Over the last three months, I have been struggling with a major problem in my life: my personal health. To put a finer point on that statement, my health when it comes to being an entrepreneur, husband, and dad of two small kids. It’s no secret that in the last decade I’ve gained a few pounds, lost some great hair, and found that my dad’s anger and rage has officially been passed down. Mentally I’ve struggled with, “How can I be a leader for my team as well as my family and not give a shit about my health?" It just doesn’t line up. So back in late October when I was sitting at my dinner table with Shawn and Paul discussing our plans for a new kind of digital agency, I was also thinking about how I wanted my health to be a part of all these new conversations. So January 1st of this year, when the three of us launched the Woodshed Agency, I also went to work carving official time out for ME—something I have not done in the last decade. Here were my first two steps. First I joined Bikram Yoga. I’m proud to say I’m on week 3, and I’ve been attending three classes a week. I took the time to research an exercise program and found I love a ton of the philosophies of Bikram Yoga. Second step: The food that goes into my body. I joined Blue Apron. Now my wife and I get three vegetarian meals delivered each week that I cook and prepare for us. The food is fresh and organic, and the recipes are ones that I would never think of myself. I've also completely cut carbonated sodas out of my diet, and I’m knocking down gallons of water a day for cleansing.
Here are seven other steps toward becoming a better leader in the business world and in my home that I’m also working on.
1. @@Learn something new every day.@@ Healthy entrepreneurs are lifelong dreamers. They work hard, play hard and think harder. They love to read, listen to audio books and absorb as much knowledge as they possibly can. Not only do they educate themselves about topics relevant to growing their business, but they also seek knowledge about what it takes to be healthy. They know healthy behaviors have a direct impact on their business.
2. Set goals and create systems to achieve your goals. Healthy entrepreneurs also understand that knowledge without application is the quickest path to failure. They go beyond learning—they apply. Because they realize the day-to-day journey and its seemingly tiny steps are the only ways to achieve their end goal.
3. Spend your “down time” wisely. The average person spends around 3 hours a day watching TV. Don't be that person. To stay healthy, focus on staying busy building your business, taking care of yourself and your family and trying to change the world. One recommendation is to meditate or take the time to write down your goals.
4. Make exercise a priority. A healthy body will help cultivate a healthy mind. The CDC says 80 percent of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that adults should get 2.5 hours a week or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two strength training sessions per week. Even if you’re crazy busy, find 10 minutes here and there. It will help with alleviate stress and get those endorphins pumped up to take on startup challenges.
5. Eat less junk food. Think of food as fuel: The higher quality fuel you put in your tank, the better you’ll perform. You don’t need to diet or cut foods out to eat healthy either. Just eat more real food—stuff that comes from nature —instead of processed junk and fast food. By doing so, you could help improve your energy endurance (no sugar crashes) and mood, among other benefits.
6. Sleep more. All entrepreneurs experience the grind of late nights, early morning meetings and last-minute deadlines. But healthy entrepreneurs know that sleep is vital to their success. Whether you rise early and tackle your important projects first thing in the morning or you’re a night owl, find a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. And never underestimate the power of a good power nap to recharge your brain.
7. Create balance in your life. Healthy entrepreneurs treat health as a lifestyle. You can't put a Band-Aid on a bad business plan, just like you can't eat healthy for a week and expect to lose weight. Successful entrepreneurs wholeheartedly embrace healthy living: They work smarter, not harder.
Entrepreneurship and health go hand-in-hand. Each will teach you valuable lessons about the other. Aside from family, friends, and relationships, there are few things more important in your life than your health and your career. When you passionately pursue both of these things you can experience a longer, more fulfilling life.
BONUS: NEW FAVORITE FUZZY WENZEL RECIPE
Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa
COOK TIME 4 hr
TOTAL TIME 4 hr 5 min
- 1 15-ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 15-ounce can yellow corn drained and rinsed
- 2 medium red enchilada sauce or 15-ounce cans of mild, divided
- 1 15-ounce can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles
- 1 cup un-cooked quinoa + ½ cup water
- 4 ounces cream cheese (light or fat free is okay)
- salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper)
- 1 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
- optional: chopped cilantro diced tomatoes, diced avocado, sour cream
Add beans, corn, 1 can of enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes and chiles, quinoa, water, cream cheese, and salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir everything together.
Pour remaining can of enchilada sauce on top, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Cover and cook 4-5 hours on high or 5-7 hours on low. Uncover, top with tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and chopped cilantro and serve.