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The first wealth is health | David Lindsay

Welcome to the first segment in this very important and yet much-overlooked element of being a high-performing coach or high-performing leader. Looking after your own health and wellbeing in order to give your team the best version of you.

In these articles, I will share with you little tips that can be implemented immediately in order to change your energy levels and give you the ability to be sharper and have more clarity for longer times. I base a lot of my methods on professional athletes as everyone can relate to sporting terminology and there are studies out there stating that CEOs, high-level executives and people aspiring to reach these levels require the same level of energy as an NFL Quarterback.

Everyone that gets this article is a leader, and as a leader, we all need to raise our energy levels in order to run effective teams. We need to be able to think on our feet and come up with quick answers and be able to change plays at the drop of a hat.

This first article will give you new habits to incorporate immediately that will give you great results within a few days and will continue to get better the more you use them. The primary advantage is it won’t have a major impact on your overall life but it will make a big difference to your day. As humans, we are habitual creatures, and the more things we can automate in our lives the more we can use our brains for other parts of life.

1. Prepare everything the night before: I have heard this too often as an excuse for missing morning activities. This excuse simply doesn’t fly with high performers. 5 minutes of preparation the night before can streamline your day and save a lot of unnecessary stress searching for items in the morning.

2. Get up 10-15 minutes earlier and get your body moving: We are meant to move, and not just sit at a desk, or in a car all day long, getting up earlier every day can re-train the body to be active. By being more active there will be many benefits, some of which you may not even be aware of. Emotion is led by motion. Being active first thing in the morning sets you up and energises you for the day.

For example, by moving more you may shift some excess weight, and by even shifting 5kgs you will dramatically raise your energy levels which will enable you to keep your concentration during those long meetings, and it helps your body to deal with stress in a much better way. This can be something simple as going for a 15-minute walk, or doing body-weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, crunches etc. (after getting a medical clearance), even we will build month by month on morning rituals that will raise your energy levels in order to keep performing at your optimum

As I mentioned in the last article as leaders we need to have as much energy as a professional athlete. In doing so we can handle the changing dynamics quickly and accurately. Last month we started simply by incorporating 2 simple yet effective activities in order to re-gain our health and vitality, and those 2 ideas were to,

1. Get prepared the night before. Lunches, clothes, shoes etc. Anything that may slow you down in the morning.

2. Get up 15 minutes earlier than you normally would and get moving. Body weight training, walking stretching breathing, anything to get you moving. Remember emotion is led by motion

When it comes to your Vitality that is the substance and feeling you have entering work on a daily basis, or basically your general attitude. Do you have vim, vigour and passion for what you are going to do? When you look at things around work are you solutions driven, or do you see problems? This is not to say put on your rose-coloured glasses and think everything is going to fall into place, but where there are issues, which there will be, how do you respond? This brings us to our next 2 items to incorporate into your daily rituals.

3. Listen to some upbeat music, or something inspirational, motivational or educational on the way to work. Music is a great mood adjuster. It can pump you up when you feel flat, or it can calm you down when you are getting a little hot under the collar. When I was fighting, I used to use the same music as my entrance song. This song always gets me pumped up and ready. It still does to this day. So don’t think of the trip on the way to work as wasted time, think of it as the appropriate place to get you into a peak state so you are ready to hit the ground running when you get into the office.

4. Stay hydrated throughout the day. This starts off first thing in the morning. You have been asleep for 5-8 hours and haven’t eaten or drunk anything, so start off with a glass of water, not coffee, fruit juice, just water with maybe lemon in it. As a society, we are chronically dehydrated which negatively affects our concentration and performance. People have become reliant on external stimulants such as coffee to get them through the day.

Caffeine works as a diuretic which will make you more dehydrated and therefore makes the effects of dehydration even more dramatic. Try to cut down on caffeine, not cut out but simply cut down on coffee and increase the amount of water you consume. An obvious side effect is an increase and distraction of having to go to the toilet more frequently. This will all settle down after 1 or 2 weeks as your body adapts to being hydrated again.

