Written by Laura Begley Bloom, Senior Contributor, Forbes Women
Ronit Raphael—founder of global wellness brand L.RAPHAEL—knows a thing or two about success. Besides creating a pioneering company with spas at luxury hotels and resorts around the globe, not to mention a seven-story wellness headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland called the Temple of Beauty, Raphael works with ultra-high-net-worth clients to build private spas located at mansions, onboard luxury yachts and even on personal jets. So you could say that she has a front-row seat to power and success.
Part of the key to Raphael’s own success and one of the things that makes her so valuable to her billionaire clients, is her Seven Foundations—a lifestyle philosophy that she developed when she founded the L.RAPHAEL brand over 20 years ago. “Everything stems from these foundational practices,” Raphael says. “If you follow the Seven Foundations, your life will improve. You will feel more energized, more confident, more creative—all of this contributes to greater success and happiness.”
The turning point in Raphael’s life was when she was 18-years-old. While experiencing a slight case of acne, the teenager’s parents sent her to a dermatologist who proceeded to use a radical treatment that left her with second-degree burns and scars on her face. Raphael decided to take matters into her own hands, investigating ways to combat the damage. “It ruined my life and it took me years to heal,” says Raphael. “So I decided to study what happened to my skin and, in turn, started to help other people.”
This self-healing process led to a successful career as an aesthetician, and Raphael began opening spas across her native Israel. Eventually, this led to creating the Temple of Beauty, her Geneva-based headquarters, as well as L.RAPHAEL spas at hotels and resorts around the globe, including locations like the Four Seasons Hotel New York. In turn, the word got out, and Raphael started working with a number of private clients to create their own personal spas, which she and her team develop from the ground up and staff and service.
But Raphael says she never would have followed this path had it not been for her misfortune. “I was a little tomboy playing football, a dancer, a horse rider. Never in my life did I think I would go into the cosmetic industry—never,” says Raphael. “But maybe it was meant to be, that I would look at a different angle of the cosmetics and spa industry.”
Over the years, Raphael says she has discovered that “there is no magic pill or hidden secret—it’s about dedicating yourself to self-care and incorporating the Seven Foundations in your life consistently.”
Here are Ronit’s tips for incorporating these seven simple concepts into your life.
1. Stress Management: “In our world today, we are living in a marathon. We are running and stressed. We are all working and have a lot of responsibilities and endless tasks. But in this busy life, we must take a minimum of a 20-minute break for ourselves—every day,” says Raphael. “This is the secret of successful people, including the very busiest of them. They’ve learned that the trick to continue with their crazy busy lives is with mandatory ‘me time’ to maintain balance.”
What to do during those 20 minutes of me time? According to Raphael, the most important thing is to “disconnect, put the phone away and just be with yourself.”
“What helps you decompress?” asks Raphael. “Do more of whatever helps you relax and do it more often. Stretch. Do yoga. Try meditation as a way to relax anywhere and any time. But don’t stress yourself out trying to maintain a rigid daily mediation practice—just give yourself the gift of a couple of moments every day to be present, to breath, to look up at the sky.”
Raphael says that on the way back from taking her kids to school each morning, she listens to meditation apps. One of her favorites is Waking Up With Sam Harris. Another tip: “Listen to music or read a book—these can provide relaxing effects similar to yoga or meditation for some people.”
2. Physical Activity: Another key to success is physical exercise, but this doesn’t mean you need to spend an hour at the gym every day. Raphael advises that just seven minutes of exercise can make a difference. “What is seven minutes? If you think about that, that’s nothing,” she says. “Commit to daily home exercises for just seven minutes to charge the body, boost your circulation and heart rate and improve your health and fitness levels.”
Examples of seven-minute exercises include push-ups, stretches, squats, jump rope or jumping jacks. “Even if you're reading a long email or you're listening to something, you can do the seven minutes and it will pass so fast,” she says.
Besides the seven minutes, make a point to enjoy some kind of physical activity a few times a week. “This could be taking a walk with a friend or colleague or playing with your children,” says Raphael. “Use this time to practice gratitude for what your body can do. I try to fit in some form of cardio three times a week and yoga at least once a week—this level of activity helps me sleep well and feel energized.”
3. Nutrition: “It’s no mystery that good nutrition means better health, better sleep, more energy,” says Raphael. “So just do it. Eat more fruits and vegetables, stay away from processed foods, gluten and sugar, commit to a minimum of one to two meatless days a week—no chicken or red meat. You’ll appreciate the difference it makes.”
4. Aesthetics: “Commit to doing the things that make you look good and feel good about yourself. Practice good grooming, get regular treatments to keep you at your best,” says Raphael. “Feeling great about yourself radiates from within, improves your performance, boosts your confidence and energizes you for success.”
Given that Raphael runs spas around the world, it’s no surprise that she also encourages getting massages. “Invest in a massage treatment twice a month to calm the mind, decompress, release tension and realign the body,” she says. But it doesn’t need to be a $200 spa treatment. “In many cities, you can find places where you can sit in a chair and someone will rub your back for $15. And if you don't have that, teach your husband or your wife or your kids to do it.”
5. Play: “Downtime is critical for recharging your batteries, re-energizing your body and mind and it inspires creativity,” says Raphael. “Commit to time with your family and friends to laugh and enjoy the life you work so hard for. Put away the phone, immerse yourself in nature and enjoy being in the moment.”
Another tip: “Commit to doing something that brings you joy every day, even for just a couple of minutes,” says Raphael. “Take up a hobby or learn something new—both are enriching and will make a positive impact on your sense of happiness and well-being. You will be ten times more successful if you are happy.”
6. Age Management: “Nothing will stop you from aging, but you can manage the process to look your very best at any age. Looking and feeling your best gives you a boost of confidence—and that is a competitive edge,” says Raphael. “So take great care of your skin: It’s the body’s biggest organ. Make it a priority.”
Another basic tool: sleep. “Sleep will help with age management,” says Raphael. “I believe that people need at least six hours of sleep.” Raphael also emphasizes that “stress has a noticeable negative effect on the face and body. Learning to decompress and committing to doing whatever that is on a regular basis will positively contribute to your age management.”
7. Medical: “Getting regular check-ups and tests may seem obvious and basic but it’s also the most critical, and too often, the most postponed or neglected thing we can do to stay on top of our game,” says Raphael. “Without this fundamental component to keep your health in check, nothing else we do works as effectively.”
Raphael says this is an essential building block because it’s with regular check-ups and medical tests that people determine the body's needs and identify imbalances. “When needs, irregularities or deficiencies in the body are found, we can deploy other foundations such as diet, exercise and stress management to help bring the body back into a state of balance—and maintaining harmony and balance in the body and mind is the key to optimizing health and well-being,” says Raphael.
“Make taking care of yourself a priority,” says Raphael. “Health affects general mood, anxiety levels and vitality. And staying on top of your health is critical to having peace of mind, enjoying your life and achieving your goals.”