Paul Marciano’s 2010 book Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work debunked the myth that employers could improve performance with reward or punishment systems—but literal carrots could actually make a world of difference. That’s because a wealth of evidence suggests that those who eat right, exercise, and manage stress are markedly better employees. Companies use this knowledge to their advantage by offering health-conscious workplace perks to protect their most valuable assets: their staff.
But consider this: You can also use this information to get ahead in your job and build the career of your dreams.
You might think that because it’s your brain that does the heavy lifting, your body is irrelevant to the work you do. Not so! Even the most intelligent and intellectual among us is simply unable to work our best when our bodies are unhealthy. Remember, we are holistic, integrated organisms geared toward maintaining equilibrium. If a room is too cold, our bodies will try to balance it out by sending blood away from the surface of the skin where it loses heat; if we skip a night’s sleep, our body will demand those hours back in the form of a nap. All of this is to say, our professional talents and skills are only as good as our bodies will allow them to be.
This means if you’re good at what you do now, you might have the potential to be a whole lot better.
Take, for example, the matter of exercise. You might think going to the gym is a waste of time because you get paid to think, not to sweat. However, studies show that brain activity changes dramatically based upon how much a body moves. Exercise literally makes us more creative and improves our thinking and reasoning skills. How is that for an incentive to get up from your desk?
Studies show that people who eat healthier food are a whopping 25 percent more productive than their counterparts. And chew on this—fresh, natural foods like leafy greens, fruit, nuts, and healthy proteins can actually improve brain cognition. Have you ever been so hungry you can’t think straight? Then you already know from experience! But remember, unhealthy foods might make you feel satiated, but they don’t provide the necessary nutrients to boost your brain power.
And don’t forget to take into account stress when evaluating your health. For busy tech and IT professionals, stress can seem like it’s part of the job. However, stress endangers our cognitive functions, and can be especially harmful to memory—not to mention a host of serious physical ailments that could lead to one sick day after another. In addition to eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising, learning how to manage stress is vitally important to your overall workplace performance.
What differences will you see when you start adopting healthier habits? You’ll…
- Work more efficiently
- Come up with creative solutions
- Have mental and physical endurance
- Maintain a sharp memory
- Improve the way you think
Start by making a change today. You’ll not only notice that you start to feel better, but you’ll also see that your climb up the career ladder can be easier—and more pleasant—than you ever imagined.
Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!