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Steve Jobs' former executive assistant on 'a big misconception' about Jobs as a leader

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivers a keynote address at the 2005 Macworld Expo.
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Naz Beheshti is an executive wellness coach, speaker and author, who first started her career as an executive assistant to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1999, Beheshti worked for Jobs for one year before leaving to work for tech startup BlueArc and eventually transitioning to a career in sales. In 2012, Beheshti left sales to launch her own corporate wellness company Prananaz, which she credits Jobs for inspiring her to do.

"There has been a big misconception about him that he was a workaholic and that he was really tough to work with," Beheshti tells CNBC Make It. "Yes, in some cases he was." But, in the midst of being a tough boss, Beheshti says Jobs, who died in 2011, made it a point to "prioritize his wellbeing," which gave him the "energy and the clarity and the vision to sustain his success and build Apple."

Executive wellness coach Naz Beheshti.
Photo credit: Naz Beheshti

For example, Beheshti says not only did Jobs "eat really healthy," but he also "meditated daily, he had regular physical activity like exercise several times a week and he maintained strong relationships."

Jobs was known for experimenting with health and eating habits some experts consider controversial and potentially unhealthy, including a "fruitarian" diet as well as fasting for periods of time, according to Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs.

Watching Jobs take what she calls a "holistic approach to his well-being" is what Beheshti says led her to Prananaz. The launch of Prananaz, Beheshti explains, came after she reached a level of burnout in her own career and realized that it was impossible for her to be productive if she didn't stop to take care of herself.

Most people "don't consider the holistic aspect of being well in all areas of your life," she says. "It's a total well-being of your mind, body and spirit, rather than just fitness or nutrition." Beheshti admits that when she first started working for Jobs she was "not health conscious at all." Occasionally, she says, she did yoga, but it wasn't a habit that she practiced every day.

"[Jobs] taught me by example that you need to really work on all," when it comes to your health and wellness, "rather than just working on one aspect of your life," Beheshti says.

In her recently released book, "Pause. Breathe. Choose: Become the CEO of Your Well-Being," Beheshti writes that it was Jobs who showed her how "happiness and well-being" are "intricately connected" to a person's success.

"He was the first person who showed me, up close and personally, what it meant to be the CEO of your well-being as well as the chief executive of a company," she writes. "He truly embodied both."

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