Ari Rastegar | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Ari Rastegar

Background:  

Rastegar Capital is a Dallas-based private investment firm that focuses on commercial real estate projects. While the firm invests around the world, about one-fifth of its portfolio is located in Houston, according to Ari Rastegar's blog.

The Mistake: 

My mistake was that I didn't realize how important my physical health and well-being was to my business.  

I woke up one morning, my wife and I had just started dating, and I got the worst pain I could imagine. There was a hospital six or seven blocks from the apartment and so I walked there. They did all these tests and I ended up having kidney stones.  

This doctor came in and said, "How are you taking care of yourself?"

My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, jumped in and said, "He eats steak every night and pizza for breakfast. He is out all night drinking and up at 7 in the morning for work..."  

The doctor asked what I did for a living and I went into my pitch, "I am a real estate investor—we invest for the long term."

And the doctor said, "You might not be around for the long term. Your investors will be, but you might not be." 

That was the lightbulb moment. I never looked back. Everything has been better since. 

Everything comes out of your health.

The Lesson: 

Treat your body as your most important asset. I now realize that the most important asset is me. Health for me, is vital, and it has allowed me to be so much more sufficientEverything comes out of your health.  

If you have all the money in the world, all the business success in the world and you have a year to live because of cancerwhat is your business worth then?  

Follow Ari Rastegar on Twitter at @arirastegar

Photo courtesy of Ari Rastegar.

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