Executives are some of the busiest people I know. They are often some of the unhealthiest, as well.

The trend in today’s workplace is towards doing more and more with less and less. This adds strain to the already overworked executive. That strain affects the health of the executive and hinders his or her ability to do their job effectively.

This trend cannot continue. It is destroying the lives of too many top-notch professionals.

Here are 27 tips for staying healthy as a busy executive:

1. Remember to smell the flowers. Take time out to enjoy the little things in life. Being just as impressed by small events as large ones helps to cultivate wisdom and clarity.

2. Stop living a “hit-and-miss life.” Living aimlessly is like shooting multiple arrows that miss their targets. This is a waste of time and not a trait of an effective leader.

3. Anxiety is anticipation run riot. Anticipating the worst keeps us from enjoying the present. Realize that anxiety does not facilitate self-control.

4. Remember to take breaks. Taking breaks during work helps you accomplish more during the time that you are working.

5. Avoid procrastination. Remove temptations around you such as an instant messenger program or magazines, which might tempt you from being efficient at work.

6. Keep things simple. Eliminate the things that cause clutter in your life, such as unnecessary magazine subscriptions, paper and too many unused gadgets.

7. Take care of yourself. Executives who look haggard or tired tend to have more responsibilities heaped on them, because your physical condition and dress sends the message that you permit that.

8. Commit yourself to exercise at least three times a week. Keeping yourself in shape will help you perform efficiently in all areas of your life.

9. Always eat breakfast. Low blood sugar as a result of not eating properly can cause unproductive afternoons.

10. Take your vitamins. If you eat constantly on the run to save time, take vitamins to avoid potential slumps in energy.

11. Bag your lunch. Not only is this cheaper, but it is more nutritious because you have control over what you eat. This can spare you from eating empty calories that exhaust you.

12. Sit down with your family for dinner. This is the one thing that you can do each day to bond with family members. It also saves money and allows you to control your diet.

13. Make dates with your mate. Planning romantic outings keeps your relationship erotic and alive.

14. Get professional help. If you can’t cope due to bad time management skills or emotional problems, get the help that you need.

15. Ask for help if you need it. Pride prevents most executives from asking for assistance from higher ups or colleagues. Being trained wastes less time than trying to figure out something yourself.

16. Make sure you have quiet time. Set personal time aside for yourself each week doing something that you enjoy doing alone. This gives you clarity and is a form of meditation.

17. Get enough sleep. People who are sleep deprived make more time consuming mistakes and are too irritable to lead a quality life style.

18. Never get too hungry. People who are hungry are irritable and make mistakes so that things need to be done over again.

19. Avoid people who suck your time. Needy or emotionally disturbed individuals can seriously throw your plans for the day astray. Avoid them the best you can.

20. Deal with your anger. Angry individuals are hasty, reckless and make careless errors that cause time consuming mistakes.

21. If you are tired, rest. It is better to rest and do a task twice as fast afterwards, rather than do it slowly because you are exhausted.

22. Take life one day at a time. Live in the present, not in the future, and you will accomplish more.

23. Give back to the community. Engage in one meaningful activity where money is “not the goal”. This empowers you spiritually and prevents you from getting too stuck in your own problems.

24. Make yourself inaccessible at certain times. Let others know when you are working and cannot be disturbed.

25. Reward yourself for a job well done. Whenever you complete a big task, make sure to keep motivated by giving yourself a reward.

26. Seek out the good in every situation. Disappointments and delays are a part of life. Learn how to make it up to your family if you are late and can’t be there for them.

27. Realize that you always have choices. Make choices about how you spend your time, and do not be at the mercy of obligations that you cannot fulfill.

As a busy executive, staying healthy has to be at the top of your priority list. It is essential to your job as a leader. Use these tips to guide you into the healthy lifestyle you deserve.

DeLores Pressleymotivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email atinfo@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Published in Akron/Canton

In last month’s article, we looked at effective leadership. This month, I have chosen the topic of courage. Very often, leadership and courage are linked together: A leader must have courage; a leader must act in a courageous manner and so on.

