Do you agree? It’s hard to maintain all five. Any type of success requires sacrifice. I want you to think about which of the five you are most successful. Then, I want you to think about what you have sacrificed in the other four to achieve that success. This one can be a little depressing.

In a classic tweet in 2011, Randi Zuckerberg, older sister to Mark, perfectly summarized the struggle that each of us faces each day.

Randi uses the word ‘entrepreneur’ but I believe this is just as relevant to an executive and anyone else who is striving for high-level achievement.

The man who wants an active social life will make sacrifices at work, fitness, and sleep to achieve this goal. The woman who falls pregnant will make sacrifices at work and sleep to start a family.

Success requires sacrifice. Yet we want it all. How?


The executive who has achieved mental compartmentalisation has also simplified their life. They think about work only when they are at work; their focus is devoted to their family when they are at home.

Mental compartmentalization allows them to escape from their world into the quiet place in their mind — a place with no interrupting thoughts, of deep rest and uninterrupted sleep. This is their ‘nothing’ box, and Executive Athletes can access this space at will.


Those who mentally compartmentalize well are often deft spatial compartmentalisers as well. The executives who are best at this have a place reserved for everything. They have spaces for thoughts about work and thoughts about loved ones, spaces for intense concentration and for sleep.

They erect physical barriers to the time of the day/week and physical location. These barriers help delineate the boundaries between separate life compartments. This makes it possible to give each compartment the intense focus it deserves.

The executive must become very good at saying no and applying high levels of self-control.

I see my contemporaries get this wrong. They are on email on the golf course (the easiest way to ruin your game); they program clients at restaurants or scour social media when spending time with loved ones.

I disagree with Randi — you don’t have to just pick 3. You can be successful in all 5. What is takes is — focus.

Ignoring distractions allows you to believe that they most important person in the world is the person in front of you right now. This is vital when spending time with friends or family and managing sensitive negotiations at work.

It requires a commitment to be present in this moment without any interrupting thoughts. So important when trying to carve out time in your day to exercise or put down the phone and go to sleep.

What distracts us from the present is trying to pre-empt the future and overthinking its endless possibilities. When you redefine success as winning each and every individual moment, one domain at a time, you will achieve a new level of focus.

This is what is takes to have it all.