Remember how workaholism was glorified and fettisized in the late 80s and 90s? I sure do. I remember people bragging about working 80-100 hour work weeks and feeling good about it. Business successful seemed to be valued over all else, including having any kind of relationship with spouses and children. “Sleep when you’re dead” was the motto of many who eventually were forced to retire because of heart attacks or other health crises, or who actually died from their unhealthy life focus.
I recently had the chance to speak with Dan Kuschell, who was one of those guys in the 90s. Dan started his first business in 1992 and his first mentor told him that his unfair advantage would be that he would work harder, work longer, and work more than anyone else. So Dan did just that. He hustled hard. He sacrificed sleep, health, and close relationships in order to get ahead in business.
Then two weeks after his son was born, he landed in the hospital for a heart procedure. Before going in for surgery he had to sign a form that informed him that there was a statistically significant chance that he would not live through the procedure. This was the wake up call that Dan needed.
After Dan recovered from his own health scare, he wanted not only to grow his own businesses in a healthy way rather than just focus on success, he also wants to help others avoid the workaholic traps that very nearly ended his life. Now he helps other companies grow as an advisor, coach and he is even working on a new software platform as well.
When Dan starts working with a new business, one of the first and most important things e does is to ask the right questions. What are the right questions when you are starting out? Dan says, as always, it depends. It depends on the particular business and situation, but here are a few good ones to get you started.
- What is the truth about where you are?
- What is the very next step you can take to make progress?
- Where are your like minded peers? Find them and mastermind.
- Do I need more help? Like coaching, books, or courses? Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep getting better.
- Who do you want to be a hero to?
Answer all of these questions honestly and you can usually find something you can do to start moving forward right now - take that next step and figure out the next step in the same way. When working with businesses on new products or services Dan like so use is 5 P’s Process.
The 5 Ps
- Plan - Plan out the product or service. What is it? What are the features? What are the benefits? How will this solve someone’s problem or change their life?
- Position - Credibility, authority, celebrity - how do you structure and convey that?
- Package - Whether physical product on digital, you still have to think about how you package the product. How do you package it to convey the story you want to tell?
- Promote - This is the marketing plan. What channels will you use to promote? What promotion materials do you need to create?
- Progress - Track progress by identifying Key Performance Indicators at the start of the process which you will track all the way through. Make sure that these are the most important factors like sales, revenue, customer acquisition and cost per customer rather than vanity metrics like social media likes, follows, or shares.
These things are all important, but in order to keep himself healthy and happy, Dan also implements two daily routines to bookend all of his work activities that set up healthy boundaries regardless of what is going on in any business or work situation. “I book-end my days with healthy habits that fill me with something positive in these six areas: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, financial and social.”
Every morning Dan rises early to start his day with exercise, and reading or listening to an audio book. Then he writes and eats a healthy breakfast. Then at the end of the day he talks with his family over dinner. In a casual way they ask each other questions along these lines: What are you grateful for today? What made you happy? What did you do well really well? What mistakes did you make? What did you learn from the mistakes? “We don’t do it in a certain order or robotic fashion, but we try to touch on all of these themes. The funny thing is that my kids’ favorite question is the one about the mistakes.”
These bookending practices along with sleeping at least 7 hours per night ensures that Dan has a good day no matter what happens during his working hours. “We all have ups and downs in our businesses. Everyone has bad days now and then. But as long as I start my day with those positive practices and end my day focused on gratitude, happiness, accomplishments and learning, I can still consider it a good day.”
Want to learn more about how Dan now helps other people build their businesses for health, not just success? You can learn more right here.