When you think of an executive, you probably think of a super-dominant\ type A kind of person. Always on point, calm and collected under any situation. The boss that has such laser-focus that nothing stops them from winning at, well… basically everything.
Most people aren’t born that way though. That’s a personality they craft through consistency and routine. The reality of executive life is a constant battle for your time and attention that can leave you drained by noon. A life where you make so many decisions that you can’t even decide which whisky you’re going to relax with at night.
A life that draining is no fun. There is no amount of money in this world that makes it worthwhile. Believe me… I’ve gone through it.
Yes, there will always be times that are busier than others and situations that spin out of control. But that shouldn’t be “the norm.”
Thankfully, there are a few simple hacks that every successful (and happy) exec I know uses to keep them sane, relaxed and crazy focused.
When you put them into your daily or weekly routine, you can perform your best even when times get tough.
Every time I see an exec stressed or underperforming, doesn’t matter if they’re a colleague, one of my students or a client, I ask them one simple question:
What does your “Boss Routine” look like?
Having a routine that helps eliminate stress while improving focus and confidence is the easiest thing to do outside the office that will bring you total dominance inside the office. Focus, confidence, determination and a calm mind. Total dominance, just like a boss.
And the best part is: This applies to everyone, in every walk of life and at any stage in their career.
For me, the routine is simple:
1. Hone your focus by lifting weights.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I lift. The program and goals change from time to time, but the consistency remains. Some days it’s an hour, some days it’s only half. The key is consistency.
This is an absolute necessity for me.
When you consistently lift, you consistently push yourself both physically and mentally. This prepares you for the ups and downs of modern life.
On top of that, personal records are shattered on a regular basis. Talk about absolutely skyrocketing your confidence. Consistently lift weights and you will consistently get better in all areas of your life, including your boss life.
Bonus points if you have a coach that handles the workout and diet planning for you. Delegation is a skill to hone too.
2. Destroy stress with something physical.
For me, this is on my “rest” days. I’m not a professional trainer, but I have one. And when they schedule my rest days, it always has something in it besides “sitting on the couch.” It’s usually some light cardio like cycling or running.
My preference is, and always will be, fighting. And when I say “fighting,” I mean martial arts.
The key is to find a dojo or “martial arts school” and get a workout in.
Being a Jeet Kune Do black belt (my company is called Startup Black Belt for a reason), I’ve trained in a ton of different styles. Muay thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, boxing, krav maga, you name it -- I’ve probably trained in it. All of them are great for real world defense, all of them can give you a great workout. The key to picking “the best” style is simple: Pick the one you like and stick with it.
Some people will gravitate towards kick boxing, some to jiu jitsu, some towards tae kwon do. The best one is the one that you enjoy that helps you de-stress. When martial arts training isn’t practical, the default for me is for a “power walk” around the neighborhood with the family.
All of this cardio is acting almost like a moving meditation where you can just “zone out” for an hour or so. And that’s a bullet-proof way to destroy stress.
If you’re in a pinch and need to de-stress quickly, go throw gloves on and hit a punching bag as hard as you can for a minute.
Seriously, try it. I don’t think you can relieve stress any quicker.
3. Re-energize with a “caveman day.”
Ahhh, caveman day.
This is when you take a special day of the week and pretend to be a caveman. Go watch TV, read a book, relax and don’t worry about a thing. Keep the laptop and phone off. The point of the caveman day is to reconnect with more people than devices and to give everything a rest. Your brain, your body -- everything.
This is the ultimate recharge. Forget the old stereotypes of being available 24/7. It’s hurting your productivity.
The bottom line is if you keep active, disconnect every once in a while and pay attention to your “boss routine,” you’ll find yourself operating more like Harvey Specter and less like Dwight Schrute. Confident enough to get that next promotion. Focused enough to launch your first app. Relaxed enough to find new business in slow times. Happy enough to enjoy your work time and your play time.
More productive, more focused and less stressed.