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Expert Advice: How to Combat “Flabby Brain” in Business

What you put into your work is what you get out of it. Just like your body, if you eat junk and spend all

day on the couch… you may gain a little bit of flab. The older you get it’s a little harder to keep up with exercising. Our bodies change and don’t react the same as they did in our youth. Similarly, in business, as you get more experienced and climb the ladder, you get flabby around the brain. You’re not using those muscles you used early in your career. You think you’re above that now.

To combat Flabby Brain, we asked some industry experts and CEOs how they exercise their brain on a daily basis. Here’s what they had to say:

James Buckley, JB Sales Training

Schedule 15-minute breaks throughout your day. I do about 2 a day depending on the tasks and workload for the day. I do this. It helps me to get up, walk away. Then come back thinking clearly about my functions, purpose, and goals. The grind can be exhausting mentally, and physically. Schedule time for those mental breaks in the day to reset.

Spencer Vereecken, Millennia Technologies

Exercising my brain for the workday within a business usually occurs outside of work for me! So, what does that mean? Making sure I am set up for a good workday in the morning normally makes for the best day for myself. I like to wake up early to read and work out. Get’s my mind and body in the place they need to be, usually calming and a ton of ideas coming through. I personally like to work out on the Peloton Bike or App since they are master motivators and have solid emotional support ideas!

During the day, I really like to take my lunch and get out of the grind of whatever I am doing to reset for the day, take any emotional highs or lows out of any decision-making that I have as well. Gives me some mental clarity during that time as well and brings me back to things that I find to be important on my personal side.

Lastly, I have found that talking to my people outside of work for business decisions is also great mental work as well. Gives me my true identity by talking to me straight and letting me hear the good, bad, and ugly!

Jennifer Oknin, Founder & CEO Shift into Health, LLC

I love snacks! Who doesn't? But the best snacks to prevent "Flabby Brain" are periodic breathing and exercise snacks. And my Apple Move rings love them too! Set your phone timer to 25 minutes. Start working through your list for the day. The timer goes off and it’s Snack time! Feet flat on the floor, rear in the chair, close your eyes, and breathe deep for one minute. Then one minute of physical movement. You can run up and down your stairs a few times, do some squats, walk around the house. Then get back to work. Do this cycle three times and then take a 20-30 minute break. These “snacks” are awesome before meetings or calls as you are vibing high, and able to share your creativity, energy, and joy with those around you!

I also love listening to podcasts while I'm folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen. It's the perfect way to let your mind focus on new information that can spark something new and amazing for your business!

Adrion Porter, Founder & CEO of Mid-Career Mastery

This is pretty easy and straightforward for me as I actually use a framework I've created called THE MALAISE-TO-MASTERY MAP™.

It outlines what I call three key pillars and steps for getting unstressed and unstuck — particularly during your "middle years": (1.) MINDSET (2.) MEANING (3.) MILESTONES.

1.) Reframe my MINDSET. This is the foundational step of the framework and is all about redefining your attitude and expectations about where you are in your career (or even any particular day in the short term). This also means embracing a habit of meditation and gratitude. For me, that is in the mornings.

2.) Define my MEANING. This is about having clarity on my "purpose". Again, whether it's during this middle season in your career/life... or for any giving moment. I do this daily as well. Understanding why is my source of inspiration and motivation for the day? What is the meaningful IMPACT that I want to make?

3.) Establish my MILESTONES. This is defining my measurable goals and markers of success for the day... and my life/career in general. These are also both micro (short-term) and macro (long-term) milestones. And what's also critical is I make sure I take the time to incorporate a reward system and celebrate achieving them.

Michael Maher, Chief Idea Officer, Cartology

I intentionally pick challenging situations at work that I’m not 100 sure I can actually solve and then go after them. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed. Either way, it keeps me from getting too cocky.

Leslie Venetz, Founder, Sales Team Builder

Act with intention. I've found that the fastest way to a Flabby Brain is forgetting too frequently, stop, take deep a breath, and look at the bigger picture. Blocking out time to be mindful can feel like a luxury in our chronically over-scheduled lives. But I exercise my brain by doing just that. Each morning I take 30 minutes to listen to meditation & journal. I schedule meetings with myself to ensure I've blocked time for exercise or to simply spend time in deep thought. After I learn something new, I give myself space to test my new knowledge before I move on to the next "fresh off the press" insight. Surprisingly, I've found the best way to exercise my brain is to give it rest. A great way to prevent a Flabby Brain is to be intentional about how you use your time.

Eric Stark, Vice President of Channel Engagement, Mavenir

Working out 3-5 times a week helps me. I usually listen to podcasts, typically business or tech-related. Podcasts always teach me something new, often from a perspective different from my own, and they frequently provide me with new stories that are relevant to my work. Sometimes, I don't listen to anything. Instead, I just think. I've solved many business problems and/or had new ideas when I've taken the time to just think.

Also, every few months, I detach from work and force my mind to look at something completely different in order to unlock my creative side. Usually, I go someplace new - outdoors or in another country or to a museum. Most recently, I went to the immersive Van Gogh exhibit. I'm still thinking about it.

Martin Pratt Co-Founder Unidad Media Group

In the morning I meditate on daily affirmations and goals; then I start working out 25 sit-ups jumping jacks, push-ups, 25 kicks per leg. In the evening I play with 3 different video games 2-word puzzles and Tetris only for 3 mins per game for 3 times. I subscribe to specific market leaders who post daily content on LinkedIn like John Hope Bryant.

Hopefully, this is a little wake-up call to inspire you to some action. Exercising your body and mind can be a crucial part of success in the board room and at home. At Business and Bourbon, we are dedicated to helping you achieve the best version of yourself, and providing resources for you to succeed.


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