While this is true, it is only part of the story about courage and the workplace. As we shall see, the virtue of courage must run throughout an organization or company –  from bottom to top – in order for it to function at the highest level.

Courage defined

Courage comes from the Old French corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” In other words, courage is an innate, internal quality that resides within the core of your being.

Courage is further defined as: “The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” Again, we see the word spirit.

Courage is foundational

Courage is associated with such words as fearlessness, grit and power. It is experiencing fear, yet pushing through it to achieve your desired result.

In my book, courage is the thing that underlies every other human quality. Without it, we cannot rightly be honest, dependable, generous or trustworthy. Courage is the foundation upon which all other virtues are built.

Courage and fear of reprisal

Why is so little courage seen in so many companies these days? In my estimation, it is because the leaders of those companies have fostered a culture where dissenting voices are discouraged and opinions that threaten the status quo are thoroughly silenced.

With this climate of possible retaliation before them, team members are fearful of speaking up, sharing their thoughts and voicing their values. Fear of being the first one out the door at the next downsizing has stopped many ideas dead in their tracks in the workplace.

Courage, vision and openness

The first step in harnessing your courage is to develop a vision that represents your authentic self and goals, and aligning that vision with the business and its goals. This is true for the executive, manager and employee in the workplace.

Development of a vision that all members of the team can buy into depends on the openness of a company or organization. An open-minded company allows for discussion, sharing, brainstorming and even dissenting views. An open leader sees the value of the knowledge and experience of everyone in the room, including managers and employees.

The leaders’ openness allows for others to work from a place of courage. They can step up without fear and lend their thoughts to the discussion. The ability to have that courage becomes transformational, both for the person sharing and the company or organization.

Openness leads to the ability to shape and form a vision. It is a vision wrought in courage which gives it power. That vision, brought about by the courage of the people involved in its development, will be the driving force carrying the company forward into new and exciting areas.

What does courage in the workplace look like?

I write this section because so many people have yet to see courage in action in the workplace. It is foreign to them. They have yet to experience the notion.

The best picture I have come across in my work is a picture painted by Jaime Walters in an article from 2002 entitled “Courage: Tap Greater Potential and Thrive Through Challenges.”

Walters writes:

Imagine a group, department or company where "citizen-leaders" are invigorated by the notion that they can be courageous every week -- regardless of their title or role. Picture the results of a team with such high morale and unified commitment to their own group mission, as well as the company's, that its members feel a true sense of ownership and responsibility. Or, visualize the leader who inspires a level of momentum that ushers in a new, more effective way of working and a stronger sense of purpose. All are possible, and each requires courage.

Benefits of courage in the workplace

Drawn from this quote are many of the natural benefits derived from demonstrating courage in the workplace. Benefits like: high morale; commitment to the group mission; ownership; responsibility; momentum; effective; and stronger sense of purpose.

I would add words like: openness, freedom and power.

I close with a few questions that all members of your team can ask themselves regarding courage. Use these questions to help you determine what you can do to step up, step out and find your courageous voice.

- What is your vision for the business/group/department?

- How, specifically, can you be more courageous in your role at work?

- What communication skill would help you become more courageous?

- What tangible benefits will arise from your courageous action?

DeLores Pressleymotivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email atinfo@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Published in Akron/Canton

Change is an inevitability of life.  Ironically, the fact that “change will always happen” is the only real thing we can count on in life!  We cannot always control change, but that does not mean our life path has to be at the complete mercy of random, unpredictable circumstance.

As a busy executive, are you at the mercy of events or are you in control? Do the changes roll in so fast that you find yourself struggling to stay afloat? How do you view the changes that are happening around you?

You can shake your fist at the sky, or sulk to show that you are mad at the world, or you can accept that truth that nobody escapes change. These tips are intended help you be mindful of your potential, to hone your ability to manifest positive results and to learn that sometimes you must simply “go with the flow.”

