Your own body: An entrepreneur's most valuable asset

Incorrectly valuing assets--that's basically what this financial collapse comes down to. All the stuff we thought we had--our houses, mortgages, and all the wacky financial derivatives we layered on top of them--turned out to not be worth that much.

Now that prices have fallen off a cliff, investors are out searching for undervalued assets. There's one asset out there that few people are talking about that is severely undervalued in a bad economy--and its the one thing that has the most potential to get you through 2009 in one piece.

Your body.

It's actually the only asset we ever truly own. Our ownership of most of our other stuff is pretty tenuous--and often highly leveraged, making it a missed payment away from being taken away. Your body, on the other hand, is always yours. In fact, the government even prevents you from selling it.

It is the physical instrument by which we carry out everything that flows through our various digital lifestreams--it is the source of the lifestreams.

This really hit home for me when I found out that a friend of mine and fellow entrepreneur, Tim Marman, told me that he has cancer--fortunately a highly curable form, but still... It made me realize how much I have invested in and depend on my body to carry me through the day--and how much my employees and investors are riding on it, too.

That's why, if there's any one thing I think we need to focus more on over the next year--it's taking care of our physical selves. We're going to need those few extra minutes of lucid thinking a day and that extra spring in our step when we're trying to make a flight to a customer. We can't afford extra sick days, financially and just in terms of meeting ever increasing professional expectations.

Does that mean we all need to run a five minute mile? No, but how about trying to break a 10 minute mile...or just get out and walk a mile?  Unplug and treat your lungs to some fresh air--and maybe have a new idea or two while you're away from the screen.

Additionally, I'm stunned to see anyone--let alone relatively smart people who should know better--smoke nowadays.  To me, taking investor money from people who invested in you and smoking is like taking their money to buy a server and just kicking it once a day...maybe after lunch.  You are an asset just as much as the machines are--and there are much more effective ways of destressing that don't make you smell like you've been eating matches all day. 

For those of you who think that self abuse is part of the deal--no sleep and Ramen make startup happy--start reassessing not only whether or not this is truly sustainable--but how, in ways you might not realize, you're actually doing more harm to your startup than good.  Fuzzy thinking, bad first impressions, missed appointments--when you act like you are duct taped together, then your company appears duct taped together and, not surprisingly, duct tape will be the only think you can afford.

So before you get freaked out over competitor on TechCrunch or writing a marketing plan for the first time in your life, start with priority one--your physical self... and move outward from there.  Look at yourself in the mirror.  Forget about whether your nose is too big or you're losing your hair--just assess whether or not you look well taken care of.  Are you putting as much care into yourself as you are into server optimization?  Sleep well, eat right, exercise, and then try to change the world with AJAX and APIs--don't put the cart before the horse.  

What's one thing that you can do over the next year to optimize your own physical self?