I’ve been on the road and building my business significantly this year, and if I’m being honest, it’s been exhausting. Thankfully, I have a plan in place to keep me grounded and healthy, and ensure my wheels don’t fall off as I pursue “the dream” of entrepreneurialism and business development.
When it comes to success, whether it’s work or personal, it’s easy to get lost in too much. We travel, spend hours on video chat and calls, make plans and deals, and generally do way more than we should. Over the years of working with high-level performers, as well as learning to navigate my own boundaries, I’ve picked up a few critical rules for never falling into the achiever’s abyss. Here are some big ones:
In the last twelve months, I have advised a half dozen consultants who each had the “best year of my [their] career.” I listened to each of their stories and saw the theme instantly – they all divorced by sacrificing their families on the altar of more money. It doesn’t take a divorce to be successful, but it certainly can mean that’s what will happen when you aren’t mindful of your priorities.
The moment we prioritize money over family, we lose our footing. Family roots us to something sustainable, but money is naturally transient. This is because family fosters intimacy and growth, and this is how we are forged as people. If you want to ensure you remain emotionally healthy as you reach for the stars, prioritize the people in your life who are helping you get there, and that is most likely your family.
It breaks my heart when I see people who live like kings and queens on the road, eating at the best restaurants and staying at the best hotels, but they come home to the marginal, barely scraping by. The disparity begs for travel, which creates distance between real life and the glamour of the road. Before they know it, these weary-eyed travelers are prisoners to the trappings of an expense account and no longer connected to reality.
An easy, but powerful tool for preserving a connection to real life on a systematic basis? Deny yourself something basic each day. For me, it might be ordering water instead of iced tea, or foregoing an appetizer or salad at dinner. For you, it might be saying no to a steak or yes to a salad. Whatever it is, when we deny ourselves something trivial, we remind our brain that it can’t have whatever it wants. This creates a miniature war inside, keeping us tethered to the reality that life is not all about satiation. And that is what reality is all about, and reality keeps us healthy.
A few years ago, I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing basketball. My surgeon told me I was the typical “weekend warrior” – a 40’s male who sat at a desk most of the week, was overactive during the weekend, and suffered an injury because of the inconsistent lifestyle. As I recovered, I decided that I wanted to incorporate regular physical activity into my work. I wasn’t sure exactly how I would do it, but I knew it was necessary. It started with being consistent with exercise in general, then I realized I could motivate others with my own commitment to exercise (part of my work as a consultant involves motivation). Soon, it simply became a part of my lifestyle.
There are literally mountains of research demonstrating the connection between physical health and emotional health. Rather than argue the case, I simply recommend you weave physical activity into your lifestyle. Walk to meetings. Take the stairs. Post selfies working out. Own the process. When you stay physically healthy, your emotional health follows suit.
My wife is my best friend, and has been for almost three decades. I also have two men in my life who are like brothers to me, and they are also my best friends. I do life with them. These three friends have walked through the good, the bad, and the ugly with me. I’ve had plenty of other friends in life, and most have come and gone. When you have a good friend, you can depend on them. They are loyal. They support you, encourage you, challenge you, and fire you up. You do the same for them. The best thing about the three I’ve chosen is that I can look up to them and know that my standards won’t ever be lowered by being in relationship with them.
But a bad friend (yes, I’ve had more than a few)? They undermine you. They make you feel low, they devalue you, they use you, take from you, never truly give to you, and they limit you. Worse yet, they keep you from being the best version of yourself. Without a doubt, I would rather have one good friend than 1,000 bad friends.
Jim Rohn said you are the average of the five closest people to you. Take a look around and assess your circle. Are these the people you want to become? Your health literally depends on your decision, so choose wisely.
There’s something about this particular time in history that feels depressing and serious all the time. Politics, war, crime, the economy- whatever it is, it just feels bad. One of the ways you can reconnect with your emotional health is to simply enjoy the moment. My challenge for you today is to simply look out your window and reconnect with the beauty of the world around you. I’m writing this on a flight to Sacramento right now and it’s gorgeous outside. What can you do to step outside of your routine or your stresses and see something beautiful? Stop what you’re doing and take a look right now.