Here's what happened
I don’t want you to think I share my story because I’m proud of it. In fact, there are parts of what you are about to read that and I’m quite embarrassed about and make me cringe. Having made it and come out on the “other side,” however, I am glad to be able to share it with you.
When I was 32 years old, I was already a prisoner of the Grind Mind. Always in search of the Maximal Life, I had instead, become trapped in long workdays, back-to-back-to-back meetings and a constant flow of critical emails and texts that I felt required my immediate, personal attention. My salary was my grade card for life and I was working toward straight A’s. My salary reached into the seven-figures, and I continued to focus on my job and my businesses. I took every setback personally, sometimes with anger, and kept telling myself, “I just need to work harder.” I even had thought “I can sleep when I’m dead” etched into my brain. I actually took pride in saying that.
It would take years for me to fully understand the nonsensical irony of that statement. Did I really believe I could give my body what it desperately needed; the care, sleep and nutrition after I was deceased? I was getting further and further off-track to leading my Maximal Life.
Snoozing through the wake-up call
I remember getting a call from my physician — at work, of course. He said something like, “Mazen, for a 32-year-old guy, your labs are like someone poorly aging in their 50’s. Your blood sugar is high. You’ve got pre-diabetes. Your LDL and cholesterol levels are way too high, and your liver enzymes are abnormally elevated. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, young man.” He continued, “I don’t want to put you on prescriptions, but if this doesn’t get better in three months, I will.”
As a pharmacist, I may have been a bit embarrassed. But if this was supposed to be my wake-up call, I just hit the snooze alarm… and continued pushing and pushing.
I remembered reading a story about a 21-year-old intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch earlier that day. He was known for pulling all-nighters, trying to show his worth. He died after working 72 hours straight. The bank’s response? They decided to “restrict” interns work to 17 hours a day. My response to this tragedy? I thought to myself, “Seventeen hours? Ha! That’s just a typical Monday. Rookies!”
No, I am not proud of that, but it gets worse.
It was less than two weeks later I was having one of “those days.” I was at one of the pharmacies I owned, “discussing” with technicians why this pharmacy couldn’t communicate with its’ customers and the phone lines were down. Of course, my Grind Mind was also thinking about the 152 emails waiting for me and how far behind I was getting on my seven consecutive meetings I had scheduled.
During this chaos, the call waiting on my cell phone beeps. “Oh, it’s just a friend,” I thought, as I let him go to voicemail. “Man, you know I’m at work,” I thought to myself.
I’ll flash forward to later that day, about 7 pm. I’m at my desk, as usual, gobbling down my dinner grinding, grinding, grinding. I check my “important” work-related voicemails and accidentally hit the one left by my friend earlier that day. I was stunned as I listened to the message. “Sal had a heart attack early this morning. We’re all at the hospital. Where are you?!”
Connected to machines
Sal, my best friend, the guy who knew me better than anyone, was in the ICU fighting for his life. You would think I would have rushed to the hospital. You would think Sal and his family would have been my priority. Instead, I continue to plow through my 152 emails.
Yeah, I know.
It was almost 9 pm when I walked through the hospital’s ICU, past doorway after doorway of rooms with people just like me, and Sal. The constant “beep, beep” of heart monitors rang in my ears, signaling each had a heart attack. I finally reached Sal’s room, again with the constant “beep, beep” of the heart monitor. I saw Sal, knocked out from pain relievers and relaxers. He was connected to a variety of IV’s and monitors and breathing machines, tethered to him as if they were a part of his anatomy. In a surreal moment, I looked down at my cellphone in my hand and it was like it was connected to me with wires. For a second, it no longer looks like a cellphone, but a heart monitor. In a profound moment of self-realization, I see my cellphone, 152 emails, my meetings, and my nine businesses, all tethering me as if to different machines.
It was then that I thought about my wife. We were supposed to have a date night that evening with a candlelit dinner, a few Grey’s Anatomy episodes, and quiet time in the Jacuzzi. This would be the third straight date night I missed. Even then, all I could think was, “At least with Sal’s heart attack I have a good excuse.”
Yeah, I know.
Getting some perspective
By the time I got home and walked through the front door it was midnight, and very quiet. Still, in a bit of shock, I stepped into the bathroom, turned on the light and did something I hadn’t done in years. I looked at myself, naked, in the mirror. I grabbed two fistfuls of my stomach and said softly but aloud, “I know how it happened.”
“How what happened?” my wife’s voice whispered from behind me. I was startled and shaken. I told my wife about the day’s events and how desperately I missed her. How my search for the Maximal Life had gotten derailed. I told her about Sal, about what the doctor told me just over a week ago and about being tethered to my “life support” that was killing me. When I was done with my clumsy confession she asked, “Well, now we know where you’re at. Where do you wanna go?” I couldn’t have been more grateful. My wife loves me.
I took the next day off.
I used the day to take a cold, hard assessment of my health and my wealth. I realized that while financial success can be downright awesome, it wasn’t about cash like it was portrayed in the 80’s or power like in the 90’s. It wasn’t even about influence, like in the 2000’s. Wealth is about time.
Sustaining success without burnout
The path to success has completely opened up in the past decade. Financially, the playing field for starting your own company has been leveled in every industry, in every market, and in every medium. Today anyone can start a business, but the knowledge of how to sustain success without burning out remains a solemn secret.
As a pharmacist, I have seen people in search of the “magic pill” to stave off burnout or to increase productivity. For you, the reader of my story, that secret is no longer a secret at all.
In order to sustain a successful business, you need to be healthy long enough to run it. Maximal Achievers play the long game. The first rule of playing the long game is: Stay alive.
During my early thirties, I was the founder and CEO of four companies with annual revenues of over twenty-five million dollars. I was leading a team of over a hundred people to their own personal success. But even so, I still wasn’t a Maximal Achiever. Not even close. It wasn’t until I learned the truth I’m about to share with you, the truth of how you can increase your wealth by improving your health, that I became a Maximal Achiever.
I hope you will continue with me on this journey as I welcome you to the State of Peak Productivity through Healthy Habits. Welcome to YOUMAXA®.
What is YOUMAXA®?
YOUMAXA® provides practical and doable programs, products and tools, backed by cutting-edge science, that are designed to help you live your Maximal Life. The YOUMAXA® inner circle is a group of people actively maximizing their human potential through healthy habits. Through YOUMAXA® you’ll learn how some simple changes can make a significant impact on how your body, mind, and spirit work in rhythm. with more energy and less stress. At YOUMAXA®, we are all about winning both the short and long game, winning both at work and at home. That’s life as it should be.
With YOUMAXA®, you’ll learn healthy habits to maximize:
- Your productivity
- Your mental clarity
- Your energy
- Your longevity
- Your financial prosperity
For today’s professionals, we are your gym without the sweat, the motivational seminar without the high-fives, and the business workshop without the boring presentations. YOUMAXA® is all about having both your health and wealth. No need to trade one for the other. They are not mutually exclusive.
Yes, there is a better way! You can’t just keep working harder. You need to do something today to make a positive change. YOUMAXA® helps you approach every day ready for peak performance and productivity. Start by signing up to learn more, and then get ready to hold on. You are about to reach new levels of energy, health, and success with YOUMAXA®.