Mental & Physical Fitness to be a Better Professional (Part:1)


To be a better professional, to progress continuously, what should we do? All we know this answer. We should do courses, do extra work, study a lot over internet, attending conferences and so on. But often, not often, always, we ignore one very much important factor. And that is fitness. By fitness, I refer to both mental and physical fitness. We never see slogans like do weightlifting to be a better project manager or do breathing exercise to be a better software developer etc but it should be. Yes, some of us are aware of the importance of physical fitness, but mental fitness is always hugely neglected, even more, many a time, we do not know what “mental fitness” denotes. If you care to notice, I put mental fitness before physical fitness.

Benchmarks of Fitness
We have some idea about physical fitness, something like men with 6 (six) Pecs and big biceps are fit and men with big belly are unfit. This may not necessarily be entirely true but up to many extents, this is not wrong.

But in real world, it may not be possible for you to achieve big shoulders with diamond shaped calves and achieving that may be one of the sweetest and proudest things on the earth but this is not a precondition for being successful in corporate world. To be successful in corporate world, “normal” level of physical fitness is enough. Now what does this “normal” level mean?

1. Immune Capability: You don’t feel sick easily. Of course, every human being has to fall ill sometimes, but if every season change makes you take bed rest for one week, then you are not fit.
2. Pain: You should not be enslaved by various pains like back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, migraine etc. You should be able to move your limbs and bones as normal as a human being is supposed to. You should find it easy and smooth to do your daily activities like climbing stairs, sitting on chair, standing for hours, walking for hours etc. And if you have chronic pain like lower back pain, then you need to keep it under absolute control through proper medicine and exercise. In a word, whatever pain you have, keep it under control.
3. Digestion: You should have enough digestion ability. If you need to take pills for gastric and to digest your food very often, then you are not a fit person.
4. Sleep: You should be able to get good sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or if you need to take pills for good sleep, then you are not fit.
5. Long-term disease: If you have any chronic or long-term diseases like high blood pressure, high sugar, heart problems etc, then your these diseases should be under complete control and your these diseases should not be able to affect your daily business. Like if you have high cholesterol problem, then you must follow the proper diet and do regular exercises and take proper medicine to bring it under safe border and not let it to create blocks on your heart vessels.
6. Exercise: You must be able to do normal exercises like 60 minutes fast walk, playing cricket or swimming etc.
7. Controlled Weight: Your weight should be under complete control, your waist circumference should be ok. A slim and lean body do not only look attractive but also this a great indicator of your overall fitness.
8. Energy Level: By energy, I am not talking about energy required to run 20 miles. I am talking about energy required for day to day life. People usually feel weak and tired at work place. If you do not feel energetic and fresh, at least not weak and not gloomy, then you are not fit. When you come to office, and when you leave office, and the time span in between these two, if you feel weak and gloomy, you can’t produce great result even if you want to and even if you are capable of doing so.
9. Sex Life: You should be able to enjoy a normal and enjoyable sex life without medicines. If you are a guy, then this is far more important for you than girls. For various reasons, in today’s world, men are hugely suffering from various sexual weaknesses. Performance on bed hugely affects your overall confidence as well as overall performance of every sector of your life including your career.
10. Confidence: You must feel confident. If you find yourself having less confidence to express yourself to your boss or team, presenting your ideas, handling the pressure or etc, then you are not fit and you must get rid of it as best as you can. You should get psychotherapy or counseling or whatever you need. You need to feel confident at your workplace.

So, I have mentioned some points that are crucial for the fitness of a person. If you can remember more points to add, please let me know, I will add in the next column.

To be continued at part 2
(This Same Article will be found in My linkedin profile)

Arafat Ibn Sultan Riyadh is a seasoned product and project management professional and an agile coach. Moreover, he is a career counselor and motivational speaker. He is currently serving as the Software Project Manager at Augmedix. He is the cofounder and Strategic Consultant at NWIT Ltd and Strategic Consultant at Activation Ltd. He can be reached at

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Get Ready For Glorious Jobs While Doing Ordinary Work


“I cannot develop myself because I am doing a boring job!” one of the most common complaints I get from numerous participants of various seminars. Everyone wants to do a job by doing what s/he can develop himself every day. I wish if it was that simple! You want to be a project manager doing a million dollar project by leading 50 people but in reality, you are a junior business associate who mainly compiles reports, so how can you develop yourself and make yourself prepare for the job you dream of? If this is your problem then do not worry, almost every professional out there has faced or is still facing it. I am going to provide you with some suggestions to overcome this development barrier.

