Tag Archives: fitness

Fit to be an Entrepreneur

When I started my business in 1986 I was always on the look out for the secret to success. I don't remember who it was but somebody told me the key was to “stay in the game.” The person meant you should have enough money to last through the start up phase, but in the 26 years since I have found that staying in the game requires more than money. It requires being fit. Just like in the military, an entrepreneur must be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. I call this the Three Pillars of Fitness.

Fit to Be an Entrepreneur - 3 Pillars of Fitness

Think of it this way: if you are mentally and physically fit you are standing on two legs. That works fine during normal times, but if life gets very turbulent you will get knocked down. A two-legged structure is inherently unstable. Now think about a tripod. Once its three legs are properly spread it is extremely difficult to push it over. The platform supported by the legs may on occasion not be quite level, but its three legs are the utmost in stability. The same is true for us. Click on each heading for more about each leg.

Physical Fitness

As service members, we had to periodically pass a physical readiness test so staying physically fit was a part of our job. It may seem that once we are out of the military we need not worry about this anymore. But stamina is a crucial aspect of being successful in business. While we may not be going on long hikes or wearing body armor to do our work, we will be working long hours. Proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep are the keys.

I recommend having a fitness program to keep on track. I use The President’s Challenge, which is the latest program from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. If you are interested in joining my Three Pillars of Fitness group let me know. One of the benefits of the group is I will pay for the medals you earn.

Mental Fitness

Business is mentally and emotionally demanding. You will deal with a lot of new issues and challenges. Failure will become part of your everyday existence. But just like physical training gives us greater stamina, so too can we train for the mental rigors of entrepreneurship. When I was ten years old I started reading biographies of famous, successful people and I have continued to do so for over four decades. There are many fantastic motivational trainers such as Zig Ziglar and sales trainers such as Tommy Hopkins. Over twenty years ago at Tommy’s Boot Camp I learned one of his mantras that I developed as follows: I never see failure as failure, but as the information I need to go on to succeed.

Mental fitness requires that we continually seek out the information we need to achieve success. We must challenge our assumptions. Remember, the definition of insanity is to repeatedly try the same thing while expecting a different result. A friend of mine recently introduced me to Michael Hyatt and I have found his ideas to be very stimulating. The good news it that there are numerous resources, including podcasts and recorded books many of which are free, on the Internet to help us get and stay mentally fit.

Spiritual Fitness

When our physical stamina is running low and our mental toughness has taken its twenty-fifth hit that day, nothing will get us through except our spirit. For some of us we will look to religion, having faith that G-d will show us the way through. Others will use meditation or other physical techniques that have a profound impact on the spirit. Still, others will grab their iPods and plug into music that recharges their souls. My point is not to suggest that you must use any particular method, only that like with physical and mental fitness, you train your spirit for the demands of entrepreneurship. Just like we have to work out at least three times a week to stay in shape, we have to have a regular plan to exercise our spirits.

I will return to this topic periodically, expanding on a particular pillar and giving resources for its development. In the meantime let me know if you found this subject valuable and what your thoughts are about it.

The 3 To-Dos that Guarantee Daily Success

3 minutes to read

Success means different things to different people. Therein lies its challenge. Unlimited possibilities make choosing difficult. What if you settle on the wrong definition of success? Years will be wasted pursuing the wrong option. Fortunately certain basic elements to a successful life will help you narrow the alternatives while propelling you toward your objective.

The 3 To-Dos that Guarantee Daily Success

Daily Action

Even if success for you means winning the lottery, it won’t happen useless you take consistent action. You’ll have to find lotteries to play, buy tickets, and check results. But assuming your plan relies on a more assured path to success, daily action is even more crucial.

Hard work directed to achieving your goals is the only route to success. If you want to spend your days lounging on the beach you’re going to need to amass enough wealth to do so or work daily on suppressing your desires. Artists must consistently pursue their art. Entrepreneurs must constantly be serving their clients.

Energy and Focus Are Key

Sustainable performance requires stamina. Dissipate your energy pursuing things that don’t lead to success and you’ll have nothing left for the to-dos that count. So before you do anything else you have to decide what you want. Without a target to focus on you’ll get lost.

