Here at Renegades we are constantly trying to show more and more business owners that there is more to life than the daily grind of self-employment. We are working hard behind the scenes to develop a stepped process that will allow business owners, regardless of where they are on their journey a system that if followed will lead to success in their business and personal lives.
Over the next 2 months I want to share a section of that process and here’s the first part for you.
Health and Wellbeing and being healthy on the inside and the outside is a huge part of being able to meet the demands of entrepreneurship when its coupled with a family or private life.
It doesn’t matter how you look at this.
You can have the best business in the world, plenty of money in the bank but if you don’t have your health and you’re not happy then quite frankly it’s all wasted on you.
Your physical and mental health is priceless and a great friend of mine always quotes, “health is wealth”, and he’s spot on.
Likewise, your general state of wellness and happiness has a huge bearing on your quality of life. You can’t or shouldn’t spend the rest of your life doing a job or running a business that fills your wallet but empties your soul.
What does being healthy on the inside and the outside mean to me?
Clarity of thought
A spring in the step
A smile on my face
Readiness to face all challenges and seize any opportunities
How do I make sure I tick all of those boxes? Let me explain what works for me.
One of the secrets that I know has had great results with me regarding my health and wellbeing has been the instilling and following of good, positive routines which allows me to be healthy on the inside and out.
When my life is good, and I am at my best. I’m in a certain groove and following a good, positive routine.
When life is bad, when I feel overwhelmed or down, when I lack energy and clarity you can guarantee I’m not in that grove and something has slipped, or I’m in a bad daily routine.
Routines make things work and keep people alive!!
Do what works for you – There is no right or wrong
For those who don’t know, I spent nearly 8 years in the Armed Forces in the UK, and this is why the Armed Forces and the Royal Navy in my case run everything by routine. People laugh at me when I say my time in the Forces was like being in prison but without the loss of liberty. That’s because everything, even minutia is run by routine. Obviously, this is so that everyone knows, where everyone should be and what they should be doing and who they should be doing it with at every point during any given day. You know when to eat, when to exercise, when to work, when to play, you know everything, every day. Same as prison, when to sleep, when to wake, when to wash, when to eat, when to exercise, when to get yard time, when to go back in, when to return to your cell and so it goes on. It avoids chaos reigning.
One of my old Charge Chief’s on HMS Gloucester used to spout, “fit in body, fit in mind” all the time and he was renowned for his health and especially his fitness. He had run the Field Gun in the Royal Tournament the maximum allowed 3 times. This is an event where a team of men are responsible for getting a cannon, which weighs in excess of 1.2 tonnes, across a course by taking it apart and putting it back together at the other side of an imaginary ravine and firing it, before doing it all again in reverse to the finish line!
Trust me, it’s as crazy as it sounds.
He sometimes trained 3 times a day and was one of the fittest guys I have ever met.
He had lost the index finger of his left hand, it was an ugly, gnarly stump that was left and I asked him about it. When he was running the gun, he was a wheel man. This meant that he was responsible for taking the huge wheel on the cannon off, carrying it and then putting it back on when required through the race.
The wheel is held in place by a metal split pin which you pull out or shove in dependant on what you are trying to do.
On his first ever tournament, in front of the Queen they were mid run and he lost the pin, he dropped it in the sand that covers the floor. Without the pin, the wheel would fall off and his team would lose, and it would be on him.
So, he put his finger in the hole and kept going.
The gun and wheel took his finger clean off but that wasn’t the end of it.
He had to carry on to the finish line by taking his own finger in and out of that hole another twice before they crossed the line. That was the type of team player he was. I urge you to google “Royal Navy Field Gun Race” and check out one of the YouTube clips. When you see them flying across with those wheels, picture him carrying his finger as well!!
What his fitness brought him was a boundless energy and a clarity of thought and action that made him a joy to be around and a great leader to boot. In difficult times when sleep was deprived in certain dangerous circumstances, he was the one that would see us through with his energy and actions.
You have to be really conscious and intentional because in my experience, it’s much, much easier to fall into bad routines than it is to follow good ones.
It’s funny how the brain works that way.
I want to put a disclaimer in here before I go on. First, I am not advocating that you follow what I do, I am simply telling you what works for me. If it works for you too, that’s superb. If not, find something that works for you.
Take some time and think about what you were doing when you felt on top form.
When are you at your best?
When you’ve established those answers and you can recall being at the peak of your performance and copy that.
Second, I am no fitness guru either. I am 18 stones, horizontally challenged and under tall for my weight. I should be about 8 foot 6. Putting it in lay man terms, I am a fat bloke that likes to keep relatively active and fit.
I find nothing worse than people harping on about what you should and shouldn’t eat or drink. I was once in a community of entrepreneurs where the leader or self-appointed guru used to ridicule and belittle people for enjoying alcohol, eating meat, or having any sugar in their diet!! My thought was. . . get a life! I didn’t stay long in that group.
