige or white foods, you are not only depleting your body, but also starving your brain. It can take just a short time to see some of the effects: irritability, forgetfulness or food cravings. After many years this eventually leads to the formation of brain cell plaques and dementia.

A normal brain processes a thought at roughly one third of a second and the difference between a sharp functioning mind and senility is only a matter of milliseconds. Your brain speed is based on how quickly these electrical signals are processed. This rate is your real brain age, which can be quite different from your chronological age.

You can help safeguard against dementia, depression and other brain disorders.

How?

A healthy brain begins with a diet rich in high quality foods, low in processed grains and sugars, and your own on-going thirst for knowledge. Studies are now linking a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and brain shrinkage to those who eat a low-processed, high-plant and lean-protein diet.

This goes hand-in-hand with a suite of habits to help routine and planning. The power of eight is a good start.

8 coloured vegetables a day

8-inch plate

8 glasses of pure clean water

8 hours sleep a night, and

8,000 footsteps a day

Also:

– Avoid artificial sweeteners and MSG flavour enhancers found in many different food preparations that cause excito-toxicity within the brain.

– Add detoxifying greens such as Chlorella, Spirulina and green smoothies to detox heavy metals that affect the brain.

– Sleep. Get your 8 hours. Your brain builds up toxic waste during a busy working day. It needs restorative sleep to clean up and defrag.

– Take regular exercise. This produces greater blood flow to the brain and strengthens brain cell connections, protecting them from damage.

– Know your numbers. Keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and homocysteine in check. Balance waning hormones with bio-identical help from an anti-ageing specialist.

– Be social and connected, sure, but take time to disconnect and relax.

– Take up a hobby that challenges your brain.

– Never stop learning – go for mentally stimulating jobs that keep you challenged.

– Immerse yourself in another culture -new languages are a start. Russian, Arabic or Mandarin are the most difficult if you want to be really challenged.

– Get out of your comfort zone – challenge your business brain and seek out tough assignments. Take up public speaking!

– Manage stress – Seek out laughter and a yoga class…or the other way around (!)

What’s the link for business?

Like disease, stress manifests itself in a weakened body first and, regardless of the industry you are in, your business essentially runs on brainpower, so there’s tremendous value in protecting and preserving, what we call, your “Cerebral Capital”™. The mental capacity and function of key talent within your organisation is possibly the most valuable asset your business has.

You won’t find this on any balance sheet, yet the cost if something goes wrong – to the business, its customers and to families – is enormous. Incalculable even.

What is good for the body is always good for the brain!

There’s more information, discussion and strategic action points in our latest book “The Wealthy Body in Business” out now. Order your copy HERE

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A Pact with the Devil

 

 

Would it surprise you to know that the average person is on 14 different medications by the time they die?

What most people don’t know is that this process begins much earlier in life, and stress can play a major part in it.

In the traditional sense, stress is simply a physiological response to a perceived circumstance.

Now in situations where a physical action is appropriate, these responses are fantastic.  We become able to function at a far superior level that we would otherwise be capable.  But the modern dilemma is that we are now almost entirely sedentary.

Most of the stress we encounter today tends to be faced from an office chair – and the stress never seems to end.  There is no real resolution, and no realistic way of physically responding to the threat.

In the modern office it isn’t appropriate to leap across the desk and strangle a colleague or your boss, and running away simply isn’t an option either. In many cases (such as time pressure, decision-making or workload) it’s a threat we can’t even see.

Physically, inside, the very responses that were programmed into us since the dawn of time to ensure our survival in a crisis now become the greatest threat to our lives themselves.

  1. Heart rate and blood pressure increase putting strain on our heart, blood vessels and arteries, placing us a greater risk of a heart attack, aneurism or stroke.
  2. Digestion suffers as the body prioritises activity to the muscles and major organs.
  3. Additional sugars and fats dumped into the bloodstream to use as extra energy are re-cycled and deposited as dangerous trunk fat.
  4. The constant unresolved stress overloads the adrenal glands, thyroid and pancreas – further compounded with the addition of coffee, cigarettes or other stimulant drugs.

Without the natural responses available to us, we become completely wired, yet worn-out.  Exhilarated, yet exhausted.  Fired up, but fed up.  And we can be assured of one thing – it will kill us sooner rather than later.

