It’s not all about having a rockin’ bod—although sure, that’s a great asset to have. Your health is your most important asset. After all, you are your own brand ambassador, and you have to be healthy in order to shine, inside and out.
The reality is that if you are starting your own business, you likely have to pay for your own health insurance and doctors’ appointments. You no longer have paid sick days. Taking days off may be easy since you are your own boss, but every day that you’re not working, you’re also potentially missing opportunities.
If you get really sick, that’s going to suck, whether you work for someone else or for yourself. Not just from a financial standpoint, but from the career momentum standpoint of having to cancel hard-earned meetings and having to take a break from your purpose-driven pace. So try these three tricks to stay in fighting shape:
1. Make your health a priority. I should practice more of this than I preach, but let’s all try to do more of this: schedule annual checkups with your primary doc, even if you think you don’t need them. Even bare-bones insurance policies will pay for these. And this is one I actually like doing: an annual dental cleaning! Not only does it make your teeth feel so fresh and so clean, but it’s an investment in your dental health, too; a little maintenance is better than getting hit with a huge bill (and a lot of pain) for a root canal—the cost of which most dental plans do not fully cover.
2. Schedule your workouts as you would meetings. Even beyond the health-promoting benefits, when you exercise regularly you are happier, you think more clearly, your confidence is boosted, and endorphins are pumping through your body, giving you that extra injection of enthusiasm that you need to push just that much harder. A lot of people think they are too busy and that they have no time, and the first thing to go is exercise. I’m so guilty of this. I hate working out, but I do it because I know it’s good for my body, my health and, ultimately, my business. Even President Obama—the leader of the free world, for cryin’ out loud—manages to hit the gym six days a week, and that’s not including those well-known basketball games with his staff. First Lady Michelle Obama gets up at four-thirty in the morning three times a week to get her workout in. If those two can find the time, we all can.
3. Get creative with your workouts. When things get really crazy around the office, my production company cofounder and I hit the streets of New York for a run. I kid you not. She’s a marathon runner (like a serial one); I’m a runner who looks like she is power-walking as she “runs,” but we both benefit from the fresh air and change of scenery. It’s amazing how something as simple as working up a sweat can help put things in perspective and get the creative juices flowing; we often come up with new story ideas, solutions to problems we’ve been working through or plans for world domination while out pounding the pavement. And it’s my favorite kind of two-fer: getting some good work done and also squeezing in a workout so we don’t have to stress about making it to the gym on top of everything else. Don’t think for a second that you have to be chained to a desk.
When in doubt, sweat it out!