Eat what works for you and be happy with your choices. If you eat like a pig and are as fat as a pig be happy with your choices, accept the consequences, don’t moan because you are carrying a few pounds. Likewise, if you eat a diet of lettuce and dust, have the body/fat composition of a beanpole, be happy with your choices, don’t preach at others and complain that you can’t put on weight and muscle. Each to their own and celebrate we are all different.
You won’t get any diet or exercise advice from me, unless you ask for it.
Again, I will outline what works for me.
I am no dietician, I’m not an Olympic athlete or a Personal Trainer.
I love a glass of wine and a take away and occasionally I have athletes’ foot!!, I guess that makes me normal then.
Lastly, I was totally not a morning person and I will talk more on this later.
I was always missing the school bus; I was last up in the ten to eight club my Navy days and I was always last up in the house.
I changed my routine because I knew that it wasn’t serving me, and I wanted to make the change.
Now if you want to stay in bed until 10am and work until 3am every day, that’s cool by me. Likewise, if you are up at 4am and in bed by 9pm, good on you also. Be happy with your choices and to repeat – DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU – THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG.
One of the most sure-fire ways to not be healthy on the inside and the out is to start comparing yourself to others. You should compare yourself to who you were yesterday not to who someone else is today.
When I started looking at myself and making a conscious effort to be healthy on the inside and the outside, I quickly became more self-aware and was able to understand what worked for me.
One of the first things I stopped doing was watching, listening or reading the News. As a household we had breakfast news on from 6.30am, lunch was taken with the 1pm news and then evening meal was around the 6pm news swiftly followed by the 10pm news. Overload on negativity or what!!!
The amount of places I go and see that they have 24 hour news channels on in reception and all around the offices – that’s a big no no for me.
There is a reason why the last 1 minute of the news starts with, “and finally” and is a light hearted story otherwise we would all be leaving feeling pretty low about our lives and the world we live in.
I can promise you, if it’s important and it affects you, the news you need will find you quickly enough.
It’s toxic, do yourself a favour and don’t let it in!
It was then I realised that everything stems around exercise for me. It was that simple.
I noticed that if I did something like hitting the gym, walking, running, biking, swimming, then everything else aligned. I firstly felt better. I had more energy. I looked better, my complexion and skin were good, and I had a healthy glow about me. I was sharper in work and could sustain my concentration for longer periods. I ate better so that I watched what I ate and didn’t want to sabotage my efforts by eating crap. If I did go out for a meal or get a family take away, again I didn’t stress, I had earned it. Family life was better, I had more energy after work to devote to the family. I didn’t drink and because of that I slept better and deeper when I did get to my bed.
What was quickly apparent was the reverse of that when I had sustained periods of inactivity. When I don’t hit the gym, I feel lethargic, I struggle to get up in the morning. I think, who cares, let’s have a fry up or junk food because it’s the way I’m feeling – lazy. As soon as I’m home, I’m crashing on the sofa, watching sport or Netflix and getting stuck into a bottle of red wine and reach for the Diary Milk. That gives me heart burn and it means I don’t sleep well, and the cycle repeats itself. During these times my energy in work is poor, I am unable to concentrate for sustained periods and I generally feel crap. That horrible, “I can’t be bothered” attitude creeps into everything and everywhere. From work to home. Family life would suffer, I was impatient and short with the kids and would be sensitive and bicker with my wife. Does any of this resonate with you??
It’s funny though how sliding into the negative routine was so much easier and far more appealing than the positive routine!
Why is that?
Why are bad habits so easy to form and good one’s so hard?
Inevitably it’s because bad ones are simple and require very little thought or discipline and more than that most of the population are doing them on autopilot which makes it even harder to break years of conditioning and swimming against the tide of humanity.
When you look around you and analyse yourself, think of all your friends and family that follow a negative routine. Most follow it but have no idea or no thoughts of a different routine. There’s a total lack of self-awareness that it can change. Many of those around us are on auto pilot and live the negative routine I have just described.
My sister, Lisa, had issues with mental health and she will be the first to admit that she got into a cycle of negativity.
She spent her evenings watching things like the News and the UK Soaps like Eastenders and Coronation Street that are filled with negativity and depressing subjects. It fed a cycle of downward emotional energy that led to inactivity and poor diet which then surfaced in her mental health.
How did she break that cycle?
Firstly, through self-awareness and working out what wasn’t serving her.
She quickly realised that she had a great life and outside influences were forcing her to believe she had a bad one.
She quit the soaps and the news
She hit the gym
She took a personal trainer and as a worker in the NHS in the UK, she’s hardly on a king’s ransom as a salary!!
She decided to spend money on the right things and not the wrong things
Almost immediately she saw a difference.
Her mindset and mental health shifted.
She had more energy and her old smile came back.
Things that used to affect her or make her down could now be brushed off.
She was in control again.
Last year we ran the Cardiff Half Marathon together and she ran for the UK Charity MIND which is helping people with mental health issues and I was so proud to be there with her.
Next month I’ll continue with this article based on being healthy on the inside and out. I’ll tell you what works for me and about my routine. I’ll talk into some of the advice my father gave me and how I keep motivated with crazy challenges. I talk about that “To Do” list and how it isn’t helping you.
To be continued. . .