Startup Perils – Your Health

This is a little different to my usual Startup Peril posts. I am the least likely poster child for healthy living, but the simple fact is that poor behavior eventually catches up with you.

If you are an entrepreneur, I’d be willing to bet you have some bad habits, from too much coffee to a fondness for fast food to not taking time to exercise and not getting enough sleep. I’m not aiming to sound like your mother, but you really should think about changing your behavior before it is too late.

Let me share some specifics. It is, after all, all about the data.

By most averages, I’m just past halfway through my life. When I reached the mid-point, I got a few nasty surprises that, frankly, I could have completely avoided if I had paid more attention.

I’ve had bad eating habits for as long as I can remember – skipping breakfast, late or no lunch, dinner too late, not enough fruit/vegetables etc etc. I spend much of my day sitting in front of the computer and I’ve never been much of a sports participant. As a result of this collection of bad habits, I’ve been somewhat overweight for much of my adult life and have had long-term acid reflux.

I knew I needed to make some changes, but I’ve put it off time and time again. There was always something more pressing to deal with.

Then 40 arrived. Very shortly afterwards, I was hospitalized with gallstones, most likely caused by too much fat and cholesterol in my diet over an extended period. I chose not to have surgery, since the procedure is highly invasive and has higher potential for long-term side effects than many surgeons would readily admit to. At much the same time, I was diagnosed with a variety of other gastro-related issues, some of which are hereditary and others are basically self inflicted.

After a couple of endoscopies and some ongoing medication, the doctors deemed that everything was under control. I also adopted a low-fat diet, which keeps my gall bladder well behaved and has the added benefit of reducing my weight.

All of this fun prompted me to act like an adult and purchase some life insurance.

I filled out the tedious forms, had my health exam (newly skinnier thanks to the new diet) and waited to hear back. That was when I got a real shock.  If you’ve never dug in to life insurance (can’t say I blame you), you are at the mercy of statistics. Evil number-crunching boffins in a secret lab, presumably underground, create statistical models of when you’re most likely to kick off into the great beyond. The price of your coverage is based on those models.

When I heard back from the insurance broker, it was in the form of a polite note that explained that I did not qualify for 30 year coverage and 20 year coverage would cost thousands per month. What I did qualify for was a relatively expensive 10 year policy.

Translation: the aforementioned evil boffins were predicting that I would bite it in less than 20 years, most likely in 12-15.

Now, for those of you overcome with woe at my predicament, it’s now a couple of years on and I’m fine. Better still, the Evil Boffins have recanted. I was recently offered a 30 year plan at a decent rate, so I guess they expect I’ll make it well into my 70’s.

Good news.

But my point is that almost all of what I am dealing with could have been avoided. Your health may appear to be fine, but a long-term pattern of poor behavior will catch up with you. It’s not an “if”, it’s a when.

You optimize everything in your business. Take the time to do the same for yourself.