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Ageless, Fearless, and Limitless Longevity: The Ultimate Playbook for CEOs to Reclaim Your Mojo and Thrive at 120

How CEOs Can Reclaim Your Mojo and Thrive at 120

“Live 120 Years Young” was one of the Four Groundbreaking Event Themes at the 2024 Make BIG Happen Summit. And while some of our attendees may have gone to Miami Beach thinking this theme would lean into sci-fi territory, our world-class speakers demonstrated that there’s a lot more science than fiction to the latest developments in human longevity.

“I’m talking about health span,” said Dr. Matt Dawson, Co-founder and CEO of Wild Health. “I’m talking about when you’re 80, feeling like you’re 60, and when you’re 60, performing like you’re 40.”

Dr. Dawson and several of our other speakers work at the emerging intersection of health care, self-improvement, and AI-powered precision medicine. For CEOs, who face the daily pressure to excel in high-stress environments, these breakthroughs could be a life-changing prescription for Making BIG Happen in life and business for decades to come.

The Toll of Stress and Burnout on Your Longevity

Yes, as a CEO, stress comes with the job. But many CEOs don’t realize the mental and physical toll that stress can have on their careers, relationships, and health.

At the center of modern longevity study is the “epigenetic clock,” tests that measure various biological activities happening inside our DNA as we age. And scientists have found that the rate that our epigenetic clocks tick forward can be affected by outside factors, like diet, exercise, and yes, stress. According to a recent study by Yale, as stress ages us ahead of schedule, it also increases the risk of conditions like heart disease and mood disorders that might shorten our health spans even more.

Luckily for CEOs, with proper diagnostics and treatment, the reverse can also be true. “Your rate of aging has been shown to be very sensitive to intervention,” Dr. Dawson said. “If you get pregnant, for example, it’s a physiologic stress, and your rate of aging goes up 20%. Same thing if you get COVID or have a car accident or a hip surgery. But then it comes back down to baseline after you deliver the baby or get over whatever the illness was. So what that allows me to do as a physician is run experiments to see what’s going to affect your individual rate of aging.”

In other words, DNA is not destiny, and unmanaged stress is a cost that CEOs simply can’t afford. Your best-case scenario is burnout well before you’re ready to retire. And if you don’t make changes to your routine, the worst case could catch up with you even quicker.

Start here:

  1. Exercise: Whether you’re a gym rat or a runner, moving gets your blood pumping in healthy ways and can clear your head of the day’s frustrations.
  2. Journal: Reflecting on what you’ve accomplished and all you have to be grateful for can shrink your problems and your stress down to size.
  3. Sleep Longer, Better: Yes, you can get 8 hours every night, especially if you unplug and power down an hour before bed.
  4. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods: More leafy greens, fish, and fruit; less carbs, processed meat, and sugar.
  5. Minimize Toxin Exposure: Upgrade the plumbing and airflow at both your home and office.
  6. Connect with Others: Join a yoga class, play doubles tennis with your spouse, form a CEO book club, or go for a mountain bike ride with your CEO coach.

A Transformational Journey

Eight years ago, Peter Fioretti’s real estate company hit $5 billion in sales. It was the third time in his career that Peter had built a company to BIG. And he wanted to celebrate BIG too: a trek to the North Pole with his brother. Subzero temperatures, ice breaks, hungry polar bears waking up from hibernation, and no set route to follow. As Peter and his brother kept moving towards their destination, they talked.

“We talked about our lives,” Peter remembered. “We talked about our childhood. We talked about our early businesses. We talked about our failures. We talked about our successes. And we talked about what we wanted the rest of our lives to be like every day. What I discovered is I wanted to live an amazing life with incredible relationships and experiences for a very long time, to 120. So I committed to that on this trip. I set a goal. That was my Everest, to live a very full, vibrant life, to 120. We got to the North Pole in record time. So I felt like Superman. Nothing could stop me now.”

When Peter got home, he took some medical tests to establish a baseline for his longevity quest. His doctor called with some shocking results. The same guy who had just hit $5 billion in sales and trekked to the North Pole had a severe blockage in his carotid artery. Pushing himself had helped Peter reach some BIG goals. But he was pushing himself too hard.

As he recovered from surgery, Peter knew that he had to make some changes if he was going to live a long and vibrant life. He organized a four-point plan: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit, and Extraordinary Relationships. In addition to eating better, sleeping more, and going on more adventures with his family, Peter also began an annual “Million-Dollar Weekend” to help him improve those four areas and stay focused on his BIG longevity goal.

“First weekend in January, every year,” Peter explained. “Phones and computers off. Complete solitude. And I know, after this weekend, I’m going to make at least a million dollars. And what I do, with my end in mind, I go to either one of my homes or a hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows. I use erasable markers, and I start to think about my 120th birthday. Who would I invite? What would I want them to say about me? And I write it on the windows. I create my dream life. What does my dream life look like between now and then? And I write it on the windows. And on day two, I organize these thoughts and I come up with my ‘vibrant life roadmap’ for this year.”

CEOs know that small, purposeful changes in service of a BIG vision can be very powerful. And yet it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the stress of running a business that we don’t give our health and personal lives that same level of focused intention. Peter’s experience should be a wake-up call to would-be Supermen and Superwomen who think they’re invincible. If you don’t give every aspect of your life as much care and attention as your business, you’re more likely to crash into the mountain than reach its summit.

