By Michael Kuznicki
In Younger Next Year, author Chris Crowley shares his personal journey as a retiring attorney in need of a new found vitality for the third phase of his life. His journey to reverse the aging process is nicely reinforced by scientific insight from his New York doctor and co-author Harry Lodge.
In his 70s, Crowley was living proof of his theory that consistent exercise and meaningful connectivity to others was biologically effective in retraining the brain toward youth. He regularly zips downhill past people half his age on the mountainside. Crowley says aging options later in life are clear and simple: growth or decay.
Most Executives Can Relate
One of my clients walked into my office last year and had undergone a fitness metamorphosis since our last meeting using author Crowley’s principles. He reminisced briefly about being somewhat athletic in his younger years, but admitted as he approached his 50s, his travel schedule and family demands had gone up, energy had gone down, and it had become so much easier to abandon regular physical activity. Having seen the dramatic 50-lb-weight change in my client, I was primarily curious at what was behind his sustained motivation to be a self-help fitness cheerleader.
My client had found a way to help mid- and late-career executives bring more energy to their jobs and their lives.
The more I read of Younger Next Year, the more enthusiastically I got on the bandwagon. I hired a personal trainer, added walking to my daily priorities and took a real vacation for the first time in years.
We all want to be younger next year, but was that the inspiration behind all this excitement and behavior change? These fitness journeys were now morphing into a life lesson on the role of motivation in leadership. Motivation has long been a mystery. Studied by many and understood by few, motivation is often the difference between tremendous success and colossal failure. How has this health journey taught lessons in motivation?
Motivation Tip 1:
Make it Personal
Motivation is unique, and that’s a good thing. Motivated CEOs adopt the mindset of fit, active and energetic leaders rather than the ancient stereotypical leader wearing suspenders and holding a glass of Scotch on the rocks. Once committed to the life-extending goal of physical fitness, we do find the time to manage our schedules around working out.
My client and his fitness mentor didn’t stop there. They handed out dozens of books to mid-level managers and in the process, inspired others to jump on the wellness wagon.
Motivation Tip 2: Find a Guide
We can decide we want to live longer, work harder and feel better in our leadership roles, but what we need most is a charted course to follow. Younger Next Year mapped out the WHY and the HOW to get there – by recommending specific types of exercise and frequency, supported by the biological payoff of retraining the brain to build muscle and replenish cells.
Motivation Tip 3: Stay Connected
Physical fitness is just part of the equation to becoming ‘younger next year.’ Mutual support is critical in getting motivated and staying motivated. I learned this life- changing insight about slowing the aging process thanks to executive leaders who make it a priority to keep networking. Connected people, with intense passions and clear purpose, are much more likely to stay engaged, excited and motivated about the goals ahead. Perhaps there will be a type of 12-step program to foster accountability among executives wanting to maintain fitness as a life goal.
Seeing other CEO success stories play out in real time, I joined the leadership campaign by inviting the author to speak in Houston, and ordered boxes of books to keep paying it forward.
Michael Kuznicki is a Certified Public Accountant in Bellaire, Texas.
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