Is there a heart attack in your future? Unfortunately for many CEOs, the answer is yes. Fortunately, enough has been written about heart-attack warning signs that a likely candidate could change his or her behavior before it's too late. Consider these questions: Do you clench your fists during ordinary conversation? Do you become easily irritated or angry at relatively minor mistakes your family members, friends, employees, or complete strangers make? Do you find these mistakes difficult to overlook? Do you find yourself unwilling or unable to laugh at things your friends and associates laugh at? Are you overly proud of your ideas; do you enjoy telling your friends and/or associates about them? Do you have rigid opinions on just about everything which you angrily defend at the drop of a hat? Do you frequently find yourself thinking or saying that people can't be trusted or that everyone has a selfish angle or motive? Do you see everything as a contest and feel compelled to win? Do you find it difficult to compliment or congratulate other people with honest enthusiasm? These are warning signs for a person racing toward a heart attack. In their book Treating Type A Behavior and Your Heart, Dr. Meyer Friedman, M.D., and Diane Ulmer, R.N., suggest that if you answered "yes" to any three or more of the above, it's time for you to see your doctor. And tomorrow isn't too soon. Here's another opportunity to check your cardiac quotient: It's "The Glazer Stress Control, Life Style, Self-Evaluation Questionnaire," developed by Dr. Howard I. Glazer, director of behavior management systems at EHE Stresscontrol Systems, Inc. It lists twenty pairs of adjectives (or phrases) separated by a series of horizontal numbers from 1 through 7. The questionnaire explains that each of these pairs was chosen to represent two kinds of contrasting behavior and that each of us belongs somewhere along the line between the two extremes from 1 to 7. The questionnaire asks you to place yourself where you think you belong between the two extremes. Grade yourself from 1 to 7 on each of these pairs of contrasting behavior patterns. The questionnaire is listed completely in Friedman and Ulmer's book. Here are some sample questions: 1. Doesn't mind leaving things temporarily unfinished (or) Must get things finished once started.
2. Calm and unhurried about appointments (or) Never late for an appointment.
3. Not competitive (or) Highly competitive.
4. Listens well, lets others finish speaking (or) Anticipates others in conversation (nods, interrupts, finishes sentences for the other).
5. Never in a hurry, even under pressure (or) Always in a hurry.
6. Able to wait calmly (or) Uneasy when waiting.
7. Easygoing (or) Always going full speed ahead.
8. Takes one thing at a time (or) Tries to do more than one thing at a time, thinks about what to do next. 9. Slow and deliberate in speech (or) Vigorous and forceful in speech (uses lots of gestures).
10.Concerned with satisfying himself, not others (or) Wants recognition from others for a job well done.
SCORING: After answering all 20 questions, if you scored from 110 to 140, you are Type A/1. If you are over 40 and smoke, you are likely to have a high risk of developing cardiac illness. If you scored from 80 to 109, you are Type A/2. You are cardiac prone, but your risk is not as high as A/1. Nevertheless, pay careful attention to advice given to A/1s. If you scored from 60 to 79, you are type AB. This is a healthier pattern than A/1 or A/2 but you have the potential for slipping into Type A behavior and you should be aware of this. If you scored from 30 to 59, you are Type B/2. You are less cardiac prone. You are generally relaxed and cope well with stress. If you scored 9 to 29, you are Type B/1. You tend to have extremely low risk traits. Your behavior expresses few of the reactions associated with cardiac disease. But, in my nonprofessional opinion, there is the possibility you may already be dead.