Been thinking alot lately about how to be more organized, more efficient and to live a more productive and effective life. With our baby now here time is even more precious. My life is no longer my own, but that's a good thing. Learing to effectively be a husband, a father, a follower of Christ, a business owner, a son, a brother, a friend and a super fit and strong man takes some serious discipline (at least if you want to do it right). Naturally, I am an idea man. I love ideas, I love to study and I love to meditate on biblical truths, ethics, morals and philosophy. The challenge is that reading something on paper is drastically different than ACTUALLY LIVING it out in your daily life. Hence my need to continually refine and reshape the way I do things and the way I plan.
This first month has been busy. I'm working more, planning more, and just doing more things. Much like any new parent, having a child tends to put life into the more SIGNIFICANT category and that makes me want to do things better now for the future of my family (wife and daughter). With my tendancy to be an "all or nothing" type of person, I'm either going 100% or I am relaxing, sleeping and resting. There is no in-between mode for me.
So I pulled out one of the best books ever written in my oppinion, Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. A masterpiece! The chaper that comes to mind for me at this stage in my life is the chapter "Sharpen the Saw." This chapter basically states Covey's principles of Balanced Self Renewal.
If you are in the personal training business or any other service business for that matter, you already know how demanding training clients can be due to the energy exchange between you and the client. As a trainer you cannot have an off day. You need to be at your best, happy, encouraging and ready to pour out your energy and love into that client to get them to do what they would not do on their own. That is why they come to us and that is why we can make a living doing what we love to do. The challenge for me lies in the fact that I tend to push, push and PUSH until I get sick. The good news is that I am learning and have learned alot last year about how to take care of myself.
Last year for me was tough: parasite in my spleen, shingles, 5 or 6 sinus infections, the flu, and high blood sugar levels. I got healthier by cancelling my night classes so I could get home earlier and by upping my hours of sleep. Of course eliminating sugar was probably equally as helpful. The bottom line is that we all need to learn how to continually renew ourselves and stay healthy. Much like the man in the forest who is cutting down the tree with a dull axe, he will eventually burn out, get sick and bear little fruit in his tree cutting efforts. If he knew that if he took the time to sharpen his axe, he would expend much less energy and triple his productivity by that simple act alone. We really do need to set aside time to re-sharpen the blade!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My Axe Sharpening Principles : PHYSICAL / MENTAL / SOCIAL / SPIRITUAL
1) Get to sleep by 10pm at the latest. This one habits has kept my immune system nice and strong. As soon as I break this rule my health goes down the tubes.
2) Don't work late more than one night a week. This was hard for me initially because I hate turning down work. But feeling healthy is better than having a couple of extra dollars in the bank.
3) Eat real foods (as often as I can). This is a no brainer. Real foods are what God designed for the body. Supplements are great as long as they are whole foods based and contain real food. Water.............well.......isn't that obvious!
4) Take 2 to 3 vacations per year. This is huge for me and Yoana. Now with Marianna here we will definitely want to expose our daughter (and ourselves) to beautiful and interesting places. This year we have already decided to go to San Francisco (we have never been), Hawaii (Kona) and New York City. For us getting away renews our spirits, gives us a chance to rest, and exposes us to new cultures, new foods and new friends.
5) Read and Study and then teach what I have learned. When I stop reading and studying I can sense an immediate boredom and dullness in my approach to work and life. Maybe it's the teacher in me but learning energizes me and excites me. And then TEACHING what I am learning is the ultimate AXE Sharpener as it makes me learn how to do what I do more effective and more efficiently.
6) Pray..............a day without prayer is a lost day for me. I honestly don't know how people get through life without praying
7) Saying no to meanningless things! I have learned to say no to things that really don't matter and to give up activities and habits that have no beneficial impact in my life.
8) Focusing on less! This is huge. I gave up Golf for now because it was too time consuming and was not gving me enough time with Yoana. Giving it up was liberating and freed up a lot of time!
9) Listening to good music! I think we can all relate to this one!
10) Exercising (including strething). Although my exercise sessions have to be very low volume because I'm basically training all day (at least in teaching my clients movement).
For sure some of you will have other ways to sharpen your saw and regenerate yourself. After all, if we don't renew ourselves continually we have much less of ourselves to give to others. How do you sharpen yourself mentally, emotionally (socially), Physically, and Spiritually?