12 ways to embrace change to increase effectiveness as a busy executive:

1. CHAOS IS OPPORTUNITY.  Big changes, especially unpleasant ones, are like storms that clear the air.  Rather than perceive this as a disaster, strategically keep note of the pros and cons of the situation. Learning from a chaotic change and then implementing a series of positive changes can earn you kudos for your ability to handle a tough situation.

2. REFLECTION, NOT PANIC.  Be the calm at the center of the storm. Realize the need for rational, intelligent thinking and connection with your higher self. Often we receive answers that tell us exactly what we need to do when our mind is still. This is also a way to earn the respect of your colleagues and team.

3. AVOID STINKING THINKING.  When change happens unexpectedly, some people engage in “stinking thinking.” Try to avoid thinking negatively of yourself, your coworkers or the situation in general. Avoid words like “should”, “not” and “can’t”. Remember, the idea here is to increase your effectiveness – negative thought will not make that happen.

4. BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS. Being honest with yourself about what role you may have played to manifest an unpleasant change is one of the best ways to respect yourself and maintain your own integrity. If the change occurred because you made a mistake, then learn from it and move on. Accountability increases effectiveness.

5. DON’T PLAY THE BLAME GAME.  Rather than change, many people create reasons why they are incapable of change. One of the favorite tactics of ineffective executives is to blame all of their woes on others, especially their team members. Even if there is someone to blame, obsessing over it will not help in correcting the situation.

6. CONSIDER ALL OF THE FACTS.  When in the midst of change, many people find it hard to “see the forest through the trees.”  As an executive, try to develop a perspective that takes everything into consideration and not just your point of view.

7. BE PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE.  A reactive individual is at the mercy of change. A proactive manager takes action to make the best of it. Acting first keeps you out ahead of change and in control of it.

8. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. During periods of great change it is very common to find every little thing to be just another source of stress. Learn to distinguish between what is worth worrying about and what isn’t.

9. AVOID MISERY LOVES COMPANY. During times of change an executive is likely to have coworkers or others who will want to sit and ruminate over the “terrible” situation. Refuse to participate in these types of pity parties. They breed self-sabotaging negative thoughts and behaviors. They also lead to a lessening of respect for your position.

10. BE READY WITH A SMILE. People who smile are considered to be more flexible and adaptable to change. People who look stern are considered to be rigid personalities that are not capable of personal growth. Change is all about personal growth, for you and your team. A smile can make all the difference in these times.

11. GO WITH THE FLOW.  Present an easy, casual and friendly attitude that shows off your flexibility, yet at the same time portrays your persistence in the face of obstacles and adversity. This attitude will lend itself as a helpful guide through the river of change that is happening all around your company or organization.

12. REWARD YOURSELF. Too many executives only reward the good behavior of others in their organization. Do not do this. If you have mastered some aspect of change that you have found very difficult to conquer in the past, remember to reward yourself. This reinforces your subconscious mind to repeat the beneficial behavior.

Remember, the only thing you can be sure of is change. Is there anything more boring than a life without change? Embrace the lessons that life has to offer you and grow from them. Use them to teach and lead as you strive for more effectiveness in all you do.

DeLores Pressley, motivational speaker and personal power expert, is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on success, motivation, confidence and personal power. She is an international keynote speaker, author, life coach and the founder of the Born Successful Institute and DeLores Pressley Worldwide. She helps individuals utilize personal power, increase confidence and live a life of significance. Her story has been touted in The Washington Post, Black Enterprise, First for Women, Essence, New York Daily News, Ebony and Marie Claire. She is a frequent media guest and has been interviewed on every major network – ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX – including America’s top rated shows OPRAH and Entertainment Tonight.

She is the author of “Oh Yes You Can,” “Clean Out the Closet of Your Life” and “Believe in the Power of You.” To book her as a speaker or coach, contact her office at 330.649.9809 or via email at info@delorespressley.com or visit her website at www.delorespressley.com.

Published in Akron/Canton