It’s 6.30 in the morning and as I open the front door I realise the car is frozen. I turn back inside the house and grab a jug of warm water to throw over the windows to defrost them. I also pick up my woolly hat and gloves. It’s icy cold this morning. And I wonder what the hell am I doing? The house is in complete silence. Everyone’s still fast asleep and will be for at least another half hour. Before I know it I’m in the car driving to my gym appointment at 6.40am. The roads are quiet, the radio is playing some upbeat tunes and I’m singing along. Maybe I’m crazy but I’m happy.
Perhaps you too are a gym member or perhaps your sport of choice is running or doing something else outdoors. I’ve great admiration for people I see out running at 6.30 in the morning. In my opinion that takes great personal grit and drive. I’ve come to realise, albeit late in life, that exercise is critical to my sense of well being and long term health. I’ve noticed through my work as a headhunter and career strategist that high performing professionals look after their health. The vast majority schedule time during their week to work-out and keep fit. They’ve realised the importance of having strong physical and mental health. This is what builds resilience and releases stress during those tough times and enables them to pursue their dreams and goals. It’s also an opportunity to achieve small, personal wins as you improve your running time or increase your strength. Before you know it you’re running 5k or doing 60 squats with relative ease. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment that you’re making progress. It feels good.
But here’s the conundrum. We all know that exercise and eating healthy provides so many benefits to us, yet why the heck do we struggle to say no to that extra slice of chocolate fudge cake? We know it would be much better to eat a bowl of fruit salad. But I know which I’d prefer with a cup of coffee. And on the topic of coffee, why do we consume so much caffeine when we know about its negative impact on our health? Why do we struggle to get up off the sofa, put on our runners and leave the house to go for a walk? We know we’ll feel better physically afterwards, we know we’ll feel better mentally afterwards, yet it can all feel like too much hard work.
I can share with you that I’ve tried to do it alone. I start out with great enthusiasm and commitment. I’m self driven by nature so when I commit to something I do so whole heartedly. I love jogging and a couple of years ago I got my distance up to 5k but I found it a real struggle to push myself to achieve a longer distance. Honestly, it was simply too painful. And after a while I got bored. And then I quit. Sound familiar? After repeating this behaviour on numerous occasions and experiencing failure over and over again I realised I had to change something. The problem was I didn’t know what to do. So I started looking at other areas of my life where I was succeeding and where I was pushing myself to new limits. And even though my goals were scary and painful I found my inner grit to keep going. And that’s when I had my light bulb moment. That’s when I saw what was enabling me to achieve and surpass my personal and professional goals. I had someone in my life that I was accountable to. And that has made all the difference.
Even though I’ve more than 20 years corporate recruitment experience and I’m an expert in my field I knew I needed help to pursue my goal of building my executive search and coaching business. I couldn’t do it on my own. I sought advice and guidance from those who had done it before me. I invested my time and money in paying for coaching, online courses and expert advice. This has not only saved me a fortune in terms of time and money but it has also impacted on my ability to generate revenue quicker than I could have imagined. As my network of finance professionals would say, that’s a good ROI (return on investment). I’ve also discovered great resources and videos available online which I find very inspiring, but nothing beats working with someone one to one to keep me accountable.
With this awareness I’ve taken this learning and applied it to my physical health. I joined a small gym where I’m kept on track by a group of personal trainers who really care about their clients and want them to achieve their goals. It’s by appointment which goes automatically into my calendar. I find that unless it’s in my calendar it doesn’t happen. And that’s why I woke up at 6.20 this morning to make my 6.40 appointment. And if I didn’t turn up I knew that I would receive a phone call mid morning asking if I was ok as they hadn’t seen me. The guilt trip! You can imagine how that makes me feel. Admitting that I pressed the snooze button for an extra 30 minutes of sleep wouldn’t cut it. And I know that. I need structure and I also need to be responsible. After all no one is going to care more about my health and well being than me. And no one is going to care more about achieving my goals and dreams than I am.
So what are you struggling to achieve in your own life? Perhaps like me you really want to get fit and strong and fuel your body with healthy food. Maybe your finances are a mess and you need to change your habits so you can get out of debt and save for your future dreams. Maybe you are looking at your young family and really want to change your role to have more time with them. Perhaps you need to take a new direction in your career. Who can you work with to help you stay on track and keep you accountable to yourself for achieving your goals? You need to be willing to invest in yourself to create the greatest version of yourself. As I often say to my clients, you are unique and no one else can live your life for you. You have a responsibility to step up to your greatness. The question is when?
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