Imagine two people starting identical companies with the exact same resources, network, and time at their disposal (gender randomly assigned for brevity’s sake):
Both of these people are me.
I quit my job at Google two months ago to pursue my passion as an author, speaker and coach, and during my first month of solopreneurship I was Person #1.
I wasn’t running my business, my business was running me. And as 100% of the company, the opportunity costs of operating at half-mast were extremely high.
I knew I had hit a low when I ordered Panda Express and a King-Size Snickers bar on my way home from the airport after a speaking engagement in June. I felt lethargic, unhappy and mad at myself. Where was my discipline and self-respect when I was wanting it most? So I resolved to make a change.
Within three weeks, I became Person #2 — and it didn’t cost a cent. It didn’t have anything to do with sales, marketing, productivity or inbox management. It had to do with me.
I resolved to put my health first.
I started a three-week cleanse where I completely eliminated caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol, wheat, dairy and red meat from my diet. I committed to going for a 20-minute run first thing in the morning, which is just short enough to be manageable — it’s hard to make the excuse that you don’t have time to run 10 minutes out the front door and 10 minutes back. Finally, I bought an unlimited yoga pass and committed to going a minimum of two times a week; it was so rejuvenating that I ended up going closer to 4-5 times per week.
During the first three days, I had complete monkey-mind — craving coffee, sugar and TV like the addict I was — unable to focus because I was thinking about them every five minutes. But on the fourth day and every day thereafter, I started noticing something incredible.
I felt clear-headed. Creative. Confident. Energized. Productive. HAPPY.
I was getting more done in one week than I had completed in one month. I was no longer experiencing crazy mood swings or unproductive days. I started sleeping like a rock. I was in a great mood, glowing and energetic at conferences and razor sharp during my coaching and speaking engagements. I was on a roll and I stayed there.
I used to scoff at the countless magazines that preach healthy eating and exercise — get over yourself! Until I experienced, firsthand, the insanely powerful impact it had on my business’s bottom line (not to mention my actual bottom, which now fits nicely back into my best jeans).
How to grow your business, a big goal, or improve your life by putting your body first:
You don’t have to do a crazy cleanse like I did (though I highly recommend Dr. Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program if you are interested); see what experiments you can run in your own life that work for YOU.
Now that I’m in maintenance mode I’m adding some coffee back in (can’t skip those deliciously foamy lattes forever!) and one cheat day per week, borrowing from Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet. I’ve lost almost 15 pounds without even trying — a very welcome side effect of eating in a way that facilitates my best work.
Other books that you might find helpful and motivating:
Just as a business has start-up costs, so does making major health and lifestyle changes. The first few days might feel agonizingly difficult, but the rewards on the other side are absolutely worth it.
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