Do you give yourself the same care and attention you give your business?
All too often, people who are creating incredible transformations neglect to look after themselves in the process… and this sort of success never lasts. You see, in order to have a business that makes a difference AND goes the distance, it has to be mentally and physically sustainable. And so you should make it your priority to get and stay fit and well.
I hear people talk about sustainability a lot, but it’s usually in the context of the business itself, rather than the business owner. People advise on how you can future-proof your offers, diversify your income streams, etc., but what about you, the CEO?
As you know, I’m the founder of 2 companies, Emily Williams and I Heart My Life, through which I’ve scaled to 7+ figures sustainably. I’m fulfilled, satisfied and full of energy, because over the years I’ve learned to take a holistic approach to my success.
Not only do I focus on things like strategy and mindset, I place a huge importance on health, too. I wasn’t always this way in the past, but quickly realized that if you REALLY want to make an impact on others, you have to make your wellbeing a priority. And you have to do that fast.
By adding 5 things to my daily routine, I’ve helped more people, made more money and felt more happy and positive whilst I was at it. Keep reading to hear how you too can elevate and expand your business WITHOUT sacrificing yourself.
#1: Dedicate Time to Meditate
My first piece of advice is to take up meditation. This is something that I took up daily years ago, and honestly? It changed my life. The benefits of dedicating time to mediate are endless, from increased strength, resilience and performance due to decreased stress and anxiety, to increased creativity, intuition and emotional intelligence. It’s even been known to sharpen skills such as attention, memory and learning speed… so it’s no surprise that numerous well-known and super successful CEOs claim that meditation helps them thrive and flourish (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Anna Huffington and my client Tricia Brouk who has used meditation to sell-out her high-ticket services to name but a few!).
Now, there are a few different styles of meditation you could adopt, but the general idea is to sit without distractions and clear your mind. A straight-forward mindfulness meditation is a great place to start if you’re unsure of what to do. Simply sit (or lie down if you prefer), close your eyes and witness your thoughts as they come and go. If you try this and struggle to switch off from distractions, don’t worry, there’s no such thing as ‘doing it wrong’, and once you get used to it you will find it becomes easier and easier. If you continue to have difficulty though, there are a ton of amazing apps, YouTube videos, and courses offering guided meditations. In terms of apps I recommend Chopra, Calm or Bloom. After that, you might wish to try manta-based meditation, transcendental meditation or another method that feels resonant! I’d also really recommend making a ritual out of it so that it feels special, (light incense or a candle, for example) as this will allow you to shift your energy more easily.
If you’re not someone who has ever practiced this already, the thought of adding another ‘to do’ to your day might seem overwhelming, but once you get into the swing of showing up to meditate daily, it will become as second nature as brushing your teeth. I suggest starting with just 5-10 minutes a day, ideally at the beginning of the day, but the end of the day is beneficial as well for winding down. Once it becomes a regular recurrence, and you start to feel the effects, you will find yourself wanting to increase the time and regularity of your sittings (I promise you, you will)! I know CEOs who meditate for an hour at a time, and others who take 10 minutes here and there in the middle of their day to regulate their emotions and achieve more clarity of focus. The beauty of this practice is that you can test and try different approaches until you find something that works for you.
#2: 30 Minutes of Movement Daily
Next up, I would encourage high-level CEOs to commit to 30 minutes of movement daily. Again, you might worry that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, but as with meditation, the benefits of daily movement far outweigh any reasons you might have for not doing it! It can improve brain health and memory, reduce the risk of chronic illness, and improve the quality of your sleep. It will also increase your energy levels, meaning you can be more efficient when you get back to your work. Yup—taking 30 minutes out of your day to move could be the key to getting more done!
I’d advise a well-rounded approach that covers cardio, strength training and stretching, as they all benefit your body in different ways, making you fitter, healthier and more flexible. Walking, jogging, swimming or cycling are all amazing forms of cardio, strength training can be done with weights or resistance bands, and when it comes to stretching, I personally love a yoga or pilates session. I also think that mixing it up and trying out different things means it never gets boring, as you can pick and choose your exercises based on how you’re feeling on any given day!
If you’re worried you won’t stick to an exercise regime, I’d suggest hiring a personal trainer, purchasing a gym membership or booking group classes in advance to make you more likely to attend. Having made an investment into it ahead of time, you’ll be more inclined to want to go so you can get a return. And if you’re able to see it as a business investment (as daily exercise will help you become a better CEO) even better! Again, just like meditation, the more you do it, the easier it will become—the endorphins it releases will make you happier, too.