Once you know where you’re going, you have to have the gas to get you there. Continuous performance must be supported with physical, mental, and spiritual energy. Run short of any of these and your journey will end.

The 3 Essential To-Dos

Creating a routine is the best route to consistent behavior. The power of habit requires a lower expenditure of energy, leaving you more to deal with the creative challenges you’ll face striving for your goals. Make these three tasks part of your daily regimen:

  1. Plan your day the night before. Write down your to-dos with your goals in front of you. This helps to insure your work is meaningful. The benefits of planning the night before are:
    • Knowing what tasks you face the next day allows your brain to work on them while you sleep;
    • You won’t waste time in the morning figuring out what needs to be done;
    • There’s less of a chance you’ll get distracted by a tempting diversion that isn’t going to get you to your goals.
  2. Recharge you mental and spiritual batteries before taking on the challenges of the day. Such prayer has three aspects:
    • Express gratitude for what you have in your life. Family, friends, rewards received, and trials to overcome, all should inspire thankfulness.
    • Affirm the person you seek to become. Identify the one or two qualities obstructing your success. Find or create a declaration to instill them in yourself. For example, if you lack self-assurance, proclaim you are confident and why.
    • Reiterate your commitment to the G-d. Nobody achieves success alone. By stating your desire for a relationship you align yourself with the infinite power of the universe.
  3. Counterintuitively, exercise increases your energy level. In or out of the gym, moderate or heavy, get your body moving. Outdoors you can enjoy fresh air (even in Los Angeles). Work out at least 20 minutes in addition to warming up and cooling down.

Whether you aspire to world-class achievements or have your eye on more modest success, make these three to-dos part of your daily routine. The focus and energy they give you will propel you forward like nothing else.

What daily to-dos drive you to success? Please comment below.

How to Live a Balanced Life – Really

I am a big fan of living a balanced life. But what does this mean? Numerous articles and blog posts opine on balance but none describe what it looks like. Knowing it takes physical, mental, and spiritual resilience to achieve overall fitness, does that mean you should spend eight hours a day on each one? Or should time spent on each be apportioned evenly on a weekly or monthly basis?

Find the balance points in your life

Image from iStockPhoto.com

Achieving and maintaining fitness in the physical realm is going to take the bulk of your time. You need to sleep seven to eight hours a day. When you add eating, exercising, and working, this one realm consumes at least one-half of your life.

Having worked with service members and civilians struggling to attain balance, I am convinced time is only one factor. But because it is easily quantified, people default to it as the standard for measuring balance. But other factors influence whether the time you spend is appropriate within the context of competing priorities that support a balanced life.

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Here are some balance points to consider:

  1. Stage of Life. Creating a primary relationship requires more time creating than maintaining it. Young children need more attention than adult ones do. Building a business or career typically consumes more time in the early years. How you define balance changes as your life progresses.
  2. Skill Level. Being adept at sustaining interpersonal relationships makes them less demanding than pursuing an objective, such as healthful lifestyle habits, at which you may be less proficient. Devoting more time to developing certain skills and habits is a long-term investment in life balance.
  3. Age and Degree of Maturity. Fashionable as it is to discount these factors, young people tend to need more time to sort through challenges and issues simply because they have less experience. Greater energy does not compensate. Gaining spiritual resilience challenges young service members far more so than their seniors. Many would gain greater life balance by devoting considerable time to strengthening their spirituality.
  4. Intensity. For some pursuits, the more vigorously you engage in them the less you need in conjunction with other tasks. It takes less time running than walking to maintain fitness. But beware of applying this to all things. Notions such as quality time, rather than quantity time, do not support bonded relationships.
  5. Essentialness. Balance requires accommodating those aspects of life crucial to your wellbeing and achievement of your goals. It is not unusual to convince yourself that certain task or interests are crucial when a more critical analysis would show them to be less important. Running a marathon may give you an enormous sense of accomplishment. But if you get enough exercise and your marriage is suffering, striving for life balance necessitates finding fulfillment by devoting time to improving your marriage rather than additional physical training.

Rather than measuring life balance as a function of time, think of it in terms of attaining goals reflective of resilience in the realms of physical, mental, and spiritual resilience. Click on each realm to get an idea of what constitutes fitness.

If you are making progress in all three, it is a fair bet your life is balanced.

