Slow Down to Speed Up

Jacinta Quah_coach_recovery to sustain peak performance.jpeg

One of the most iconic Britons currently alive, Sir Richard Branson, is not only a billionaire entrepreneur known for his acumen, wit and charm, but also his fitness routines and adventures.  In a recent Instagram post, Sir Branson showed off his serious kite driving skills. He wakes up at 5am every morning and works out. 

Former POTUS Barack Obama has a fantastic workout schedule in place. He is also a keen dancer and a self-taught musician. While still in the White House, he had shown how he changed the establishment with a treadmill placed in a recess of the Oval Office.

What do these two men have in common? 

Apart from the fact that these two men are enormously successful in their chosen vocations, though vastly different, they are in fine shape too.  Sir Branson claims that mere business skills are not enough. One needs to be physically fit. And the founder of the Virgin Group leads by example.

Starting small: the importance of staying fit

Workaholism is very common among business leaders around the world. High achievers may believe that each minute not spent working is a wasted one. However, modern schools of management philosophy enunciate a very different practice: that of working smart. Hard work need not necessarily be smart work, and vice versa.

In an increasingly fierce and competitive business environment, leaders must stay in shape. Otherwise, there is a genuine threat of burnout. 

The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy ~ Kenneth H. Cooper

The importance of recreation and recovery periods

The advent of R&R in global businesses has its basis that recovery periods are as important as strenuous exercise regimens.  This is not only due to physical strain but also mental stress.

Stress is a part of everyday life. Unfortunately, it is also a silent killer. By learning to notice and manage stress, reduce or remove negative triggers, leaders can adapt to everyday crises. Adaptation is crucial for survival, management experts and evolutionary biologists suggest so. Business leaders often hire coaches for this reason: to improve the quality of work and life.  Coaches also help them build resilience.

The science behind increasing recovery speeds

Decades of scientific studies point out how stress acts as a silent killer. A research article in neurosciences, published by Nature magazine, shows how the brain accepts stress initially as a challenge and adapts to it. Ultimately, it manifests into a disease.

Studies published by Healthline demonstrate the secrets to staying fit by exercising and optimizing rest time. 

The results are unambiguous. Stress is counterproductive. Rest and recovery periods are as important, if not more, than exercises and working out.

The realization…

…the law of diminishing returns apply to high achievers too!  Slogging hours upon hours every day only to burn out is not a great business idea. Ultimately, the law of diminishing returns comes back to haunt leading figures in global business.  This is why Apple CEO Tim Cook strongly advocates a work-life balance. At first glance, his routine of waking up at 3.45 AM every day, working out, and then, attending office and endless meetings may seem like a bad idea.  It is only when you look closer that you realize how he balances business and pleasure in equal measure.

To achieve more

We live in a world that is always-on.  We are blessed with options and choices.  To keep going after bigger challenges & more exciting opportunities, to achieve more out of our work & life, sometimes, it takes slowing down to speed up.  

Jacinta Quah