Optimize Your Performance: Tony Hchaime's Tips To Re-jig Your Success Ratio
If you’re looking for more hours to add to the day, then you’re doing it all wrong. In an attempt to manage ourselves effectively, we write out schedules and push things around, hoping the shuffle would clear up some space. Well, what do marathon runners and full-time employees have in common? Other than the run, there’s a whole lot more you’ll need to be in control of in order to move forward. Financier, investment banker, wellness coach, mentor, and Ironman triathlete, Tony Hchaime has taken a go at it. His methods are more than a call to get you to work out or think right; it’s an active way of life that allows you to work at full capacity whenever you want to.
“I don’t separate personal life from career and performance goals in the traditional sense,” Hchaime says. “I see success in personal life as one of multiple pillars of success, and each pillar is equally important. I plan my personal life just like I plan my professional life, and equally importantly, my self-development. The goal came first: achieve more in all aspects. The how came next: educate myself in the arts and sciences of psychology, behavioral change, productivity, and efficiency. Today I continuously learn, apply and teach principles in all three [areas] to advance my and others’ lives.”
After a very successful career run followed by several knockdowns, Hchaime devised his own plan to attend to (and excel at), all aspects of his life- not just his career. Whether you’re an exec or a ‘trep, Hchaime advises you to “never settle.” And how have his athletic endeavors changed his outlook? “I often draw on the skills and techniques I learned as an endurance athlete and coach to be more effective at work. These include manipulating my nutrition for maximum sustained energy, breathing exercises for stress management, productivity, making every minute count, and much, much more.”
Living a career-driven life, it's a given that entrepreneurs have their ups and downs. Do you propose to handle setbacks when they seem to be beyond your control?
This is probably the biggest obstacle entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. Acceptance of failure is a key success factor, and the ability to use that failure as a bouncing board for better attempts is critical. While a minority of entrepreneurs have an innate invincible mindset, many don’t, but they still have the opportunity to become extremely successful. the trick for such individuals is to build a strong support network consisting of a mentor, success beyond professional life that creates self-confidence and can be used as fuel alongside passion, and the use of triggers as a psychological tool. For example, I’m a big fan of using visual cues of the “why” that is the foundation for your venture. The fourth is evidence; do your research and trust the numbers– it’s objective and independent from your emotions.
As a wellness coach, you've probably met with many people who are looking to improve their circumstances. What arethe greatest self-management misconceptions you've come across?
Without exception, the biggest hurdle I come across when it comes to high performance is the self-defeating thought of “it can’t be done.” The reason I’m a big fan of reading biographies is because I can use real-life examples of people who demonstrated time and time again that ‘it can be done.’ In fact, the message I often articulate, which is equally important, is that “it can be done by anyone,” as long as you’re willing to put in the effort to learn the skills and acquire the tools. Whenever faced with an obstacle, always ask yourself: “How do I acquire the skills to get over it?”
What are three tips you'd give entrepreneurs living the fast life?
First, get off the treadmill, take a step back, assess, plan, then act, and do this every single week. You will be shocked at how many hours and how much energy you waste on non-critical tasks- in my experience, up to 70%. Second, never lose sight of your “why.” Put it front and center: it’s your biggest source of energy. Put it on your desktop, as the wallpaper on your phone, as a Post-it in your car, and on your bathroom mirror. Third, sleep and hydrate. Sleeping less than seven hours per night has been shown to reduce cognitive ability by ~30%. Being dehydrated does the same. So imagine the impact on your business if you don’t get enough sleep or water.
In your opinion, is it time management that helps most or is there another way of making it all happen?
I don’t believe in time management, because time is something you cannot control. What you can control are your energy and productivity. I can get more done today in five hours and feel energized afterwards than I did in 10 hours three years ago. I strive to achieve more per hour rather than just allocating hours, which is commonly referred to as time management.
What is the greatest challenge you've come across and how did you handle it?
I’ve always been fortunate enough to find the will and energy to stand back up when life knocked me down, and I got knocked down quite a few times in the past 15 years. However, the biggest challenge was standing back up after an entrepreneurial venture failed two years ago, costing me two years of my life and sending me tumbling down the professional ladder. Rational and analytical thinking, self-education, and most importantly, support at home from my wife are the reasons why I was able to not only recover from that episode, but to thrive in all aspects of my life once again.
I believe in having the right environment and support system to thrive. What are elements of your environment that are most relevant, and what kind of support system keeps you going?
I fully agree that one cannot thrive without the right environment. There are many elements that are key, but I’ll focus on the three I believe to be the most critical.
1. LEGAL FRAMEWORK Let’s face it, whatever your venture is, you need to be able to finance it, generate revenues, and move cash around. this is a key reason why some countries in the region continuously fail to achieve their potential in entrepreneurship.
2. THE VOTE OF CONFIDENCE FROM YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER Building a business drains energy and time, and every person directly affected by it needs to believe in the business almost as much as the entrepreneur him/ herself. Many ventures fail because of the toll it takes on their marriage/relationship, so communication and a shared sense of belief is absolutely key.
3. MENTORSHIP Typically, entrepreneurs rarely have time to read dozens of books to learn the various aspects of business needed to succeed. No one can be an expert in everything, yet a venture cannot thrive on the quality of its product alone. Having a network of mentors who can help you transform your business from ideal to thriving business is critical.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE BOOKS FOR 'TREPS?
That’s a tough one! I read a lot and there are many books I consider to be essential reading. Autobiography: Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger, productivity: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, self-development: The Power of Full Engagement co-authored by Jim Loehr and Tony Schartz.