Off hours: Health is wealth for former Deyaar chief Markus Giebel

Markus Giebel is the chief executive and founder of the Eternity Medicine Institute in Dubai, a global organisation practising preventive and predictive health care. Mr Giebel became a prominent figure in the Middle East as the chief executive of Dubai’s Deyaar Development. The 48-year-old has lived in the UAE for eight years.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

Fitting in some work on the weekend is actually quality time well spent because I can work on things I normally don’t have time for. I limit what I do at home though, and try to be productive in the short time spent without interruptions. Because health and fitness are an important part of our life as a family, athletic activities usually factor into our weekend plan. When most people are planning on brunch, I think there is no good excuse to not take care of your exercise routine, especially when you have the whole weekend, but there can be time enough for everything if you allow it. Dubai offers incredible sporting facilities. We are an active family, so swimming, tennis and other activities that give us the opportunity to get together with friends are great fun. I also love great food, so Thursday evening dinner with friends is great and as we all can sleep a little longer on Friday.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobby?

Skiing and surfing definitely take the top spot. I love to push myself and the adrenalin thrill is definitely a passion, although not as frequent as I would like. As a student, I had more than 50 skiing and surfing days per year. Nowadays this number is more like five days.

What can’t you live without?

Excluding life’s necessities of course, the single most important thing I don’t want to live without is my health. As the proverb goes, when you are healthy you have many wishes, when you are sick you have only one. In my business I meet so many people who wish they could turn back the clock. With good health and fitness you have energy for life. Looking after my health and that of my family means that we have a vitality that allows us to get the most we can out of life.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

The secret I realised is to become a “chosen” leader. I wanted to become the kind of leader that people would automatically want to follow regardless of title or designation. I guess you could describe my management style definitely as “lead from the front”. I have never been afraid of hard work, I like to work smart, too. I am personally highly motivated. When I believe in something I am passionate about it – it automatically translates to everyone around me in the workplace. I try to inspire others and to being highly active and results orientated.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Make sure you have two to three times the funding you think you require; if you don’t have it, find a way to get it. Test your business model perfectly. Talent is absolutely invaluable, so assemble the best team. Don’t give up. Don’t let fear get in the way of a good idea, however small.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

We normally always tend to drift to a more work-driven time management, and catch up with the life part when the unbalance sinks in. Therefore, life balance is very often triggered by unbalance.

How do you relax after the working day?

A good workout always smooths out the edges and helps to clear my mind. I definitely look forward to dinner with the family and it’s often frenetic with conversation; we talk about our day and then I am energised again. A few laps in the swimming pool is really good if I want to be both relaxed and refreshed at the same time. The occasional shisha with friends and good conversation all work for me and are wonderful relaxing strategies.

If you weren’t running this company what else would you be doing and why?

I would be the chief executive of another company. I have a real passion for business. It’s something that I discovered very early on in my career, and I have found it easy to create strategies and build things. I take great personal pride in my achievements and still want to do more. It’s also a personal passion of mine to develop business and to mentor people; I love to work with people who are also inspirational and mentoring is extremely rewarding.

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