[Average read time: 5 minutes]
It was a sunny summer day in Los Angeles. My kids and I were enjoying a relaxing day at the beach. My son was playing with toy soldiers and building a sand castle with an elaborate moat that according to him, “would help defend the castle against an enemy attack.”
I was sitting a few feet away playing with my daughter and her Shopkins. She looks up at me with her big brown eyes and says with great curiosity, “Dad, why is your tummy so big?”
This was a clear sign that my life wasn’t in order.
Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, Deepak Chopra, and others teach people how to reach their full potential. When it comes to achieving my idea of a successful life, similarities begin to surface regardless of who your go-to guru is.
Taking a holistic approach was essential to living a healthier and prosperous life. Especially as I embarked on my minimalist journey. When I shifted my focus to the areas of life that really had an impact on my happiness and results, things that were slowing me down became clear.
Eating poorly, avoiding exercise, not getting enough sleep, and generally neglecting the body and mind makes it very difficult to perform at a high level. Some decisions may take years before the consequences become evident and others have a more immediate impact.
I’ve been guilty of this. My default excuse was I don’t have time. I never had enough time until I made the time. There’s always time if something is a priority.
My biggest challenge was not setting specific and actionable goals. I would tell myself “my goal is to lose 10 lbs.” How? By when?
For this month, I set very specific goals.
Goal #1: Go to the gym 10 times.
Goal #2: Cook 10 meals at home.
Goal #3: Be able to hold a plank position for 60 seconds.
There is no gray area. I have until the end of the month. Either I achieve my goals or I don’t.
I should have done this sooner. I already have an ample amount of energy, but as my health and well-being improves, I can only imagine what I can accomplish.
I have a career that I would like to grow. Even though my motivation is to better provide for my kids, I can’t allow my desire for professional success create a gap between me and my loved ones.
I have two kids – a son and daughter who are 9 and 5. The highlight of most days is when I’m able to FaceTime them during the day, which is second only to playing Minecraft with my son and Shopkins with my daughter.
This may be difficult when trying to achieve my version of success, but I now give myself a day off. One day per week where I don’t open my laptop and try not to think about business. I have a full-time job so 8a-6p is reserved for work and commute. I normally work 2-3 hours after work and another 6-8 hours on the weekend. This month, I will not work on my business on one Saturday or Sunday each week.
This time is used to enjoy the company of family and friends. Life is short and time is something we can never get back. If your relationship with your spouse, kids, family, and friends is solid, your energy can be used to propel you forward.
THREE: SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT
Whether it’s religion, the environment, or eliminating homelessness, if it brings joy to your heart and mind, make time for it in your life. I believe that we are here on Earth to do more than work 50 years and then die. Purpose creates motivation and the motivation snowball grows larger when you do something you love.
I think about legacy more than ever before. If I were to die today, what would I be remembered for? I hope my legacy includes being a good father, a good person, and someone who had on impact on people. Instead of hoping for it, every day I try be a better father, a better person, and contribute something of value to society. The legacy thing will take care of itself.
Generosity, humility, and business success go hand in hand.
In the peak-performance and self-improvement world, there’s a theory that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
If you are in an environment that offers little motivation and support, it is very difficult to overcome that. For example, if the five people closest to me play video games 8 hours a day, eat junk food, and stay up late, guess what might happen? I may resist it at first, but there’s a high probability that I will slowly enjoy video games a little more, go to sleep a little later, and eat more pizza and burgers in between.
On the other hand, if I surround myself with people that push me to be better, discuss new ways to reach goals, and want to be successful, your potential for success is infinitely greater.
Besides your kids, who are the five people you spend the most time with?
Are they making you better than you were yesterday?
On the flip side, am I helping the people around me be better?
The most important thing I learned is when my health, relationships, spirituality, and environment are in sync, I will be in an optimal position to thrive and get shit done.
And hopefully my daughter won’t call me fat anymore.