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The Danger of an Unbalanced Life

I received the sad news last week that another friend of mine had passed away unexpectedly. This is the third friend that has died in the last twelve months way before their time. I shared the news with my good friend Michael Maas, who replied, “Another poignant reminder of why living life by design, prioritizing time over money, and a commitment to health and loving relationships is so important.”

While each friend had their own story, I know that their lives were not fully balanced. So many of us focus on our careers and businesses, putting off prioritizing our health until it’s too late.

A Decline In Life Expectancy?
A 2005 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine from researchers at Harvard concluded, “The steady rise in life expectancy observed in the modern era may soon come to an end and the youth of today may, on average, live less healthy and possibly even shorter lives than their parents.” With all of the advancements in healthcare, technology, and standard of living, how can we be doomed to live shorter lives than our parents?

The New Vital Signs
The problem is that our lives are way out of balance. Today we prioritize money, work, and our careers over family, health, and exercise. Both Eastern and Western health experts agree that most of today’s chronic diseases are preventable through a healthy lifestyle. The American College of Lifestyle Medicine has replaced traditional acute care vital signs with five “lifestyle vital signs” that contribute to a long, healthy life:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Stress Management
  • Love and Social Connection

You may be surprised to find “work” missing from the list. While most of us devote the majority of our waking ours to our work, our work is not giving us health benefits in return. To find true health, we must realign our priorities to focus on what will deliver health both emotionally and physically.

The Balancing Act
Balancing these five major areas of life is a true challenge. Our own subconscious gets in our way, making us feel guilty for leaving work to go to the gym or for going on a run instead of spending time with our families. To truly find balance, we must get clear on where our priorities are and the time we want to commit towards each.

Take a few minutes to rate how you are doing on a scale from one to ten for each of the five Lifestyle Vital Signs today. For the areas with the lowest score, commit to devoting more time and energy towards those activities. Take action by putting the activities on your calendar to make time for your health. While it may take time away from your family or work, your health and happiness will benefit.

It makes me sad to know my friends will no longer be here. When you consider the tradeoffs each day between stress and relaxation, nutrition and indulgence, work and exercise, remind yourself that to provide for and support your loved ones, you must first find balance.

What do you do to keep your life balanced? Share your experience with me and if you’re looking for more tips to balance your business and lifestyle, check out my new bestselling book, Make Big Happen.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average revenue CAGR of 31% (2.6X the U.S. average) and an average EBITDA CAGR of 52.3% (more than 5X the U.S. average).

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