Running a business is a lot like doing exercise and staying healthy. You have to focus on the core actions or things start to go wrong pretty quickly!
So I have to confess – I kinda hate exercise. But I really don’t like being overweight and unfit.
Ok, you may be thinking, how has this got anything to do with business!? Stick with me, it will all make sense in a minute.
Exercise is like Business:
Back in May and June 2018 I hurt myself in a few places in quick succession. First I damaged the tendon in my right foot, followed soon after by a ligament in my left ankle (long term injury re-injured) and then the tendons in both thumbs. I went from doing 3 calisthenics sessions, 2 sessions of Krav Maga and trail walking 30 to 40km a week to doing virtually nothing pretty quickly.
Walking was very painful and I couldn’t use my hands properly. Not even to open a jar.
I stopped most of my exercise and trail walking but I did carry on eating fairly healthily as my standard diet is pretty good normally. I wasn’t “able” to exercise but I thought I was doing ok.
But slowly over the months I began to put on weight and get steadily more unfit. Other aches and pains started to crop up and I was feeling my age! Then an old back problem came back and things became a real pain.
But I made do and I got by – with a bit of complaining. But it wasn’t too bad.
So why all the blah blah about my sad tale?
Because improving your fitness and health is like being in business. If you don’t pay attention to the core stuff you will steadily get into bad shape in your business too.
Without the right systems and focus the small core things become big problems. It creeps up on you, getting worse and worse until its crisis time.
So the back end of 2018 the small stuff all added up to a real problem. I asked myself a question the great Jim Rohn asked years ago. “How many pounds overweight is it ok to be at your age”. My answer was, “Not a single pound”! And I wanted to be fit again.
So I went back to basics and used a business process I teach clients to help get me back on track.
The core of the process:
- Make Decision One – this is a decision point I emphasis with business clients. It is that first decision to do something and if it is in alignment with your purpose and targets then it brings about a change in thinking. All else flows from that point – other decisions are made in a decision flow process and become obvious. It makes sense what comes next and why. In the case of exercise there is no need to decide each day what you will do. You already know.
- Have Accountability – being accountable is a great way to stick to task. What I am doing with my new plan has been communicated to those close to me. I don’t like letting them down as I like to set a good example so stubbornly keep at it even when I have no motivation. You don’t need motivation when you are truly accountable. It just has to be done.
- Develop a Program/Process – From Decision One all else flows so creating a process and program makes sense. Figure out what you need to do and exactly when to do it and then use the accountability to stick to it. For me each week the exercise steps up a little and I have given myself food options so it’s not boring. Boring is a killer in business too so build in a few variables and some fun time into your business. Design it in and it becomes natural.
- Build the right Mindset – I am training my mind to like exercise. We have control of our minds so we can alter our thinking with the right focus. Just like in business, by making everything a straightforward process means it takes less mental energy to get started and do the work. It becomes easier to reframe how we feel about it. We learn to do what is needed with less negative thinking. The way I look at it is that we are here to Thrive in life and business so we should at least enjoy the journey.
So at the beginning of 2019 I put in place a new exercise plan, updated my food plan and got started steadily. I began to build up strength in my ankle and foot and get mobility back in my thumbs.
And after 2 weeks of hard work and effort…… I got hit by a bug. I was in bed for nearly 2 weeks and just functioning for another 2. The 2 after that were hard and just doing life was tiring.
I was thrown and demoralised. I had lost all my drive. But I had a choice, give up or start again. I thought about leaving it a month or two and it appealed to me. But I didn’t like how that would make me feel as time passed.
So I went back to my Why, revisited my Decision One and got my act together. I got started on the basics again.
It was hard to start but time passes and I wasn’t going to let it pass me by like it had in 2018. Now I am training Calisthenics 5 times a week and doing 3 short runs a week on the Couch to 5Km program – with a view to doing 2 x 5km light jogs a week when I am fit. Krav Maga will have to wait until my thumbs and ankle are fully recovered. I have started doing a long trail walk a week too.
What about Business:
For me business is like exercise. We need to have a purpose, a clear direction, plans and processes, accountability, a positive mindset and we need to focus on the core activities. It is the core stuff that make the difference in the end.
If you are struggling in business then step back and take stock. Revisit your Why, look to your plans, get accountable and build your mental strength.
Business can be tough but with the right processes in place it stops being hard and becomes enjoyable!
Have a great day.
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Originally published on angusmaclennan.com