What seeking a better health taught me about business and vice versa

Today I had a discussion with one of my clients about what seeking a better health taught me about business, and vice versa and I thought I would share this with you as this is all what #nextlevel is about : personal development and enriching some aspects of our lives from others.

First thing let me define what I mean by health. Health includes any sport, diet or wellbeing initiative having the objectives to increase our health and general wellness.

Now with that stated let’s dive straight in. I can summarise the learning in 2 words :

Discipline and Commitment

Let’s say you have a weight loss objective and you eat chocolate croissants every day, then you are very unlikely to reach your target. Well in business it is the same. If you have a professional target (at individual, team or business level) that you want to achieve and you procrastinate or always find other “priorities” – you are very unlikely to reach this target. So the bottom line is that we are very good at making excuses that derail us from the hard work (of any kind) and as a consequence from the desired objective. Let me repeat this so that it sinks in : WE ARE VERY GOOD AT MAKING EXCUSES… You know it, I know it, we know it.

  • For example at work we may spend loads of time in (necessary?) meetings that will keep us too busy to carve out thinking time and concentrate on an important topic or deliverable.
  • We may also have loads of “strategic” priorities that will prevent us to focus on an important but difficult project.
  • At home it is the same, we may procrastine and spend too much time on unnecessary or non-priority activities that will not allow us to stick to our exercise routine or healthy cooking / meal prep.

In other words we find excuses and/or make our self busy to avoid the big hard task(s). But let me tell you this : “No pain, no gain”. So if you really want to achieve that big goal you will have to work harder to reach it, make your self uncomfortable and step out of your comfort zone.

What worked for me at work and in terms of reaching my objectives were the following steps :

  1. Identify my excuses and write them. You will easily recognise them when they come up and be able to counterbalance them (thank you Elsa Jones for your no excuses blog post).
  2. Prioritise and plan. Define your big goals and break them into small and achievable steps. Prioritise them and especially make a plan for those to happen in your weekly schedule. Again by doing this exercise you will be able to remind yourself why you scheduled/prioritised this and why this is important for you, for your team or for your business.
  3. Look at the Outcome. The outcome will be the main driver to push hard for a project to happen. Even if difficult, the project outcomes are so huge that you’ll have to make it happen no matter what. Well for yourself it is the same : look at the long term target and not at the short term satisfaction of procrastinating (or of eating that chocolate croissant 😉)
  4. Check in with yourself, with your team or with a peer or in other words hold yourself / your team accountable for sticking to the plan and/or ask someone to hold you accountable.
  5. Communicate and highlight the progress : Small victories after small victories you will be one step closer to your target. You will set the example and build confidence.
  6. Last but not least : Be patient with yourself : adjust and readjust as it may take several iterations before you find the perfect path / schedule / work program etc. Continue to check in with yourself, with your peers or with your team. Review what’s working and what is not and adjust were needed. You have started the journey and you are on your way to making it – this is already an important achievement ! 

Which of the above do you find useful ? What are the key lessons that practicing sport regularly taught you and that benefited both your personal development and professional life ? Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Oh and don’t forget to enjoy the personal growth journey 😉

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