Myth about dream job

I really disgust idealistic quotes about this non-ideal corporate world. “Do your dream job” sounds something like dream jobs are available on super shops; you go there and pick one. And most of the times no matter what motivational speakers tell you; this is very challenging to find your true passion. And especially, in a country like Bangladesh where 47% graduates are unemployed. If you are not lucky, it will take much time and effort to get your dream job (assuming you know what your dream job is). And many a time after getting your long cherished dream job, you may find yourself doing ordinary routine work which does not help you to develop continuously.

Suppose, your dream is to be enterprise software developer and you dream of working on large scale automation. But on your present job you are doing some basic HTML, CSS and the opportunity of doing more sophisticated tasks is limited. In such case what should you do? How can you ensure you are preparing yourself for the bigger glory in upcoming days?

Some of us can manage to get dream job that ensures their continuous development. If you are one those lucky one, you do not need to read this article. Just do your job properly. Otherwise, go through the rest of this article.

Step 1: Self-study

Do extensive self-study. Suppose, you want to be a project manager but unless you are a real project manager and you manage real projects, you cannot mitigate your gaps. But what you can do is to minimize the gap. Suppose, you want to be a developer but right now you are doing some reporting tasks. No problem, start self-learning. In this age of internet, you can learn anything if you want. Watch video tutorials, read eBooks, do sample projects, gather information, participate in online competition and so on.

During my student life, I first decided to build my career as a project management professional, at that moment I did not know where to do outside projects. But I knew I could read and started reading. I read many books on project management, people management, agile software development and so on. I used to see YouTube videos on these topics. Of course, bookish knowledge cannot replace practical experience but it is much better than getting disappointment because I am not getting my desired job! And profound theoretical knowledge will surely give you many advantages.

Step 2: Take Coaching

Self-learning may be enough for learning anything. But still, I recommend doing some extra courses if possible. You can do such courses on the internet too. These courses will help you to learn in an organized manner. Surely learning will depend on self-learning mainly and what the instructors say is not always right but these courses will be beneficial for you to determine the effective way of learning. And also, as you want to be something other which you are not right now, these relevant courses on your resume will express your passion to your potential employers.

I have seen many successful IT professionals who are from non-IT background. They do courses from various institutes. Taking coaching is not mandatory but it is worth a shot. Such courses can be a good source of networking too.

Step 3: Do related projects

Suppose, you are a QA professional but you want to switch your career to UI designer. In addition to learning by your own and doing courses, you should try to gain some first-hand experience beforehand. If possible, do some additional tasks at your present office like helping the UI team in various capabilities. If this is not possible, do some outside projects. Do not focus on how much money you are earning from those outside projects; focus on how much you can learn.

Same suggestion goes for other jobs too. What you want to do, do it, if possible do it as an additional responsibility at your current job or do it outside. It will certainly give you a definite edge. I know a friend who was an electrical engineer but wanted to be a UI designer, he used to do this at his company as a volunteer and also he used to do a lot of outside projects. Today he is a successful UI designer.

Step 4: Create network

Suppose, you are a sales executive but you want to make a career in product branding. Now there are various groups on almost all work discipline on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be a member of those groups, participate or create discussions, try to create a professional rapport with personal touch with other members of those groups. You should participate in various seminars on product branding. These seminars will provide you with opportunities to create network. Networking can help you a lot in career transition.

Do not invest too much on creating rapport. Be careful so that your enthusiasm and interest will not bother others.


Getting your dream job and succeeding at it is a continuous process. Do not work hard only, work smartly too. You will reach there.


Arafat Ibn Sultan Riyadh is a seasoned product and project management professional and an agile coach. Moreover, he is a career counselor and motivational speaker. He is currently serving as the Product Manager at Ltd. He is cofounder and Strategic Consultant NWIT and Strategic Consultant Activation Ltd. He can be reached at

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