Dedication, Martial Arts, Life Balance and Fitness

IMG_9104Sometimes a hobby or change in your personal life translates into a big change in your professional life.  My first and only broker said something I never remembered until a local newspaper published it.  She always said to “Never give up!”.   Never giving up is part of being a great salesperson or succeeding at anything.  I can remember thinking of two things when starting out.  I wanted balance in my personal and professional life or freedom and I wanted to always look for a more efficient way to accomplish the same things.    How could I do the same thing in less time or do the same thing at a lower cost.   Technology became a part of the key, but embracing social media, smart phones, mobile computers, websites, blogs and knowing how to use the tools…that makes the difference.  I typically forward all calls to my mobile device whenever I’m out of the office.  If I can’t answer, I don’t want anything to delay communication.  I’m not sure dedication is the best description.  Integration might be a better way to think about how I mix work and sales.

Years ago, I spent time working out in several different styles of martial arts.  I don’t want to go into detail, but some of the lessons made a difference in my life.   One of the bigger lessons is in working without expectation of a reward.  Sales can be frustrating, but becoming accustomed to hard work and removing any negative feeling from failure can be a difficult trick.  I can remember being better at a move or sequence of moves after a long period of practice.  All the effort going into learning the move disappear from memory, but learning to remember the success and forget the failure…that made a difference in my life.   In sales, motivation is key and we need to focus on moving constantly forward.    Another lesson I picked up had to do with balance.  Going back to the original comment on balance and integration of work/life, I began to see the importance of fitness, family and personal time.  If I became too “one-dimensional”, a career in sales would leave behind a miserable person.  I wanted to be sure sales did not consume life.  Have you ever run into a salesperson with such a single-minded focus, you just want to run in the opposite direction?   I still remember a conversation with an extremely successful salesperson.  They actually screamed at me when I called their mobile line to make an appointment.  At the time, I was a little surprised, but far less than the average “non-sales” person might think.   The “screamer” was wrapped so tightly and had so little personal life, the obnoxious, rude, unprofessional behavior must have become a normal part of life.    I never wanted to become successful at the expense of a good life, family or mental health.  An analogy comparing life balance to legs on a stool comes to mind.  Sometimes we tend to focus on success so much, we put all the weight on a single leg.   We really need to have the weight spread over family, professional, physical fitness and spiritual or emotional legs.   Balance makes a difference, but becomes far easier with 3 or 4 components.

This all brings up the changes I made in 2017.  Over the last 10 years, I suffered a series of injuries.  Some were age related, but some were related to limitations and a resistance to giving up things like surfing, martial arts or lifting heavy objects.  The injuries and a wife with exceptional cooking skills added weight…and a loss of life balance.  I never thought about weight in my 20’s or 30’s, but suddenly, I realized I’d added significant weight and needed a change.   Over the last 8 months, I began to make changes and will probably continue to make changes for the rest of my life.  Diet isn’t the right way to think about fitness.  We all need to adjust the pattern in our life.  Find and budget time, create a habit, be certain of sustainability and have fun.  My changes began with food and exercise, but are going a lot further.

The first change included seriously logging all food intake.  I use a program called “Loseit” for calorie logging.  The program will track activity, but I’ll get back to that.   Setting a calorie intake goal is good, but I found it easier to focus on a range of protein and fiber.   Protein from non-red meat is easier to manage, if you’re worried about exceeding a caloric intake goal.    Red meat seemed to immediately throw off my cholesterol and calorie count.  When I changed to chicken, vegetable, fish and lean pork cuts, I really didn’t need to watch cholesterol numbers.   Fiber, from experience, tends to reduce the need for more food.  If my fiber count is low, I’m usually hungrier.  Whether the carbohydrate count is lower or the actual fiber reduces my craving, higher fiber diets worked for me.   So, as a part of counting my intake, I began to think about meals and eating differently.  I rarely have processed carbs.  I rarely eat red meat.  I seldom or never have fruit juice.   Typically, I drink more water at each meal and eat protien, vegetable and any non-processed carbohydrate…in that order.  If I feel satisfied, I stop eating and usually make a point of leaving a small portion of food on the plate.   As a child, I was told to finish my food.   Can you remember being told to take all you want, but finish what you take?  I remember this, but I also remember feeling I should clean the plate.  I’m making a point of unlearning this as an adult and can see the problem with cleaning the plate of an oversized serving.

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The other big change was in tracking activity.  I was using an iPhone to track walking goals, but recently picked up an Apple iWatch 3 .  This is, by far, the best purchase I’ve made in years.  Seeing changes to resting heart rate, alone, is worth the motivation, but I am far more aware of distances walked and calories burned each day.  Whether I’m in the gym or go for an extended walk, tracking all activity is now on my wrist and mind every day.   The other change is integration with anything I’m doing.   Silencing a phone and just glancing at your wrist for a text or caller ID after feeling the small alert vibration saves more time than you might think.

As of today, I’m lighter than I have been in 20 years and more fit.  Work is easier, family life is easier, I feel great and I can see the path I’ll take in the coming few years.  I’m only about 8 pounds above my ideal weight and feeling pretty pleased with the progress, but now great fitness is the goal.   The journey isn’t over and that feeling of life being in balance is back.   It isn’t too late to think about where you’re missing a leg on your stool.

 

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