Healthy StartUps by Maria Dorfner

If you’re a male or female entrepreneur who wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban, listen up.  No, I’m not casting another Shark Tank.  

[Link to SharkTank & how to be on the show:  http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank]

ABC-TV is safe.  Mark Cuban is safe. And so is Mr. Quiggly.

A start-up is a business or undertaking that has recently begun operation.

A Healthy Start-Up is one that has founders that make their mental, physical and spiritual health a priority.  They know that if they are unhealthy, it infects the rest of their team and their company.  The same is true if they are  healthy.  People emulate those they admire.  If you’re a leader — you have the ability to influence others.  Influence them towards daily healthy habits.  Neglect your health.  Neglect your company.  Great leaders have already learned this valuable lesson.

Lead your team towards  healthy habits. Build a healthy company.

Successful companies are built with a strong foundation. Think about it.  If your own mind, body or spirit suffers, how can you possibly bring your best to team, employees, clients, customers, board or investors? The answer is you can not. Taking time to nourish those things daily is not selfish or time wasted, it’s actually selfless and time/energy gained to serve all the aforementioned best, as well as family and friends to bring life balance.

I believe Entrepreneurs need to think of their HEALTH as a BANK ACCOUNT.

Make deposits now.

Benefit later.  Health is Your Greatest Wealth.  Talk to any old rich person to confirm.

Here are 5 things you experience when working on a startup, which may affect health.

1.  You will be excited.  New start-up.  Woo-hoo!   I’ll work 24/7 on this!

 

2.  You will get too busy to prepare meals.  I’ll just order in a pizza.  Again.
 3.  You will experience information overload and sit at a computer for hours on end.
  
4.  You will get bummed out and not know why. (Refer back to #1, 2, 3)
5.   You will get tired and have no time for family or friends.
      REPEAT.  WHAT GOOD IS IT WHEN YOU, THE FOUNDER, ARE NO LONGER AROUND TO REAP THE BENEFITS BECAUSE WHAT YOU’VE REALLY BUILT IS AN EARLY GRAVE.  ALL 5 MAKE WITHDRAWALS IN YOUR ACCOUNT.

The good news is every day YOU get to decide which one you’ll do.

Your aim is to make DEPOSITS into what I call a HEALTHY START-UP ACCOUNT.

HERE’S HOW: 

1.  You will be excited.

You are running on adrenaline.  Your dream team is in place.  You have a great team in place.  You have a vision. You’re executing on it. You’re making sales. You’re gaining traction. You’re meeting with potential investors. Exciting. So exciting you can’t sleep.

Tips to sleep:  Create a dark area at room temperature (not too hot, not too cold) with a fan or quiet music (no gadgets!).  Remember, you are excited and may be running off of adrenaline. But the same adrenaline will zap your energy and exhaust you if you don’t regulate your daily sleep.  Set a regular time for turning in and try to get away from technology and relax your mind beforehand. Step outside, stretch, breathe.

SLEEP is a DEPOSIT.  Repeat that with me.  Sleep is a deposit into your Healthy Start-Up.

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. ~Winston Churchill

Here is expert advice from sleep specialists Dr. Kingman Strohl of University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Dr. Joe Golish of MetroHealth Medical Center, and Dr. Douglas Moul of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation:

Go to sleep an hour ahead of time.  Same time.  Every night.

Don’t just jump into bed — start your sleep ritual an hour or two ahead of time. And, this is crucial: Try to go to bed at the same time every single day. Discern what the best time for you is and go for that, consistently. Don’t tough your way through your sleepy hours and chance getting a second wind.

Avoid all stimulants.

• That means caffeine in any form (it’s OK to drink some in the morning, but not cup after cup after cup), watching TV, working out, doing anything online (the blue light given off by TV and computers have shown to be disruptive to the pre-sleep cycle), arguing with a family member. Consciously cultivate peacefulness before bedtime. No alcohol before bedtime either (if you fall asleep, you’ll likely wake up again in a few hours).

No worrying!

• Let go of anxiety about going to sleep, and of worrisome thoughts. This isn’t easy, and it takes practice. “You can’t change the world,” Strohl says. “Remember that!”  It’s okay to read an enjoyable, but not too stimulating book, which can take your mind off worries.

lavender-as-sleep-aid.jpg
Lavender is surprisingly effective.

