Here's What 9 High-Paid Executives Do to Relax Outside the Office — and How It Fuels Their Success
Whether you want to be a millionaire or have other life goals, most of us imagine how we’ll spend our free time when we’ve “made it.” The reality is what you do with your nights and weekends has a significant impact on your success in all areas of life. So how do successful people spend theirs? We asked these Advisors in The Oracles.
1. Hiking, Indulging in a Massage, and Reading
My company, Hint, is part of my everyday life, whether I’m working on new products, sharing the Hint story, negotiating a new partnership, or simply drinking a Cherry Hint. My morning ritual is hiking in the mountains behind my house with my husband, Theo, and our two Labradors. This clears my mind for whatever the day may bring. Sometimes I take a workout class at Rumble or SoulCycle to stir my energy, and on Sundays, I indulge with a 90-minute Thai massage to reset for the week.
Reading also helps me stay on top of my game. I love reading David and Goliath stories of business founders in all types of industries, which helps me think and ultimately be the best I can be. All of these activities make me a better, healthier, and more focused leader. —Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint Inc.; creator of The Kara Network, a digital resource for entrepreneurs; and host of the “Unstoppable” podcast; follow Kara on Twitter and Instagram
Gaming is the one hobby I indulge in to feel like a kid again. I didn’t expect that a way for me to decompress would also have a profound influence on Centercode’s success. The gameplay of today’s video games far exceeds what we could’ve imagined 30 years ago. They are insanely demanding in both the strategic and mechanical sense. You need to focus, multitask, recall technical knowledge, and work with different personalities — all the qualities required to thrive in a fast-paced tech company.
This hobby introduced me to talented people in an environment that showcased what they were capable of. I offered many of them entry-level positions within my organization, and have watched this pay off over the years as they use those same skills to take on leadership roles. Getting to know them through gaming provided a more comprehensive picture of their strengths than an interview ever could.
Centercode’s culture has come to reflect the passion, competitiveness, collaboration, and technical focus that people bring to gaming. I still mainly play to relax, but I keep my eyes open for signs of raw talent that has rewarded our company many times over. —Luke Freiler, CEO and co-founder of Centercode, a Customer Validation solutions provider that helps hundreds of enterprises and high-growth tech companies bring dynamic and delightful products to market; connect with Luke on LinkedIn
3. Volunteering as a Deputy Sheriff
I volunteer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff. Where else do you get to combine philanthropy and physical training with invaluable skills like advanced lifesaving, threat assessment, strategic thinking, communication, and teamwork — plus a great uniform?
I began volunteering on September 11, 2001. As the world stopped, I started training. Rather than stare at the television, wondering what to do, I took action. Lawyers like me run into the flames, not away from them, which is why I also became a firefighter. For 14 years, I practiced skills like crisis management, keeping your head while others are losing theirs, patience in the face of abuse, using your voice, and distraction techniques to negotiate peaceful resolutions to problems. These skills not only serve my legal practice — but they also make me a better member of our community. —James Daily, founding partner of Daily Law Group, which helps high-profile clients with fiduciary abuse litigation, including fraud, crisis management, and business and family disputes; connect with James on LinkedIn
4. Participating in IRONMAN Competitions
When I’m not working or with my family, you’ll typically find me swimming, biking, or running. I compete in IRONMAN triathlons and ultramarathons. Although this is a hobby for me, there are so many ways it makes me better as a business leader. Running 140.6-mile triathlons and ultramarathons challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It takes months of preparation for one race. Yet no matter how well prepared you are, races at these distances will force you to face something uncomfortable at some point — and test how you respond. —Daniel Lesniak, founder of Orange Line Living, broker at the Keri Shull Team, and co-founder of real estate coaching business HyperFast Agent; author of “The HyperLocal, HyperFast Real Estate Agent”
5. Hot Yoga
I practice hot yoga, which reinvigorates me. Beyond the physical benefits like improved flexibility, immune function, and circulation, the emotional and psychological benefits are drastic. While my body stretches physically, I also release mental and emotional tension. As the temperature and humidity rise, I’m forced to go deep within and become less distracted by external circumstances.
For me, yoga is less about perfect poses and more about breathing deeply and intentionally, which aligns me to a greater purpose. As a busy entrepreneur, it’s imperative to stay grounded and connected with my mind, body, and soul. That higher energetic and conscious state gives me a sharp mind and clear vision, which is why I schedule “thinking time” after class to focus on important decisions and challenges I’m facing. —Tom Shieh, CEO of Crimcheck, advisory board member to Defy Ventures, and advisor to Tiny Devotions; connect with Tom on Facebook
6. Spending Time with My Family, Learning, and Being Active
I only work five or six hours a day because I spend a lot of time with my family. I drop off our four boys at school and pick them up at the end of the day, so I have to finish work by 3 p.m. If I can’t, I’m being inefficient.
I’m always learning and growing by reading and listening to audio. I read about a book a week, which is how I fill my cup so I can serve others. I’m also very active, which is the foundation for everything in life — even if it’s merely going for a walk, I work out first thing in the morning to make sure it happens. I play a lot of sports with my kids, like soccer and tennis. These hobbies keep me fresh and ready to be and give more. —Yuri Elkaim, founder and CEO of Healthpreneur, former professional athlete, and New York Times bestselling author; read how Elkaim went from making $80 a week to building million-dollar businesses here; connect with Yuri on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube
7. CrossFit, Surfing, and Learning To Play the Guitar
Life isn’t about working all the time. We need downtime to unwind. I do CrossFit every day for about an hour, which has drastically improved my health, fitness, and even my outlook on life and work. I’ve also surfed my entire life, which gives me so much joy and release. When I’m riding the waves, I don’t think about anything else. I used to play golf and would often leave ready to toss my clubs into the lake; but after surfing, the endorphins are flowing and I’m so relaxed.
I’ve also started learning to play the guitar, which is a lot of fun. It’s like learning a new language and involves both dexterity and thinking. I have a lesson every Sunday morning and practice several times a week. Otherwise I read, travel, and spend time with my family at the movies or a musical. All of those things make life more enjoyable. —Peter Hernandez, president of the Western Region at Douglas Elliman; founder and president of Teles Properties
8. Experiencing the World Outside the Office
I get out of my office! It may sound simple, but the best place for me to be when I’m not working is out and about experiencing the world around me. For example, I like to attend summits and conferences for entrepreneurs and small-business leaders. We focus on helping small and growing businesses; so by getting out into the world and simply experiencing what is going on in their ecosystem, I can keep myself thinking clearly and moving forward. —Dennis Najjar, co-founder of AccountingDepartment.com, a virtual accounting service for small businesses; connect with Dennis on LinkedIn
9. Any Kind of Exercise
I move my body. I don’t care how; what matters is that I do it every day. My brain works better on days that I move than days that I don’t. But we all know that we should move. There are two main reasons why people don’t do it as much as they should: it’s not convenient, and they overcomplicate it.
The solution is to find something close to your home or work, ideally less than a 10-minute walk away, and make an appointment in advance. Don’t stress about whether it’s the best exercise. What matters is that you do it. Sometimes I’ll do a full-hour workout with weights, while other days I’ll go for just 20 minutes and stretch. What matters is that you move, because you’ll think and feel better. —Jonathan Goodman, founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center, a free resource for the fitness industry, covering topics such as large-scale personal trainer salary surveys and detailed instructions on how to become an online trainer; connect with Jonathan on Facebook and Instagram
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