In a world of personal and professional development, we often discuss strategies about how to be more productive or grow your career or expand your network or build a personal brand, and all those things are great, and I love discussing these topics and helping people reach their desired goals.
However, what I’ve learned in the last few years in this arena, working with hundreds of individuals around the globe is that the biggest blockers we have to achieving what we want is not in the strategy or execution necessarily, it starts even before we get there. It has to do with the basics that so often neglect that are the base for everything else.
The basics are - our minds and bodies. Now hear me out – sure, there is a lot of talk on diets and exercise, but let’s look at it from a perspective of professional development. If you are not getting adequate sleep, if you are stressed out, if you are overweight and struggle with body image, feeling bloated and don’t have good energy, if you are eating processed foods and lack movement throughout your day, etc., etc. How can you possibly be at your best at work? How can you be the best leader? How can you manage your emotions? How can you make solid and effective decisions? Maybe you do that, but is it you being at your optimal best? Most likely not. Most likely you have some work that can be done to improve these areas of your life – unless you are the David Goggings’ of this world (and even he would tell you he is always pushing himself to be better) – there is always room for improvement for all of us (myself included).
This is not about looking good or any of those superficial things, this is about feeling good inside and out. Just think of a time when you didn’t get quality sleep or you ate something really heavy, how did you feel the next day? Your body communicates with you through these different feelings and hints, listen to it.
Now think of a time when you slept well, exercised, and ate whole foods? I bet you felt much better. That is what we should aim for. To feel good this way, every day so we can be better for ourselves, which by default makes us better to those around us- our family, friends, colleagues, customers.
Furthermore, our mental wellbeing often depends on those we spend most time with – look at who is in your circle? Are you surrounded by people who are active, take care of themselves, discuss ideas and new things, inspiring, excited about their work? Or does circle consist of people who see only the dark side of things, who operate from a victim mindset, and spend days judging and envious of others, instead of focusing of how they can be better each day?
Start by auditing how you feel on daily basis – audit your sleep, your exercise habits (or lack of), audit your eating habits, audit your environment (people you surround yourself with). Where can you start making small steps towards change for the better?
Remember – change is not easy and it takes time, but by making small daily changes, creating new good habits (and sometimes removing bad habits) and just aiming to be 1% better each day (or even just in a week) is all it takes to start making the change. Consistency and progress will help you stay disciplined!