A lot of people are counting on you. The decisions you make affect the quality of lives of tens, hundreds, or maybe thousands of families, from the employees in your company to the stakeholders that are counting on your products or services.
In order to make your best decisions, you owe it to yourself and to your company to be in top decision-making form. You know how important you are as a resource, and you aim to steward yourself with the same care and respect as you manage your other major investments.
So from one executive decision maker to another, here are some physical, mental, and spiritual heath and wholeness tips for you to consider.
1. Water: Your brain needs a constant water supply, and drinking enough clean water helps to keep your mind sharp and in top form. You might consider drinking 1.5L/day.
2. Exercise: The endorphins and extra energy you will have from regular exercise will help to sharpen your thoughts and could improve your decision-making ability. I find that the hour each day that I invest really pays back in terms of energy and mental focus. I make better decisions when I exercise regularly, and I’m confident you will too.
3. Diet: When your body has the vitamins and minerals it needs, your mind isn’t distracted by your need for them. What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat will all affect your energy level and decision making ability. Being too hungry is just as bad as being full of the wrong foods. Your body is a high-performance machine, but you can’t expect to get great performance with bad or low fuel.
4. Sleep: When sleeping, your brain sorts out its information and your body heals itself. Everyone is different, but 7 hours/night is ideal for me. If I sleep less than 6 hours, then the quality of my decision making will suffer and my company will pay for it.
5.Smile: Not only does being happy make you smile, but research shows that smiling has a feedback effect in the brain and can help to make you feel happy. Put on a smile and see if the decisions you have to make today look more like opportunities than problems. Perhaps you’ll come up with a more optimistic way of approaching those decisions.
6. Short Accounts: It takes a lot of mental energy to hold a grudge, maintain your anger, or keep replaying conversations in your head. Keep short accounts in your interpersonal relationships. Have the necessary conversations sooner rather than later. This goes for colleagues as well as family. Reconcile, forgive, and apologise, or your decision making will suffer from unnecessary distraction and attitude effects. I try to sort interpersonal conflicts within 24 hours, not for their sake, but for mine.
7. Ongoing Learning: If you graduated more than 5 years ago, your information is probably outdated. Making good decisions requires continuous updating of industry, market, management, and organizational information. Take a course, read a book, meet with industry colleagues from other companies, learn a language… an expanding mind makes better decisions. An ambitious learning posture will keep you at the top of your industry.
8. Religion: Knowing what you believe and why adds confidence to your decision making ability. It’s an investment in your inner locus of power when you know who you are as a spiritual person and can be proud of yourself and your behaviour. No matter your religious identity, live it well, and you will find yourself more focussed and confident.
9. Character: The primary resource of any executive leader is credibility. Developing your values means knowing the virtues by which you make your decisions, and then aligning your decision making and behaviour to those core guiding principles. If you say you value patience, quality, integrity, and creativity, then those values should influence all of your decision making. A value that doesn’t affect your behaviour is not a value at all, it’s just a pretty word. You will find yourself more centered, understanding, and wise, when your behaviour is in line with your core values.
These are not simple suggestions. They are recommendations from one executive to another, to benefit your decision making quality, and therefore benefit your company and its stakeholders.
The decisions you make will influence the quality of life of many people. You owe it to yourself and to them to make sure that your mental effort is in top form.
Higher quality decisions start with effective self-management, and lead to better overall performance.