Let’s face it; stress is already embedded in the city, and it’s a devils pact. You sell your soul to the corporation, and it rewards you very well and looks after you. But it expects you to do its bidding, and generate the money.

Your private life can at times be extremely difficult, but it often takes second place along with your health and family.  Sometimes we have to remind people, “You’re going to burn out – you won’t be in a job, but in a hospital if you continue like this.”

One of the reasons that burnout is so severe and traumatic when it arrives, is that few accept that it is coming. It’s our ‘alpha’ drive that keeps the wheels of business turning. What the markets won’t allow, and what you can never admit to, is breaking down, burning out or stressing out.  Failure at any level is inconceivable, unacceptable – and unforgiveable.

It seems the first rule of command at the top is NOT talking about the psychological meltdown that’s just around the corner, so you start the day with coffee to get going, use high sugar snacks to get you through the day and unwind with alcohol at night.  Alcohol starts as an anaesthetic against the pain of pressure, yet can quickly become a destructive force in its own right.

Younger and younger men and women are ignoring the needs of their body and suddenly find themselves flaming out, having depressive episodes, or worse, experiencing a stroke or heart attack too early in their working lives.

Most people don’t really know what else they could do without their jobs. It’s a vocation and a profession, of which social standing and self-worth are important elements. However it’s also a lifestyle that by its very nature encourages more stress.  The perpetual treadmill that keeps going faster, and faster and faster…

That being said, statistics do show consistently that top performers in business, who survive the rigors of command, share some common traits.  They ALWAYS take their holidays, and they always prioritise quality sleep and time out.  They never miss exercise, they feed their body high-performance foods to keep it healthy – and what’s more they don’t abdicate this responsibility to others.

It is a top-down issue as leadership behaviour influences everyone else in the organisation. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a personal option, but there is no doubt that the behaviours of senior management strongly influence the behaviour of employees.

And the key here is visible behaviour. What a manager says or writes has limited effect, but what he or she actually demonstrates through his or her behaviour is extremely powerful.

The great physicist, Albert Einstein, said, “Leading by example is not the main means of influencing another.  It is the only means.”

Companies now have to recognise the value of their cerebral capital. Their top people have to be looked after because it’s too costly when they break down.

Stress-Busting Strategies.

On the face of it there are some very obvious solutions.

  1. Prioritise 7-8 hours sleep – without a mobile phone in the room.
  2. Build stress-burning physical activities into your day – like weight training and climbing stairs.
  3. Get an Adrenal Stress Index Test, (ASI) to assess the body’s production of the major stress hormones, cortisol, and DHEA. This profile serves as a critical tool for uncovering biochemical imbalances that can underlie anxiety, chronic fatigue, obesity, diabetes and a host of other clinical conditions.
  4. Supplement with nutrients, such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc, which can become depleted during ongoing stress – causing a hyper-active brain that won’t switch off…
  5. Commit to eating only nutrient-dense, high-performance foods.
  6. Avoid alcohol during the working week.
  7. Commit to a lean bodyweight. Excess fat is toxic to the business body and brain.

There’s more information, discussion and strategic action points in our latest book “The Wealthy Body in Business”. Pre-order your copy HERE

So Who’s Going to Mind the Shop..?

By Tim Bean –

The problem of ‘Succession Planning’ is one faced by many small and family-sized businesses – but larger companies and corporations are not immune.  In fact the bigger the business, the darker the storm that looms on the horizon, threatening even the most successful firms.

As I explain below, there is a solution that may help…

PS: Has stress affected you negatively recently? To find out how you can deal better with stress, fire up energy, boost resilience and build recovery, check out our new book “The Wealthy Body in Business (Bloomsbury, London) due out April 6th!

