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How to be healthier, happier and more successful at work

One of the most memorable keynote presentations for me at this year’s Online Retailer Conference and Expo was not about e-commerce but about the work life balancing act. Mark Bunn, a motivational coach, speaker and former AFL player, presented some compelling arguments to consider your health first before anything else. His advice should be well heeded.

Mark spoke about the daily habits of high achievers. He pointed out the happiest people in the world have very few material possessions, know nothing about fats, sugars, or dietary research, and yet are often extremely healthy. This presentation hit home, as I had personally started this journey a year or two ago myself.

One of the things I value most is psychological freedom and health, which was validated for me when reading JB GLossinger’s book, The Sacred Six. The book defines goal setting, but adds the missing dimension that makes you think about your values, what they are and if they align with your goals. For me, freedom means having the flexibility (within reason) to choose what and where and how to do things, and thus, I went down the path of working for myself, which is not without risks.

I sometime muse with friends who are also self-employed about working longer and more irregular hours than our salaried colleagues, and yet we all feel that we have that degree of psychological freedom. No need to apply for annual leave, or ask permission to do a cross-fit session in the morning, or pop out to fetch the kids from school. The price is that the work needs to get done sometime.

Health is something that many of us need to pay more attention to. Most of us working in e-commerce sit in offices with poor ergonomics, little fresh air and artificial light, so it’s important to take steps to improve our energy and performance in this fast-paced industry.

High achievers put their health first. But as Mark Bunn pointed out, the absence of disease is not health – health is a byproduct of happiness. Too often, we believe we have to be successful to be happy, but that’s looking at things the wrong way. People who are happy and healthy are more likely to be successful.

Bunn suggested investing two minutes a day for 21 days meditating and being mindful. Based on research and personal practice, he said to expect:

  • 31 per cent increased productivity
  • 37 per cent better sales
  • 19 per cent faster and more accurate work
  • Increased resilience, energy and creativity

These results resonate with me as well. A few years ago, I took up exercise and cycling and thrived on it, but it didn’t provide me with the mindset I needed during hard, busy days, and I couldn’t overcome a general feeling of tiredness. I added yoga to my routine. That helped a bit, but something was still missing and I was still tired. I figured it was time to give meditation and mindfulness a go.

After trying a few different meditation apps I found one that worked for me. I now get up a few minutes early, put noise-cancelling headphones on, and try to meditate for 10 minutes every morning. I have reached a point where those 10 minutes feel like three. I am more alert, awake and notice things around me that I never noticed before. I have more energy and more patience.


Bunn said meditation is the ultimate game-changer: “If you are not meditating today you are at a distinct disadvantage to your competition.”

I couldn’t agree more. What are you doing to ensure your health and happiness and achieve more in the workplace?

Mark Freidin is the co-founder of Internet Retailing and writes a weekly opinion column about the e-commerce industry. 

Have a burning question or idea you want to share? Email Mark at

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