When I was fighting, and I had to drop weight for the weigh-in we would regularly dehydrate ourselves. When we needed a dramatic weight cut and would dehydrate significantly and this would often have negative effects on fight night even 24 hours later. It is not uncommon for fighter’s joints to be “grindy”, for them to feel lethargic and even the potential of knockout to occur easier. The knockout is due to our brain floating in brain fluid and that fluid is designed to cushion the brain if you dehydrate yourself some of the fluid comes from the skull. All these negative effects on the body by simply being dehydrated.

So now we have 4 morning and daily rituals to increase vitality to help you gain the energy of an athlete.

  1. Prepare the night before

  2. Get up 15 minutes earlier and move

  3. Listen to positive motivating music or podcasts on the way to work to get into a peak state

  4. Hydrate. First thing in the morning and constantly throughout the day

Enjoy and next month I will share more secrets to help you raise your vitality and energy in the workplace. By now you should be feeling much better than you were just a couple of months ago. Not only having more energy but potentially looking better and fresher (if that was possible)

Each day we need to be,

  1. Getting prepared the night before

  2. Getting up 15 minutes earlier and moving

  3. Listen to upbeat music, or something inspirational, motivational or educational

  4. Hydrate. First thing in the morning and constantly throughout the day

We all get bogged down by work and give the blank look to the screen on the odd occasion, and I will share with you a technique that has been tried and proven to work at allowing you to be more productive at any given time. This may seem counterintuitive but it has been shown to work time and time again.

Below I have attached a link from a journalist that explains how she reacted to trying this technique, which is the Pomodoro Technique. This is where we set ourselves up to work in short intense chunks. It can take a little getting used to particularly when you are used to working for 8,10 or more hours back to back. I will set out the system step by step.

  1. Set a timer for 25-30 minutes

  2. During this time you have no distractions. That is no phone calls, no emails, no drop-ins

  3. Also during this time you are to work on ONE task and give that your full undivided attention

  4. Then when the alarm goes off you get up and move for around 5 minutes.

Get the blood pumping and go talk to people, send some emails, whatever you have to do to get your mind clear again, then you do it again and again and again. Work this in a cyclic system throughout your day.

The next step is to be single-focused. This was mentioned in the last step of the Pomodoro Technique, but it is of such importance that it will help you be able to deal with items quicker and with more clarity than if you are trying to multitask. People that multitask report having more stress, are less able to do a job quickly and effectively and also get distracted and forget what they were doing more often than people. Even people who say they can multitask effectively can’t, well they can but not as effective as someone who is single-focused.

My mum told me an old wives tale of a lady, let’s call her Cheryl who started cooking dinner and as she was a multitasker she would often do many things at once. Once Cheryl got the dinner into the oven she decided to go out and wash the car, but before she got a chance to finish washing the car the mailman came. Cheryl couldn’t leave the mail in the letterbox so she went off to get the mail and as she was there her neighbour was collecting the mail as well.

They quickly got chatting and before long Cheryl was in her neighbour’s house catching up on the gossip and general goings on about town before long Cheryl’s phone started to ring. She wrapped things up at the neighbours, and on her way home, she realised that she had forgotten to turn the hose off and water was spraying all over the place splashing mud up onto her half-washed car and the side of the house. As she approached the phone she could smell something burning which reminded her about the dinner in the over that was now burnt and after all that, she missed the call.

Due to Cheryl’s multitasking, she had a burnt dinner, a dirty car and house and missed a call, so it isn’t that she is even half getting there, she is actually further behind than where she started. The moral of the story, do 1 thing and see it till it is done.

Next month I will share with you some quick and easy exercise routines you can do with no equipment at all. All you need is your body and a little space. Just remember if you haven’t trained in a while be sure to get a check-up with your doctor beforehand and always start off easy.

Keep moving the goal forward and share the love with your family and friends.

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