We both put our hearts and souls into the business, almost above all else, but over time we each started to experience the ill effects of this fast-paced, career-focused life. Tasks that were run-of-the-mill at an earlier stage in our careers started to become more challenging, leading to low energy, a lack of motivation and decreased focus. On a physical level, we were both just a tiny bit overweight. You know those one or two extra kilos that unexpectedly turn into a stubborn 10+… The frequent low-level headaches, small pains and aches in the joints, stiffness in the morning, digestive issues, and of course the constant feeling of tiredness.
So we did what we thought was right back then: caffeine to get started in the morning; frequent low fat/high carb snacks on the go (to boost energy during the day); going on various crash diets that were trending at any particular time; hitting the gym after work and pounding our bodies with cardio; and although we are not big drinkers, a glass of wine in the (late) evening to ‘unwind’. And surprise, surprise: it didn’t work! On the contrary, we were exhausted and in pain, we continued to feel low energy, unfocused, unmotivated and now more frustrated because nothing seemed to work. But, after all, it was normal… This is how most of our colleagues felt and it was associated with being a busy executive and something to just deal with.
As a result, by his early forties Jim was constantly tired, frustrated, had digestive issues and low energy. The constant pressure and stress eventually led to the breakdown of his first marriage, heart issues and burnout, which further impacted both his physical and mental well-being.
For Natasa, it felt like she whizzed through her corporate years without any visible effect of the stress. A bit of weight gain, the afternoon energy dips and mood swings were all part of being “busy”. However, in 2015, when we wanted to conceive, it turned out that she had bigger problems. Natasa struggled with fertility issues and hormonal imbalance, both caused by excessive stress. And this was only the beginning of a long and trying journey to healing, with many ups and downs.
We have spent the past three years getting our own health in order and diving into the four key pillars of health: mindset nutrition movement and sleep. We’ve read countless books and tested a number of programmes in each of these areas. We even went back to school and took courses at such prestigious institutions as Harvard and Standford, to increase our knowledge and understanding of the amazing adaptability of the human body and the importance of health. What we have noticed from being our own guinea pigs and coaching other senior executives, is that not only does our health dramatically improve by taking targeted action under each of the health pillars, but as a consequence, our overall performance at work and in life becomes supercharged, with increased energy, focus and motivation.