Photo: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr
It’s 5:00 am and folks like Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey and Howard Schultz are up and at it. They are all either lifting weights, running, bike riding, or shooting hoops before they start their busy days.
You might have recognized some of those names but if you didn’t, I’ll fill you in. They are leaders of some of the most prestigious brands in the world, like Apple, Twitter, and Starbucks. And what they all have in common outside of working out is having tremendous career success.
Good advice for career success is typically under the umbrella of finding something you’re passionate about, working for a great mentor, or focusing on adding value before money. It’s all great career advice, and all of it is the cornerstone of excelling in any career.
Before any of that though, before even thinking about what career to pursue, I started doing something more powerful. When I turned 18, I started working out. And though I played sports, working out was the first time I had been able to structure some sort of discipline and consistency into my life. It was the first time I saw the powerful results of sticking with something.
What is the relationship between working out and career success? Simple, your body is the vehicle that does it all.
Getting to and from the office, delivering quality work for your clients and/or boss. It’s ultimately what generates your income. You could (and should) invest in career coaches, finding a mentor, or getting good at something but it all starts out with how well you take care of yourself. If there’s anything to invest in, first and foremost, it’s your body. It’s the foundation that actually drives all the rest. And it doesn’t cost a dime, it’s just dedication and effort. Investing in your body means investing in your health, which allows you to work longer hours tirelessly, be more productive, and be more confident.
If your career success is driven by taking care of your body, why wouldn’t you want to be fit?
How exercise increases productivity and focus
“How do you become more productive?”
A very successful business man, one who had created over 300 companies, leads 50,000 employees and generated over $25 billion dollars in revenue, sat back and thought. Twenty people peered over, eagerly awaiting his response to perhaps one of the biggest questions in business.
“I work out.”
That successful business man is Richard Branson. He added that it gave him an additional 4 hours of productivity a day. Of course, you may have heard this story from Tim Ferriss’s book, the 4-Hour Body.
Though this advice is coming from one of the most successful businessmen on the planet, there’s also science to support it.
Wendy A. Suzuki, professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University, writes that exercise helps to combat stress and elevate your focus. This in turn helps to make you more productive, and give you more energy.
We all need it. Lets’s face it, the 9 to 5 is dead. We all work harder and longer hours than ever before. And if that’s not enough to convince you, here are some hard numbers. The Journal of Labor Research released a study citing that employees who exercises on a frequent basis earned 5 to 10% more than their peers.
How exercise increases confidence and your attractiveness
Attractive people get paid more than unattractive people, according to labor economist Daniel Hamermesh. In his book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Succesful, Hamermesh notes that attractive people get paid $230,000 more in earnings over the course of a lifetime.
The good news is that that exercise provides a counter measure. Exercise can influence your body composition, which in turn makes you more attractive. You don’t have to be Brad Pitt or Kate Winslet if you just hit the gym on a consistent basis.
You know what else makes you more attractive?
One avenue to gaining more confidence is through exercise. The American Psychological Association released an article showing a high correlation between mood enhancement and exercise. On a more practical level, working out shows you what you can achieve through hard work and makes you look better too. All of the above add to increasing your self-esteem and overall confidence. It certainly did for me when I was first started working out at 18.
How do I get fit and catapult my career?
After seeing all the benefits of being fit it’s a question that you might be asking yourself. And there are a lot of things that you can do to get started today on getting fit and using that momentum to carry it into your career. Whether you’re in a slump, just getting started, or know what you’re doing but have fallen off the wagon a little bit.
It’s a simple, effective exercise that you can do at anytime and anyplace. You can do as many as you’d like in a certain time frame or shoot for a certain number of repetitions. You can do them before work, after work, or maybe at lunch (as long as you don’t get too sweaty).
If that isn’t your cup of tea, go for a run. Walk, if anything.
It’s tough to get motivated to do exercise after a long day or get up a few minutes earlier to do it. I enjoy working out and it’s still tough. This thought might help though: think about that 5 to 10% or $230k someone else might be getting if you don’t!