• Good sleep habits are imperative, says Strohl. It’s important to remember that everyone has insomnia at some point and hardly anyone falls asleep right away. We really shouldn’t, because it takes awhile for our bodies and brains to wind down.  In fact, says Strohl, “If you are falling asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow, then you are sleep-deprived.”

Cool, dark room with lavender mist.

Do things to create a supportive sleep environment: Make your room cool and dark, don’t have a TV or computer in it, spray a lavender mist on your pillow (it is supposed to be surprisingly effective for promoting drowsiness).  If you still can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and read for a while in a chair or in another room. When you get sleepy again, get back into bed. This way you won’t associate your bed with your inability to sleep.

What about herbs and supplements?

• Some people use melatonin, a dietary supplement available over the counter, to help them sleep. But be careful: the strength of it varies because the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements. Your doctor, however, can prescribe a melatoninlike drug (Rozerem orthe generic ramelteon, a melatonin receptor) as an alternative.  Some people say valerian, another herb, works for them, but doctors say studies have shown that might just be a placebo effect.

What about prescriptions?

• Try reconditioning your brain. If you are taking a prescription sleep aidand want to stop, start taking it with a glass of warm milk, Strohl says. Tell your brain the milk is making you sleepy. Then, after a week or two, just drink the milk. Your brain is highly suggestible, so this will work — you will establish the thought that milk is what makes you sleepy.

• If you decide to stop taking your prescription sleep medication, it’s best to do it on a weekend or when you have a couple of days off. You will toss and turn for a few nights, but, doctors say, your body will adjust. You have to be patient and give it a few days.

What about coffee during the day?

If you’re tired during the day as a result, beware of compensating with caffeine. As doctors point out, a regular cup of the coffee that we drink today (and it’s usually not a cup if you measure it out, but two or three) has twice as much caffeine as it used to. The same goes for energy drinks or caffeinated soft drinks. They will affect your ability to sleep.

As I agree with staying away from coffee, this article is recommending which coffee maker to use.  A Tech Guy’s Version of the Perfect Cup of Coffee.  I kid you not.  http://uncrunched.com/2012/01/09/a-tech-guys-version-of-the-perfect-cup-of-coffee/.

I find it funny because I realize getting coffee away from people in Silicon Valley, NYC or any Urban Jungle is like getting shoes away from Imelda Marcos. Addictions to either (shoes or coffee) aren’t healthy. Period.  One or two cups in the morning  is fine, but most people crash mid-afternoon and reach for more.

It’s not going to be easy to stop drinking coffee if you’re addicted to it.

If it would completely stress you out to quit your coffee addiction right now, try taking breaks.  Try white tea (15mg caffeine) vs. coffee (120 mg caffeine).

2.  You will be too busy to eat right.

BREAKFAST, LUNCH and DINNER and spending time OUTDOORS are a DEPOSIT.

Remember when you wake up ready to go to work exclaiming you’re not hungry and just want coffee –that’s a withdrawal in a healthy company leader.  That’s you.   I’m a big fan of protein in the morning. Protein contains tyrosine, an amino acid that elevates the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. It makes you feel full too, so you don’t overeat. Protein keeps your metabolism steady. Two eggs in the morning. Ten almonds and water or tea mid-morning before lunch rolls around prevents  rollercoaster highs and lows.  If you can be outside –the fresh air will do you good. Breathe in the fresh air. If you’re in NYC, unless you  can see trees, disregard.  Also, whenever you have a meeting –if you can have it outdoors .  If you can walk and talk (I always say, “Let’s be like West Wing…”) –even better.  All healthy deposits in you and your team.  Relaxing together eating a healthy and leisurely meal is wonderful too.

 

3.  You will be on information overload.

MEDITATION is a DEPOSIT.

Emails, Meetings, Conferences, Phone, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Trade Magazines, Trade Shows, etc. can drain you mentally.  Take breaks. Once you do, you’ll take more of them because you’ll notice a positive difference in how you feel engaging in your real community instead of the on-line one.

