January is the month of best intentions where many successful financial advisors begin walking down the pathway towards their various and diverse goals with a bounce in their step.
In working with financial advisors with what they intend to accomplish for the year, we find that health and fitness, achieving bold business and career goals, and improving family balance are common (and often separate) themes. However, what we also observe is that a select number of advisors are successful because they have positively integrated a dynamic equilibrium between all three parts into one-unified-whole.
An exemplar of this model was Albert H. Gordon (see pictured), who passed away a few years ago at the tender age of 107 ¾’s. In the 1950s, years before the fitness boom and in an age where 50% of the U.S. population smoked, Gordon would finish off his business trips by jogging the 20 miles from Idlewild Airport (now JFK) to his Manhattan home. Gordon, a salesman par excellence who led Kidder Peabody for many years, competed in the London Marathon in his 80’s, and was known for cold-calling prospective clients well into his 90’s.
What’s interesting is that with respect to the fitness component of the fitness/career/family triad, it’s not just exercise per se that is important…it is physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful. New research indicates that those devotees who adhered to a program of regular exercise were more likely to manage the intersection between the demands of work, family, and home.
How does this happen?
1. Exercise reduces stress Lowered stress levels improve the time that you spend in either world, making those moments more productive and enjoyable. Moreover, less stress is also equivalent to adding hours to your day.
2. Exercise increases self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Some research also suggests that people who exercise regularly enjoy greater self-efficacy, and this carries over into their work and home roles.
Putting It All Together
Exercise need not be a selfish extravagance. Indeed, there is a positive relationship between self-management, regular exercise, and the satisfying integration of fitness-work-home.
Some steps to take:
- Define success in all aspects of your life. Define your success in your terms, no one else’s. Your definition of success should be deeply personal. Examine the categories of your life that are important to you, and identify the specific actions that would help you feel successful and fulfilled in each of these capacities.
- Maintain control. We observe that our clients who feel “out of control” also seem to experience higher levels of stress. Take control of your career, your fitness schedule, and your family life…by planning, and doing, the things that recharge you. Avoid the debilitating effects of helter-skelter motion and commotion.
- Allies, not enemies. Even with the busiest of schedules, the most effective and practical way is by aligning personal priorities of fitness, career, family, and well-being. This alignment (re-alignment?) can bring huge gains in emotional and physical energy, as well as greater clarity and focus at work.