Leadership Dynamics

The Health Risks of Owning a Business – how they can place you and your business in jeopardy

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If you’re a business owner, your health is probably suffering right now.

Owning a business demands and takes everything of you and from you, and more.  And, because it’s your dream, you freely give it to see it thrive and achieve the dreams you have for it in your mind’s eye.

However, this can and often does take a toll on your health BUT there is NO WAY your business will thrive UNLESS YOU DO as most business owners are the “lynchpin” holding their business together.  Their business solely relies on them to thrive.

If your health is suffering, you’re placing your business, your dream, in jeopardy and the longer you put off doing something about it, the greater the risk becomes.

Here are some startling research findings on the health of business owners for you:

  1. Women who sit for more than six hours a day have approximately a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause, regardless of their fitness level, versus those who sit for fewer than three hours. You’ve got to assume this applies just as equally to the blokes. (Source

The study also went on to say that a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t just lead to a few extra pounds on your frame — it can also damage your mind, sleep cycle, and internal organs.

Typically, business owners spend countless hours in front of a screen……how many are you currently spending?

  1. Stress. Research has found that three out of four doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments. 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress. Left unchecked, stress can worsen or increase your risk for a range of health problems, including:
    • Heart disease: Stress increases your heart disease risk by 40 percent.
    • Stroke: Work-related stress causes 10 percent of all strokes.
    • Weight gain: Stress causes 40 percent of adults to overeat or make unhealthy dietary choices.

Research reveals that small business owners experience more stress and worry than their salaried counterparts and often talk about feeling lonely and socially isolated as they attempt to grow their businesses and gain a competitive edge. Social isolation itself can be harmful too.  Research has shown it can increase your risk of death by at least 50 percent. (Source)

In 2014/15, 9.9million days were lost to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. Business owners are famous for overworking – 76% of small business owners have sacrificed a holiday for the business, according to a poll by Xero, and further studies found that approximately 50% of business owners are not satisfied with their work/life balance. (Source) and 57% of small business owners are overstressed, eight-in-ten are sacrificing sleep to keep the lights on. (Source)

Extremely alarming findings.

What are your stress levels like right now?

How is your mental health?

As I stated at the beginning of this blog, if your health is suffering, you’re placing your business under threat and the longer you keep putting off getting your health in order, the greater that risk becomes with every passing day.

I’ve owned my own businesses for the last 30 years so I know a thing or two about the toll a business can take, BUT, I’ve also had great wisdom from some key mentors who helped me get my health in order because at the start of my business journey, I wasn’t a picture of health and I pushed ALL the limits – and they called me on it big time.  I’m only standing today because of the advice I received all those years ago. Regular exercise and a healthy diet (mostly!) have formed part of my life for many years now.

Can I encourage you to start making steps to improving your health?

Research has shown eating a healthy and well-balanced diet and regular exercise can lead to heart health, reduced cancer risk, a better mood, improved gut health and memory, weight loss, Diabetes management, strong bones and teeth, a good night sleep, and the health of the next generation

All key foundations for growing a successful business don’t you think?

I’m not a health expert in any sense, and you’ll know what you need to do for yourself and if you don’t, then seek professional help, but a great way to start is to start small.  Like swapping out a chocolate bar in the afternoon for a handful of nuts, or swap out the soft drink for water – even get fancy and get sparkling water.

Also, get moving.  Stand up to work regularly during the day if possible (remember the effects of sitting too long at your desk can have on your body), take the stairs, walk at lunch, have meetings while walking, start a running/walking group, get a bunch of your work colleagues and join a local sporting competition, go for a walk with your partner and/or kids or the dog, find a sport you enjoy for example.  There are endless things you can do that don’t cost money, that you can do to dramatically improve your health and wellbeing.

Here’s a final statistic to get you moving on this:

30% of all SMEs have experienced the loss of a key employee for three months or more because of a serious illness.

Larger SMEs, with 50 to 249 employees, are more likely to have experienced the loss of a key employee to serious illness or death. (Source)

How would you rate your overall health and wellness out of 10 right now?  (1  = terrible/I’m a heart attack waiting to happen and 10 = fantastic/I’m a health and wellness guru).

How would you rate your overall health and wellness of your key people out of 10 right now?

These changes will take focus and discipline but it’s worth it.

Schedule these changes into your calendar as a priority, not as something you’ll do if you have time, and lead your team by example. Remember, your health, life, leadership, and that of your business and team, depends on it.

Take care and keep climbing.

Peter.

**Note: If you’re struggling to lift your mood, to see light at the end of the tunnel, or just feel down a majority of the time, you’re not alone and you may need to seek professional help.  Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

If you’d like to learn more about my strategies for growing a positive mindset and much more, to grow a thriving business, we’ve just launched our new LEADING4GROWTH ONLINE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. 

Click here for more information.

I have over 30 years of experience leading remote teams around the world – 15,000 people in 29 countries.  In this free guide, I share my top strategies for maximising the potential of your remote team.

Click here to grab yourself a copy. 

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