Your Biology and AI

In his presentation on AI, Peter Diamandis told our Summit audience that the combination of exponential computer power and increased data output is “the most important happening that has ever existed.” Longevity could prove to be the most dramatic proof of Diamandis’ BIG claim. Our bodies produce a constantly changing stream of data — some of it inherent, some of it based on external factors — that doctors, scientists, and AI are getting better at capturing and analyzing.

“Every patient that we see, we sequence their DNA,” Dr. Dawson said. “But DNA only accounts for about 20% of your health outcome. The other 80% is made up of what you do. So we measure those epigenetics. We look at about a million sites on your DNA to see how you’ve turned your epigenetics up or down in different specific genes. We also look at a ton of biomarkers and blood work, and measure all the things that make you feel or perform a certain way: your vitamins, minerals, nutrients, hormones. And then we collect an incredible amount of phenotypic data from questionnaires, your microbiome data, data from your wearables. In total, we take millions of data points and put it into an AI algorithm that gives precision recommendations specifically for you.”

If you’ve played around with ChatGPT, you’ve probably asked it to design a new meal plan or put a grocery list together. Now, imagine that the AI knows everything about your body and can create meals to address your specific needs. And then, for an added level of personalization, a professional you know and trust reviews that plan and makes even more precise recommendations about what you should eat and how you should exercise.

The breadth of data that advanced testing and AI analysis can produce gives Dr. Dawson the ability to not just manage illnesses, but, in some cases, reverse the root biological causes of diseases like type two diabetes. This human-AI augmented medical intelligence can also create treatment plans for optimizing physical performance.

“An NBA player recently came to us for mood issues,” said Dr. Dawson. “Kind of depression and anxiety he felt throughout the season. We took a holistic approach, collected all of that data to see how exactly he should be doing his entire life and how did it match up with what he’s doing. And it didn’t match up at all. He was doing the same thing that the other players on his team did. Before a game he would drink a ton of Red Bull. It turns out he was a slow metabolizer and caffeine was hurting his performance. He was sleeping not at all how he should be sleeping. He also had a need for a lot more strength training than endurance training compared to a normal NBA player. So, together, we were able to optimize his diet, his sleep, his training program. And he had an absolute career year. He was in talks to win the MVP. This is a max contract guy who’s probably going to get another max contract. With precision health, he’s going to be able to play at a high level a lot longer than he would have been able to.”

Dr. Dawson admitted that the current cost of his program prices out many folks who would benefit the most. But, not that long ago, we would have said the same thing about the iPhone. With time, technology only gets faster, smarter, and more affordable. The speed at which AI is advancing and attracting investors means a healthier, happier you will be “market ready” in the very near future.

Optimizing Mind, Purpose, and Connections

Peter Fioretti had such strong business relationships that he was able to raise billions in capital without having to pay outside firms.

His personal relationships, unfortunately, weren’t nearly as strong.

“I was focused on my business,” Peter admitted. “Although I said family was important, I failed in my first attempt. I was heartbroken when my wife divorced me, and it got worse. When Father’s Day came around, I often didn’t get a card or a call from my kids. So I had to make some big changes here. I had to develop new skills. I had to make relationships my number one priority.”

Science confirms that Peter made the most impactful choice possible to improve his wellbeing. In 2023, Harvard Medical School published an 80-year study of what factors have the greatest effect on our longevity and happiness.

“It was not ambiguous,” said Dr. Dawson. “The number one thing can be summed up with one word, and that’s ‘Connection.’ The strength of your relationships was the number one thing. Smoking takes 10 years off of your life and makes you unhealthy the entire time that you’re alive. The strength of your relationship had a bigger impact than that. I’m convinced from my reading of all the science and literature and seeing thousands of patients that the biggest cause of our diseases is disconnection. It’s disconnection from ourselves, it’s disconnection from others, disconnection from nature, disconnection from a higher purpose. If we focus on that connection, it’s going to have a much bigger impact than any biohacks.”

In recent years, there’s been a movement to redefine the purpose of a company beyond generating profit. The science of longevity and the experience of so many high-performers like Peter shows that CEOs have to start internalizing some of those same ideas about meaning, legacy, and, yes connection. What you do in and out of the office aren’t separate. They’re all parts of your life. The positive or negative changes you make in one area will have the same effects on others. Committing to learning, growing, and continually improving will strengthen the connection you feel to the work you do and the people you’re doing it for.

“Close your eyes,” said Dr. Dawson. “Think of someone who you really want to increase your connection with. Think about, very specifically, what you can do to increase that connection, For me, I thought about my four kids. My commitment is on mornings when I take them to school, I’m not going to listen to any podcasts or audio books. I’m not going to take any calls. And I’m going to ask each one of them at least two questions about themselves. And if my two teenage daughters don’t want to talk to me at all, that’s fine. I’m going to ask them the questions, and they’re going to know that I want to connect with them, and that I want to know them better. That’s my commitment. Make it real, really do this, because I’m 100% convinced this is going to make the biggest impact on your happiness and health span.”

Be the Boss of You

One of the BIGGEST benefits of being a CEO is … you’re the boss! You set your schedule. You decide what you need to do and what you can delegate. If you need an extra half hour in the morning for a run, meditation, or just a quiet cup of coffee — and you have the best people working for you — business will go on while you take care of yourself.

Don’t wait for a surprise that shatters your “Superman” self. The science around how working in overdrive affects your health and longevity is clear. But that science also has a hopeful and empowering message: you are in control. The changes you commit to making today could extend, and even save, your life. There’s no BIGGER way to Make BIG Happen.

We haven’t quite settled on dates for the 120th Annual Make BIG Happen Summit. But we have locked down next year’s event on April 25 – 27, 2025 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, FL. Put it on your calendar now.

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 EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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