Karim El Barche (Discovery Corporate Wellness Centre) Your brain is your biggest asset.
How can we perform at our peak? Karim El Barche, CEO of the Discovery Corporate Wellness Centre and speaker at the Arch Summit believes we need to take a professional approach to getting our work tool - our brain - into the best possible condition.
What is peak performance in business life?
We need to find ways to be as energetic, awake and alert as possible. Stress can be our friend, or it can be our enemy. It works for us when it keeps us focused and motivated, driving us to be more productive and creative. It harms when it becomes overwhelming and gets out of hand, ultimately resulting in burn out. It’s all about finding the formula that puts your brain in the best possible condition for the challenges ahead. Too often we do counterproductive things that make it harder to think clearly.
“It’s all about finding the formula that puts your brain in the best possible condition.”
What are the keys to peak performance?
We’re all different so each of us has to work out what gives the best results. Food is vitally important. Traditional meals were suited to a time when physical work was the norm, now we need to feed our brains. We also need to give our brains more space. The best racing drivers are the ones who are most efficient at taking corners and taking pit-stops, and so it is with office work. This means as well as disconnecting from our phones it means exploring meditation and mindfulness techniques. For these reasons exercise is important. As well as giving yourself a rest from intellectual challenges, the chemicals produced by the body during exercise make us brighter, more alert and happier.
Where should people start?
It starts with the first meal of the day. A sugar and carbohydrate based breakfast will leave you sluggish and craving another sugar hit throughout the day. Similarly, a big lunch will see your energy levels dropping about an hour after you eat. Try having a big breakfast based on protein, nuts, and fresh fruit and vegetables, and have enough to sustain you for much of the day. Eat fruit to keep yourself going. As for giving your mind a break, try to make sure your phone doesn’t rule your life. There is no reason to be sending an email at 11pm in bed. Not only will this disrupt your sleep, but there’s no way you will be thinking clearly when you’re tired. It’s not always easy to learn to meditate but if you can crack it, 10-15 minutes a day has been clinically shown to reduce stress and boost performance. As for exercise, find something that works for you. Why not suggest walking meetings rather than being sat around a desk?