IE University, one of the most innovative and diverse universities in the world, is coming to Yerevan this fall. staff.am is delighted to be an informational partner of IE University and have an exclusive interview with Serial Entrepreneur and IE Visiting Professor Mario Berta, who is going to have a masterclass on Peak Performance at IE Experience day on 10th October.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the topic you’re going to talk about – Peak performance.
World’s best Athletes and top performing CEOs have lots of things in common, from periodisation of their day to laser focus mindset and yes …rest and recovery.
This seminar will give you an introduction to the basics of Brain Science for Peak Performance such as the transition from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
Is a relatively new science that still has a long way to go, the opportunities and the field of discoveries are limitless.
Peak performance also refers to being on state of superior functioning, are there any practical techniques or advice you can briefly share with our audience on reaching peak performance?
Peak Performance is achieved with the combination of 4 main pillars the so called pillars of peak performance, which are:
PILLAR 1: MINDSET
This is where everything begins. Just as with any business decision, it requires a conscious decision to follow through and to execute that decision relentlessly and with discipline.
There are various ways to help you achieve your peak mindset, from simple to-do lists to visualization techniques (which I personally love using while interval jogging). The easiest way to tackle your tasks is by tackling smaller, easily achievable goals first then as the day progresses you can gradually move up to harder ones.
These don’t necessarily have to be directly work related, just any type of goal that will help you perform at your best. For instance, I will always make an effort to have lunch with someone to avoid eating too fast. This will help with digestion, as well as with my caloric intake (thus improving the nutrition aspect as well). Another small goal is replacing soft drinks with water, or better yet, with coconut water which is full of antioxidants (and it’s a great hangover cure as well).
PILLAR 2: REST AND RECOVERY
We all know how important sleep is in helping us stay productive throughout the day, but there is a lot more to know.
We should all be getting around 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night. This is because during sleep, our organs regenerate in a bottom up cycle: starting with our lower body and ending with our brain. Whilst the brain is regenerating, we have our deepest sleep, and it is during this process that new pathways are created, helping us remember new things we have learned the previous day. So, if you’re someone like me, who wakes up between 6–8AM then the optimal time to go to sleep is between 10PM-12AM.
If you do struggle with falling asleep, you can always try Melatonin supplement, which stimulates our sleeping hormone, to help you reach the “mindset” of going to sleep at a specific time.
Personally, I am not a fan of afternoon naps because it takes time to fall asleep and then to fully wake up again. I think simply getting your full 8 hours of sleep is more than enough to have a super productive day.
Also, if you do long-haul flights regularly, then try booking night time flights. You’ll be tired enough from the day, and if you managed to squeeze in an aerobic session at the gym, or at home, then falling asleep will be a lot easier.
PILLAR 3: NUTRITION
Just as a side note, I am not a nutritionist, these are simply things that I have read about and what I have found to work for me.
The basic rule of good nutrition: added sugar is the devil. The problem however is that avoiding sugar is nearly impossible. Nowadays it is present in basically everything we eat or drink: the world’s biggest companies such as Nestle and Unilever make billions every year selling us sugar. Even more basic than that, we like sugar. But, what we can do is to make smarter choices about how we intake it.
What has worked for me is intermittent fasting. This basically involves introducing a 16 hour fast into your daily routine. It is a lot easier to follow than it initially sounds: typically I will only eat between 12PM and 8PM, so a large portion of my fasting period is when I’m asleep.
By reducing the number of meals I have achieved the following:
- Reduced my intake of sugar, simply because I have reduced the amount of meals I eat during the day.
- As my body has no food intake for 16 hours, it goes into starvation mode and pushes it to regenerate faster.
- When the body enters starvation mode, it attacks our glucose warehouse (the fat basically) resulting in weight loss.
- Saved time in the morning as I don’t have to organize my breakfast*.
*Barack Obama always had the same suit, shirt, and tie, giving him less things to think about during the day. Doing things like this help us automatize small portions of our daily life resulting in cost and time savings.
There are also a lot of myths surrounding juicing. Even though fruits are healthy for you, when you juice them, you are removing all of the fibers and leave yourself with just the fructose, i.e. the sugar.
