Happy Memorial Day to the Entrepreneur!

Are You A Healthy Entrepreneur?

For many entrepreneurs, it's easy to ignore the warning signs that you're unhealthy--much less take notice if your business isn't well. When you're so busy that you can't remember the last time you read a book, sat down for a meal or spent a night watching useless TV, then your health may be the last thing on your mind.

But ignoring your unhealthy habits and their subsequent risk factors is dangerous--not only to you, but also to your business. Lack of sleep and exercise, unhealthy foods and high stress won't keep you performing at your best. Your business is only as healthy as you are. "I can't be effective [as an entrepreneur] if my body isn't as healthy as possible," says Jonathan Fields, a serial entrepreneur who started New York City-based Sonic Yoga in 2001 following a frightening emergency surgery brought on by the stress of his career as an attorney.

With sales approaching $1 million and two locations, Fields, 41, now incorporates yoga, meditation and breathing exercises, as well as mountain biking and other outdoor activities, into his routine four or five days a week. He also keeps his diet well-rounded, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding red meat and pork but allowing the occasional indulgence.

In the interest of staying healthy, don't forget to make time for those quiet moments alone, even as you're guiding your company and your employees toward wellness. "For me, being healthy is a bigger picture than just eating well and [exercising]," notes Flatley. "It's taking time to relax with a book or sitting on the sun porch."

For Fields, it can mean just a few minutes of meditation, even when he's at his busiest. And those few minutes can be golden. "The thought of just sitting still and not doing something for 10 seconds is brutal," he says. "But it's hugely beneficial for clarifying ideas and having breakthroughs, so it's worth the effort."

Here are some things you can do to improve the health of your business:

  • Encourage employee wellness. Some companies even provide incentives for sticking to a wellness program, such as prizes and monetary rewards.
  • Provide healthy snacks. Even if all you have is a vending machine, stock it with healthy things.
  • Get fit. You're a role model for employees. They look to you for direction within your company. Why wouldn't they look to you as a model of healthy living?
  • Meditate and relieve stress. Even if it's only for a few minutes a day, take time to do something you really enjoy that doesn't have anything to do with your business. It can lead to moments of clarity, during which you unleash the creative ideas within.

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