What are the balance points in your life?

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Why You Need a Liver for Your Brain

Being married to a Registered Nurse exposes me to far more information about physiology than I ever want to know. Additionally, sitting through the Navy’s annual training on alcohol and drugs, I have become inordinately familiar with the liver’s function: Synthesizing proteins and storing glycogen, sure. But best known is its role in detoxification. (Children will be happy to know liver is not good for you.) Without this vital organ, seemingly benign lipophilic chemical compounds, let alone potentially harmful pharmaceuticals and liquor, would debilitate your body. No exaggeration, within months you would die.

Why You Need a Liver for Your Brain

Image from iStockPhoto.com

Axiomatic in the world of personal development is that you are better off having a positive attitude than a negative one. Put simply, you improve your relationships and chances of success by filling your mind with life affirming, upbeat material. While I have not seen any studies to back this up, I have never met a pessimist with a long and happy marriage or who built a successful business.

Contemporary culture’s pernicious effect on you is so pervasive yet subtle you may not realize its impact. But while your liver can process toxins you put in your body, no such filter exists for your brain or soul. You need to intentionally create one.

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I remember many years ago when profanity was a regular part of my speech.  I was unconscious of how, unbeknownst to me, it increased my negative perception of events. Something bad would happen and instead of it being a challenge it was a f*****g mess. The yearlong process of purging expletives from my vocabulary also moderated the unwarranted pessimism with which I viewed situations.

Here is a simple process for creating a liver for your brain:

  1. Identify the mental and spiritual toxins violating your mind and soul. These may come from television, music, groups to which you belong, or people with whom you associate.
  2. List them in order of impact: Least harmful to worst. It does not need to be scientific. Your opinion is all that counts.
  3. Create a strategy for filtering the least harmful one. The most benign one should be easiest to filter out so start there and give yourself the best chance for a victory.
  4. Proceed to the next least harmful. Once your first filter has worked take on each one on your list, modifying your filter as necessary.

Make your filter as simple to implement as possible. In the case of changing my language, I picked alternative words to use in place of swear words. To this day I still say jerk, gosh, and bloody (If I move to England I will have to give the last one up.)

Leading an optimistic, self-affirming life takes more than reading positive aphorisms. By creating a liver for your brain you purge toxins that can kill you mentally and spiritually. Take action on this today – and start living a holistically healthy life now.

What mental or spiritual toxin has the worst impact on you

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Secret to Lifelong Fitness – For Men and Women

Imagine a group of sailors standing on one foot who reached over and gave the person next to them a nudge. Trust me it was funny since most of them fell down. Exercise number 2: the same group of sailors standing on their two feet and they gave the person next to them a push on the back. Not as many fell but they laughed. Last one: they got in a three-point stance. Despite some good shoves, nobody fell down.

Why the workout? To demonstrate that only a three-legged structure is inherently stable. Consider a four-legged chair. No matter how carefully the legs are measured they will not be the same length so it will rest on three and rock on the fourth. The same is true for five or more. This is the model for your fitness. There are three aspects: physical ∞ mental ∞ spiritual.

Aside from physical steadiness, our mental conception of the world is three-based:

  • In geometry, we learn that two lines cannot define a space. It takes a minimum of three.
  • We live in a three-dimensional world of length, breadth, and height thus a cube is a manifestation of three.
  • Time has three aspects: Past, present, and future.
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In the spiritual realm three has profound significance:

  • The blessing of the Jewish Temple priests has three parts: May G-d bless you and safeguard you, may G-d illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you, may G-d turn His countenance to you and establish peace for you. The societal bedrock of marriage is the joining of a man, a woman, and G-d
  • Buddhism’s foundational elements are known as the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Darma (teachings), and the Sangha (community). One “takes refuge in the triple gem” when committing to the Buddhist path.
  • Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, also described as Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara, are the three gods of the Hindu Triad, personifying the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction.
  • Christianity affirms the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • There are three levels of faith in Islam: Islam, Iman, and I'hsan.

Thus the power of three is manifest in our world. Living intentionally by working within the triadic concept of the Three Pillars of Fitness aligns you with this potent force.

Question: Where else do you see three at work in physical, mental, and spiritual matters?

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