On LinkedIn and other web sites, I see many articles about the traits and characteristics of successful proposal professionals. While I usually agree with their advice – who would not benefit from listening more and talking less? – most of them miss an important point. If you are not healthy and happy, you are unlikely to be an effective leader.
I have a simple piece of advice for proposal professionals who want to be more successful: get more exercise. The lives of proposal professionals are characterized by late night and weekend work and a steady diet of pizza, Chinese take-out, and unhealthy snacks.
One remedy is to lace up your sneakers and get more exercise by walking, working out at the gym, or playing sports. As an avid jogger, hiker, and soccer player, here are my job-related reasons for getting plenty of exercise. For more information on this important subject, see “Walk This Way, Please” in the July 2015 issue of Nutrition Action Health Letter.
Exercise builds a bigger, sharper brain. Many studies have concluded that more active people, especially older ones, have healthier brains than couch potatoes, especially in the areas of memory, attention, and decision-making.
Exercise improves your mood. Regular exercise acts like antidepressant medication by increasing serotonin levels, a chemical that helps keep a balanced mood.
Exercise increases longevity. Individuals who exercise regularly have lower rates of mortality compared to people of their own ages.
Exercise strengthens your heart and lowers your risk of cancer. Many studies have concluded that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and congestive heart failure and reduces the risk of breast, colorectal, and other cancers.
Exercise reduces the risk of diabetes. Exercise, especially among older people, improves insulin sensitivity in the muscles, which lowers the risk of diabetes.
Do you spend too much time sitting in front of a computer working on proposals? I do and I bet you do too. Wear a pedometer to see how much exercise you get daily. Aim for about 7,500 steps a day with 3,000 of them at a brisk pace. I repeat – at a brisk pace.
Being a proposal professional is not conducive to your health…or happiness because of its long hours and stress. Start exercising vigorously and you are likely to become happier, healthier, and more effective on and off the job.