#3: Spend Time Outside
Spending time in nature is another thing I would suggest you get super intentional about. I’m talking about committing to getting outdoors each and every day! You could also tie this in with your meditation and exercise routines, by making time to practice mindfulness while you’re outside, or taking long, soul-nourishing walks to get your daily steps in. Being outside can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing, and when you’re someone who spends lots of time tied to a screen, it’s absolutely essential you counteract it with some time unplugged, too. Time outdoors has been linked to improved mood, less stress and anger, increased confidence and self-esteem, and is also a great way to connect to yourself, to Mother Nature and to others (James and I love to take walks outside and chat about whatever comes to mind).
As you know, I’m a lover of luxury, so my ideal outdoor setting is relaxing in a natural spa or wandering around the English gardens of an exclusive hotel admiring all the blooms… I also love to travel, so planning to visit extraordinary places for once-in-a-lifetime hikes and swims is essential for my happiness. But of course, spending time in nature doesn’t have to be so extravagant and is something you can easily fit into your daily and weekly routines. Just walking around our neighborhood here in Austin makes me feel so abundant and helps me find the headspace I need to think clearly as a high-level CEO.
#4: Add Supplements
Supplements are another way in which I optimize my health and set myself up for success. Of course, in an ideal world, we would get all the nutrition we need from our daily meals, but in reality, it’s not always possible. Nowadays, I do eat a very well-balanced diet, as although I’m a high earner I believe your one true wealth is your health. But I do understand (and know from my earlier days!) that as CEOs with busy schedules there are undoubtedly times when we opt for convenience over quality. What’s more, despite their name, supplements are not intended to be a replacement for anything, and rather should be used to boost an already healthy lifestyle to ensure maximum results.
There are certain supplements that I’d especially advise CEOs to take daily. One of these is a good probiotic, which is essential for good gut health; as you may know, the gut and brain are linked in so many ways, meaning this is as good for your mind as it is for your body as well. Poor digestion takes a toll on everything from our skin to our sleep, and ensuring a healthy gut microbiome is a great basis for our overall health. Ashwaganda is awesome for strengthening the body’s resilience when it comes to physical and mental stress. Vitamin B3 helps control mental faculties, providing sharper thinking and a boost to energy. And you may also want to experiment with CBD, which has been branded as an amazing way to optimize energy and promote rest by high-achievers in all fields. As well as the above, I really recommend working with a nutritionist to establish what supplements your body needs so that you can tailor your approach to you! I highly recommend the Age Management Institute if you’re looking for someone to do a complete blood work review for you and suggest supplements. They do virtual consultations—make sure to tell them I sent you! I also talk more about supplements in this article.
#5: Incorporate Breathwork
Last but certainly not least, breathwork is crucial for keeping stress at bay and regulating the nervous system. The term refers to breathing exercises and techniques people perform to improve wellbeing on a physical, mental and spiritual level. It’s all about breathing in a conscious way and intentionally changing your pattern to promote deep relaxation or provide a helpful boost in energy. It’s a valuable way to increase creativity, joy and happiness, not to mention self love and worth. It is also a powerful tool to help people heal from emotional pain and trauma, so could be supportive of the patterns that are playing out in your business (because how we do one thing is how we do everything, right?).
Breathwork is a bit like yoga, in that there are many different types of practices. From transformational, shamanic, to holotropic… I’d advise doing some research on the different approaches to figure out what you think will be most beneficial to you. As well as varying practices, there are also many different techniques. Some to look into include box breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, pursed-lip breathing and the trusty 4-7-8. When you’re running your own business, a little stress and worry is inevitable, but having the ability to regulate your breathing using tried and tested tools is an incredible skill to have and will allow you to get back to feeling calm and in control in no time. One of our dear friends, Aaron Erickson, is also a breathwork expert. You can check his course out here.
I sincerely hope that these hacks help you in being the best CEO you can be. When you have dreams as big as ours, it wouldn’t be wrong to presume you’d need to be some sort of superhuman to achieve them—but in reality, building the business you’ve always desired is more than possible…. it just requires you to get super intentional with your health and wellness so that you can optimize your performance. (And if you want more, you can check out a few other reminders in this article.) Here’s to you!