Computers can be illusions.  You won’t recognize when your inbox or online activity really looks like THIS.  But you’ll feel it. Before computers, we could visually see when we were “swamped.”  Now, it’s hidden. Ten thousand emails. Five are vital. Don’t sweat it. Set technical boundaries. Give yourself at least an hour each day when you are away from all electronic devices.  The more, the better.

Whenever you stop to check in with the real you without devices —it re-energizes you. Just 3-minutes of meditating will make you more alert.  I recommend doing so first thing in the morning when you wake and again at noon and 3 p.m. These mini-meditation breaks will energize you and keep you focused.  Smile at and deep breathe.  Breathe 10 seconds (count to 10 slowly) inhale and 10 seconds exhale.

Science and technology reporter, Daniel Sieberg wrote a book called, “The Digital Diet”  I recommend.   His 4-step plan to help you regain control, focus, and true connection in your life are as follows (but pick up the book for details):

Step 1//Re: Think:

Consider how technology has overwhelmed our society and the effect it’s had on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Step 2//Re: Boot:

Take stock of your digital intake using Sieberg’s Virtual Weight Index and step back from the device.

Step 3//Re: Connect:

Focus on restoring the relationships that have been harmed by the technology in your life.

Step 4//Re: Vitalize:

Learn how to live with technology—the healthy way, by optimizing your time spent e-mailing, texting, on Facebook, and web surfing  in  this book.

4.  You will get bummed out.   Meetings will get cancelled.  Things may not move as quickly as you’d like.  Frustrations at limited resources to compete will happen.  You will get bummed out.  That is why it’s so important for you to stay in top mental, physical and spiritual form.  You will be able to overcome challenges when you are healthy.

On a daily basis,  projects can pile on stress.  Get up every 15 minutes and stretch or walk around.  Exercise.  Break  it up into 15 minutes of activity if you can’t break away for longer. Walk. Run. Climb stairs. Breathe deeply.  Repeat. Take breaks to get outside as often as you can during the day.

Be centered. Centered people do not react. When something happens outside of them –they can reflect on it.  Anyone who reacts immediately in a highly emotional state isn’t centered.  No good decision is ever made out of anger. Remember that.  If you are going to run a company –your ability to remain calm and make good decisions is a must.  It sounds odd, but you actually have to practice being calm.  Test it out with family members. When someone says something that pushes your buttons –practice not reacting.   Breathe. Observe.  Don’t react.  If you have to silently count to 100 inside. The situation may diffuse by the time you get to one hundred.

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy

5.  You will get tired. – Start back at #1.

In summary, don’t be one of those founders that brags and boats about not  getting any sleep or living on coffee. It sends the wrong message to your team.  Be a healthy example.  Surround yourself with a healthy team.  Build a healthy company or companies.

Consider this advice (some is the same) from local CEOs, published in SMART CEO Magazine.

Meditate: You don’t have to be a monk,
but find that one activity that can
always relax you to re-center your mind.

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...
Image via Wikipedia

Make it a plan: Schedule your activities
like you would schedule a meeting –
and don’t skip it. Personal time is just
as important as business time.

Get involved:

Supporting community

events and nonprofi t organizations
provides a great opportunity for teambuilding and giving back.

Define your goals: What do you want to
accomplish? Defi ne it, and chase after
it. You’ll be more likely to succeed if you
have a vision.

QUOTES:

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Mohandas Gandhi

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.
Mohandas Gandhi

Business is never so healthy as when, like a chicken, it must do a certain amount of scratching around for what it gets.

Henry Ford

RELATED ARTICLES/LINKS:

I recommend a copy of Mark Cuban’s book. In one day, the slim under-100-page book, titled “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It,” soared to the top of the bestseller charts at the big online book-buying sites, with particularly strong sales onAmazoniTunes and Barnes & Noble.

Here’s an excerpt from Mark Cuban’s book:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222524

For More Information on Mark Cuban and Mr. Quiggley’s red matching Skechers, please visit:

http://www.skechers.com

 

Related articles:R

 

Surround yourself with healthy, positive, can-do/will-do people. It makes a huge difference in execution, results, growth, success and being a healthy founder with a thriving, healthy company that values a balanced life and health as your greatest wealth.

 

 

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. ~Winston Churchill


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