The 4 Ways a Successful Career Makes You Pay

If the symptoms of executive work habits were the product of an infectious disease, that disease would be quickly eradicated. The government would spend millions of dollars and deploy all the resources at its disposal to contain and eliminate the disease.

The problem is that the health consequence of the executives lifestyle are not as obvious as those of, say, Ebola. Deterioration is so slow that the consequences are nearly invisible, and the damage is self-inflicted. Problems with their health are ignored until they reach crisis point. Until the health issues are impossible to ignore, they are swept under the carpet with the words, “I am getting old.”

Age is, indeed, an uncontrollable variable, but it doesn’t account for the overwhelmingly poor state of today’s executives. According to a recent Apollo Life Study:

  • 71% of executives are obese.
  • 48% are in hopelessly poor physical condition.
  • 35% have stomachs that are larger than their chests.
  • 30% take daily medication.

These problems often start when the executive begins to climb the corporate ladder or first starts his or her business. While there is often an assumption that success will mean more time to focus on one’s health, the opposite is more often true. The competing demands of a growing number of stakeholders mount with each passing quarter, and all the while the executive’s health declines, causing four main problems:


The fatigued executive lacks physical, mental and emotional energy. Even a small drop in energy levels makes leadership harder for the executive. When the executive is tired, inspiring the team by making each of its members feel special — like they belong — can feel like a herculean task. This energy deficit can affect not only the individual’s performance but also that of the team and even the entire organisation.


The stress that so often dogs the successful can quickly sour relationships with family and friends. Relationships of any depth demand constant input of new energy, and often executives just don’t have the energy to spare. Your loved ones, friends and family members require more than just your presence. They need sincere communication. They need you to engage with them, to remember those important shared moments and to be there to create new ones.

Success requires sacrifice. What have you sacrificed to be successful in your executive career?


The unhealthy executive lives with constant or nearly constant pain. This is the inevitable result of a weak frame that is supporting far too much weight. Imagine a rope bridge that stretches across a river. Its wooden planks and beams seem to be in good enough shape. The ropes are a little frayed but look strong enough. You step onto the bridge. As you near its centre, you can feel the rope tighten in your hands. You can hear it begin to groan with the strain. By the time you reach the middle, the bridge itself is twisting and has distorted out of shape. Finally, as you watch, the rope snaps.

Think of the rope as your muscles, the wood planks and beams as your bones. When you become weak and heavy, the same thing that happens to the bridge happens to your body. Muscles tighten, bones creak and ache, posture gets bent out of shape. It’s only a matter of time before something snaps and you find yourself facing a painful injury, one that might forever affect your quality of life.


Although there are exceptions, the vast majority of unhealthy executives are overweight. Many of these are more than overweight: they are obese. Years of poor nutritional decisions and a lack of exercise have left the executive unable to control his or her weight. According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, if left unaddressed this can dramatically shorten their lives:

  • <5 years of obesity increases the risk of mortality by 50%.
  • 5–15 years of obesity doubles the risk of mortality.
  • 25+ years of obesity increases the risk of mortality by 250%.

The list above is where the executive pays the most. It is the cause of frustration and embarrassment. These are the problems that the Executive Athlete program intends to solve. Worst of all, with each failed attempt to do something about their weight, the prospect of a pain-free and healthy life seems to retreat over the horizon. Not only are stress, pain and a lack of energy constant burdens, the executive also feels that things will never get better.

There is a way. Stay connected and I will show you how.

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