3 Wellness Habits That Empower Me As a High-Performing CEO

Farah K. Ahmed
4 min readJan 7, 2020

These health hacks give me an edge — in leadership and in life.

Presenting at Fragrance Creators’ 2019 Annual Meeting

Two things to know about me: First, I thrive on harnessing the power of a collective to do good. I’m the President & CEO of the Fragrance Creators Association, (https://www.fragrancecreators.org/) which represents the fragrance industry. We think differently. Like all trade associations, we focus on regulatory and legislative policy, but we also serve as a platform for our members to come together and deliver positive impacts to the world.

Second: I hate being unproductive. Before becoming CEO, I was at the cosmetic industry’s trade association for almost a decade. I also worked for the FDA and practiced law. I have a degree in biochemistry and physiology, as well as a law degree, so it’s fulfilling to use both my science and legal backgrounds in my career. I like to work with a very high level of focus to reach pinnacle after pinnacle. I’ve discovered three interconnected daily habits that are the secrets to my success in work, and to having a happier, healthier, fuller life. A holistic approach is the key — it’s all about mind, body, and spirit.


I meditate every day

Post Transcendental Meditation glow

I wake up at 6 AM, drink a big glass of water, and make a cup of strong black coffee. Then I do fifteen minutes of transcendental meditation. (https://www.tm.org/)

I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager and almost never miss a day. My father, a psychiatrist, introduced TM to the family when I was about sixteen years old. He understood the power of a healthy mind toward a life well-lived. Daily meditation creates a profound sense of relaxation and helps me focus and connect to people. It’s my reboot, a fresh and peaceful start to the day.


I exercise and take vitamins

Breakfast of champions!

In the morning, I work out on an incline trainer at home. I do thirty minutes of high-speed walking on a steep incline. This gets my body to wake up! I also try to walk home from work every day, since my office is three miles from my house in Washington, D.C. It’s good cardio, but also an opportunity for me to make a conscious effort to be present, to reflect on the day, and to just be grateful.

For the last year, I’ve been immersed in work — creating and launching Fragrance Conservatory, (https://fragranceconservatory.com/) an online resource that educates the public about fragrance, ingredients, science, and pioneering sustainability. It’s been a true labor of love for me and my team, but I admit it’s taken a toll on me energy-wise. Even though I took a daily multivitamin, I was still feeling wiped out. A few months ago, I started on Paragon Vitamins and their personalized wellness plan. (https://paragonvitamins.com) I began by filling out a detailed online questionnaire that took a deep dive into my lifestyle and health issues. It was like having the most thorough physical exam of my life. Then I sent in a clipping of my hair to be tested at a lab. Again, very thorough. Within a couple of weeks, I received a 40-page report on the state of my health. I found out that my magnesium levels were low, and my calcium was off the charts, which was causing digestive issues. I learned that I was doing a good amount of cardio but needed some resistance training to balance it out.

There’s also a tailor-made supplementation plan, so I take a customized packet of vitamins morning, noon and night. In the last few months, I’ve lost weight, I don’t PMS-snack anymore, my skin is glowing, and I’m more focused. I had a healthy lifestyle and ate pretty nutritiously before, but this has given me that extra edge, with sustained physical and mental energy. It sounds corny, but I enjoy my life more. On most days I wake up thinking, “Let’s do this!”


I try to do something good each day

I think of self-care holistically: It’s about mind, body and spirit. I love a good spa. Massages, facials, steam rooms — they’re all regenerative physically and mentally, especially when I’m traveling so much for work. When it comes to spirit, I believe that if you consciously do something good every single day, it feeds your soul. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Whether it’s volunteering or doing your part for the environment that day, or calling someone to see how they’re doing, or helping out a friend. Just showing that you care is positive energy, and that’s nutritive.