Does this sound familiar…
You graduate from University and get straight into the workforce, cutting your teeth at a big name company. You learn the ropes, progress to a higher position, but you’re still young, so you’re out partying, you know, being a mid-20’s male.
Soon 5 years have passed, you’ve progressed in your career and in a position you’re pretty happy with- it has potential for future growth- which is the goal. Now you’re into your 30’s, the partying has definitely changed and it seems to be more around client lunches and dinners. Beers, wine and more. The energetic guy who first got into this career has changed shape- he’s fatter, he’s much busier and he’s tired.
Your body doesn’t get the attention it should. Exercise, food and sleep all suffer. Coffee and quick bites feature heavily.
Life is good in parts and crappy in others.
Your weight is up, energy is down and your time is incredibly limited.
Is this close to home?
I don’t say this to offend or judge, this is purely my observations of having worked with hundreds of guys like this, from around the world, for the last decade.
- You gradually put on fat, and intermittently try things to solve this
- You are busy. Constant long hours, getting time for yourself is difficult
- You sleep pretty poorly and are constantly tired, hanging out for the weekend
- Energy is inconsistent and your sex drive seems to be dropping
The professional man’s 6 biggest problems…
1. Too much future focus on your career and not enough on you- you’ve always had plenty of drive in the office, and have set some goals for the future, but lack any real planning or aspirations for you, your body, health and your personal life outside of what your career will bring. Skewed drive and focus towards work means your health lags well behind.
2. ‘Work-life balance’ is screwed- Most of your time and energy is on work. Awesome to a point, but without some intentional separation and attention on ‘getting the balance right’ you’re heading down the rabbit hole of obesity, unhappiness and mild-severe depression- not cool.
3. Bulletproof “I’ll be alright” attitude leading to gradual decline of body and energy- Our natural ego sees us ignoring little issues and problems as we think we’ll be fine. We ignore the signs and think we’ll be sweet, when every statistic shows we are becoming a population of overweight/obese, unhealthy, depressed males- a seriously f**ked up situation.
4. Saying yes to everything- Eagerness to please, look willing and advance in your career often leads to setting an unreasonable bar for what you will do. This includes long, ridiculous hours. Easily one of the biggest and most common issues I’ve seen with professional men- becoming completely swamped in work, literally not having time to get out of the office for lunch, let alone train or unwind.
5. Giving in to work social situations- Macho bloke rubbish involves either actually being pressured into drinking, or feeling that you have to drink to fit in. There are ways of going about these things, but simply caving into actual or perceived pressures isn’t standing up for what is right for you.
6. Thinking that “one day I’ll have time”- A very common one for many men from all walks of life, thinking that if you just do all this work and business now, you’ll have time one day to get those other things done, like look after yourself. Do not think this, one day you’ll regret it.
Ask any bloke in your company who is close to retirement if he has any honest regrets about his time, if he could do it again and see if he has any insights like these. Usually it comes down to enjoying the little things, spending more time doing what you love and not letting yourself go so much.
I’m willing to bet that at least a few of these get ticks in your case. We must find a way out of this, solutions to help you not only charge forward in your career, but make sure your body and mind stay in control, leading the charge towards an older, yet better you.
So, what now?
Strategies to get you being more awesome every day.
1) Sit down and write some goals for the future. Cover career, body & health, family and life. You must work on these others too, not just career. So:
i) Set some SMOT (O = Over the top) goals for 6 months, 12 months and 5 years
ii) Establish 2 behavioural goals for each outcome oriented goal
iii) List your biggest values in life. What is it that you hold highest? List as many as you like then refine down to your top 5. Make sure these are coming into your goals. Eg. Values are freedom and learning, so goal is- I will have the financial freedom to travel the world for 2 weeks each year, and so on.
iv) Write a story of what your life is like 5 years from now. This is to include all areas, career, family, body & heath etc. Make sure this picture sees you living out your core values
v) Implement strategies in order to start achieving these goals and make sure they have been prioritised. This is where your values come in- if you value health and relationships, for example, make sure these come up the list and don’t get drowned out by work and career goals
2) Sit down and really assess your life, what’s important to you and where you’re currently at with your health. Then talk to someone who can help, find a trainer who knows their stuff and at the very least, have a chat. Read, ask questions and absorb. Being scared to look weak and vulnerable is ultimately going to hold you back, so be man enough to do what’s needed for you.
3) If your time belongs more to your work or boss and you think it needs to change towards you then you have to do something about it. For some this might be a change of job, plain and simple. Some decisions aren’t easy, but in the end they have to be made. For others it might mean making change happen. So, once you’ve assessed things above, set about putting things in place to for change. If it means an upfront chat with your boss, then have it. Sit down, plan out the next 12 months, show your boss what is important to you and how you believe that with more time to yourself, instead of leaving the office at stupid o’clock, you will be more productive etc etc. Be serious, prepared and stand up for what is right for you, because ultimately that makes you a better employee
4) If you’re on a mission to get your heath, body and energy in check and you have 3 lunches that week, that will easily lead to long boozy affairs unless controlled, you must make a choice. Do not be afraid to be your own man and simply not bend to the social pressure. The key is how you go about it- you must own it. The chances are the audience hearing it wishes they could do the same thing, and will at least respect you for it. Again, it comes down to controlling your own life. Doesn’t mean you can’t still be involved.
5) Plan out your week in terms of work, social, training, everything. Slot in your training times, make time for bulk food preparation, say Sunday night and Wednesday, set aside some ‘me time’ for you to just chill and do whatever makes you happy, and ensure to include some time to actually ‘just be’ and do nothing. Giving your mind and body a break for 20 minutes a day will have some massive positive effects on you. Then, don’t let anything short of an emergency interrupt this time. Own it and do not let anything take it.
Be a bit more selfish and do what’s right for you more often.
I know some of this might sound ‘Yeah ok for some, but I’m different’, well let me tell you that it’s not. You’re not different– we all need to take a good long look at our own lives, not just our careers, and figure out what is most important.
If you honestly want to be spending the best years of your life giving every waking hour to a company so you can earn more cash so one day you can retire pretty, then have at it…
However, if you would like to be successful in your work and have a great and happy personal and social life, then you have to assess it, plan it and take charge of it.
No one will do it for you. Only you can make it happen.