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Running Around in Circles? What Rats Can Teach Us About Stress…

Wow – at a recent medical conference I was speaking at in Taiwan, a fascinating study came to light you really have to hear about. To save time, here’s the Executive Summary and our own conclusions:

Has stress affected you negatively recently? To find out how you can deal better with stress, fire up energy, boost resilience and build recovery, check out our new book The Wealthy Body in Business (Bloomsbury, London) due out April 6th!

wealthy-body-cover-bloomsbury

Dude, you’re doing that wrong …

38968037 - businessman using mobile phone working while having a breakfast

By Anne Laing –

When travelling abroad we still see business people at the hotel breakfast buffet loading up with their morning fruit juice, in the mistaken belief they’re making a healthy choice. For sure it’s healthier than a soda, but not by much…

For a day of high productivity, performance and concentration most juices are no help to your brain health. Commercial juices contain a large amount of refined carbohydrates guaranteed to give you a concentration slump. Each 12-ounce glass of juice has about the same amount of sugar (8 teaspoons) as a 12-ounce glass of soda, even if no sugar is added.

According to Dr Mercola, international health expert, these juices may also be contaminated with mould and should best be avoided.

Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, should also be left well alone, as one of their main ingredients is high-fructose corn syrup, and others may contain large amounts of caffeine per serving.

To fire up your neurons eat a piece of whole fruit or half a cup of dark berries, which appear in their own natural, high-fibre package. Alternatively go for green or purple fresh-made smoothies, tomato juice, fresh-squeezed lemon juice with sparkling water, coconut water, mineral water, or herbal teas…!

Planning ahead, you can also grab an apple or banana from the buffet to slip in your briefcase as emergency rations for later in the day!

Who’s Got Your Back..?

(Left to right) LOGAN LERMAN (white shirt), LUKE EVANS, RAY STEVENSON (back to camera) and MATTHEW MACFADYEN star in THE THREE MUSKETEERS Ph: Rolf Konow, SMPSP © 2011 Constantin Film Produktion GmbH, NEF Productions, S.A.S., and New Legacy Film Ltd. All rights reserved.
© 2011 Constantin Film Produktion GmbH, NEF Productions, S.A.S., and New Legacy Film Ltd. All rights reserved.

As a business leader one of the biggest challenges you have in maintaining a high-energy, high-health regime has as much to do with managing your schedule as anything else.

Meetings, flights, dinners, briefings, taxis, hotels, presentations, reports and time to think through strategy decisions – it’s a massive logistical exercise to make all that happen smoothly, successfully and without a glitch. Now let’s factor in exercise, healthy food choices, supplementation and sleep, and you have a potential melt-down on your hands.

Training, sustaining and maintaining the very best teams of support professionals is a vital component in your success as a business leader. Just as you know yourself, maintaining high energy, clarity and mental acuity doesn’t just happen by accident, and requires constant attention to healthy rituals and habits to stay on the very top of your game.

For EA’s and PA’s, this applies doubly, for not only do they have to manage the diary of their hard-charging exec’s, maintaining a zero margin of error, they must also manage their own health, wellbeing and lifestyles as well. How do they do this?

To be honest, no-one can do it without acquiring specialist knowledge, understanding and practical direction in this field.

That’s why we now provide dedicated wellbeing programmes specifically for EA’s, PA’s and Support and Admin professionals. It’s a two-pronged approach: understanding and scheduling high-health strategies for their executive charges, whilst implementing wellbeing rituals into their own personal lifestyles.

This enables you to maintain a high operational capacity in the face of pressured timetables, and ensures you retain your best support talent, operating at a consistently higher level, for longer.

Executive Education might not just be for Executives after all…

PS: On 19 April I’ll be presenting a special keynote at the Asian Summit for Secretaries and Admin Professionals in Singapore http://www.sttstraining.com/ASSAP/index.html. In this session I’ll be sharing my top tips, tools and techniques for losing weight, boosting energy, preventing colds and flu’s, staying fit, sleeping better, stressing less and fighting off the effects of ageing!

This is all about self-care, and how the benefits at a personal level can impact effectiveness at a professional level.

It’s just one key session of a whole host of expert presentations, so if you have a valued member on your team who could benefit from 4 days of high-level, role-specific training and interaction, I’d really encourage you to consider sending them along.

Details to register are here: http://www.sttstraining.com/ASSAP/registration.php
 

 

 

Keeping an Eye on Your No.1 Asset

Untitled1By: 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.

Looking for an inspirational speaker?
This information is no longer a discretionary topic – it is a vital tool in business for the survival and retention of your top talent. It is the missing link between traditional wellness solutions and the actual health, performance and longevity of your leadership teams. Learn more, here.