Also, if you do a lot of sports (like me) it is important to make sure you are getting the right nutrients into your body. This will help you avoid losing steam in the middle of a work-out.
Lastly, there is the continuous debate over whether being a vegetarian or a carnivore is healthier. There are concrete studies that show the intake of meat increases cholesterol levels, but lots of vegetarians who have high intakes of carbohydrates (which the body turns into sugar) also have high cholesterol levels. So, it’s simply a matter of moderation.
PILLAR 4: DAILY EXERCISE
In my opinion, there is no excuse not to exercise. There are simple life hacks that have helped me, the most basic: always having my running shoes with me. I have jogged in the most ridiculous places on Earth, (I.e. with a bullet proof vest in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and in the Namibian desert) , I will find the time to go for a quick jog.
As I travel quite often to places like Singapore or Hong Kong where a hotel with a gym is above our company’s budget for accommodation, I found a simple solution: TRX kit. It is relatively inexpensive (50 USD), and only weighs 300g so it’s easy to pack in your hand carry. Another solution is to use the furniture around you as impromptu equipment, for instance you can use a chair for triceps dips or step ups. Or if you’re more interested in a low impact workout, yoga is a good option, plus it only requires 2 squirm of space and a YouTube video. So there really is no excuse not to squeeze in some exercise during your day. There is even an app you can download that gives you a 7-minute workout if you are really short on time.
Tell us a bit about your background and experience as a professor at IE University. What influenced your decision to join IE and what are some of the significant IE advantages you can share with us?
Well, first I had 2 experiences in IE, one like 10 years ago as an exchange student from Italy and then as executive education student at the Owners Scale Up program (OSP) which is also where I teach now. I then decided to start the iter to become a professor, which is a very fulfilling experience for me, unlike lots of other business schools IE really values diversity and expertise in certain areas, about ⅓ of our professors are not from an academic background / PHD type but real professionals on the field. Example, I am probably the only one specialized in Sales in IE, now if I had never sold a thing in my life or never raised venture capital money or never built and sold a company before, how likely would you trust me as Sales Expert?
Same for our professors in other disciplines like Marketing etc…
staff.am is all about teams and careers, so as a serial entrepreneur what advice would you give to our CEOs and HRs, with regards to building great teams?
Is kind of long answer, but I will mention the 2 most critical:
1 is surrounding yourself with people that are smarter then you or at least better than you in certain areas, for instance I found all the finance related activities very boring in the day-to-day of my company and as a consequence I don’t really enjoy much doing it them, however they are a critical aspect of any business, this is why I on-boarded a co-founder which has deep expertise in this field, so I focus on what I am good and like doing (sales, international expansions, building teams) and he focuses on this part more operational and finance related.
2 create a strong company culture and this CAN NOT BE OUTSOURCED, if you are GazProm sure hire a consulting and have them building your culture but if you are SMEs, or a fast growing company only people at the top can do it nobody else, create an “infectious” culture where people are just willing to kill for your company. I am now working on my next talk which is building a culture of Winning and reading a lot about this matters it kind of goes back to peak performance as well.
staff.am’s mission is to support HR and professional community development in Armenia, what advice you could give to our young readers, who have just started their career and have big ambitions and plans?
Well the very first one is that – on my opinion- the professional world is divided in 2 : people that are MONEY DRIVEN (like me) and people that are PURPOSE DRIVEN, I kind of learned this from a video from the great John Doer you can see the details on this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui8yLqCxChM)
Both of them are very successful if doing things right, there is no good on bad on both of them so the young people entering their first job or venture they need to decide which one of them are they, and it can change over time. Bill Gates was totally a money driven person now is the biggest philanthropists the World.
Also a reality check: is not written anywhere you will be successful, but hard work, smart work and various of other things will give you more possibilities to succeed.
If you are interested in mastering yourself on Peak performance, explore IE University programs, learn more from Mario Berta, join this unique event in Yerevan and imagine yourself IE Student for a Day.
For more information and registration, click the below button: