“This is going to be the best holiday ever. Finally, I can buy my wife a Jaguar. She has always wanted one. And my kids are going to flip when they see the new 'media room' with the six foot projection screen. I even ordered a popcorn popping cart!"
I wished I could get enthusiastic about my new friend's gift list. I had just met this fellow. I learned that he has done a great job creating sales and profits in a plumbing/HVAC company, growing to $4 million in sales with double-percent net profits. No small task in our world.
It took him nearly 30 years to achieve this business success. His first 26 years in business were spent in the financial miasma that's typical of our industry. Four years ago he decided to quit being stubborn and approach his business in a fresh new way. He finally implemented the lessons he had learned after years of association membership. He found a mentor and met with him monthly. He got to a Known Financial Position and made decisions based on the financial and marketing data. He got rich.
And, he got fat. This fellow is more than 100 pounds overweight. I applaud this guy's hard work and devotion to his business. There were days, weeks and months on end when he barely left the office. He ate on the run, lots of fast food. And time out to go to the gym? Fuggedaboutit.
Oh, and he smokes. I know, I know. The stress. I get all that. But, this fellow is on borrowed time. Meeting him reminded me of something I heard a young widow say, referring to her recently deceased husband, "He spent 50 years sacrificing his health for our wealth. Then, over the last two years, we spent our wealth trying to recover his health."
One or the other. Is that just the way it goes? Must you give up your health when you choose to create a fortune? Is it necessary to leave your blood, sweat and tears on the shop floor? Could you be successful and not have the scars to show for it? Can you be fit AND rich?
Of course you can! Dear reader, my holiday gift to you is encouragement to commit to your health and fitness. And, I am going to share some terrific ideas for fitness and freedom. Ideas for getting fit in a lot less time than you imagine it takes. And freedom from the 12-hour work days that are not improving your productivity.
Less Is MoreYou know what would be really cool? Let's declare 2005 as the year we will work less and get more - more health and wealth in less time with less effort.
Not only is it possible, it is essential that we shed our beliefs that hard work is required to make a fortune or develop fitness. Too much hard work is going to get us a shorter life sentence. It's time for you to quit being stubborn (and overweight and overworked) and take a fresh approach to health and wealth.
Have you struggled with food addiction and weight challenges for a long time? I mean no disrespect by my flip, yes-you-can approach to getting in shape. Feel free to turn the page and spare yourself my cheery lecture. However, I know that the greatest gift you can give your family is your time. I am old enough to realize how precious and fragile health can be. If you are open to taking a different approach to lifestyle and fitness, read on.
First, let's talk fitness.
Did you see Barbara Walters demonstrate her workout regime on TV recently? She enthusiastically endorses a fitness program described in "The Power of 10," a book written by fitness guru Adam Zickerman.
"The Power of 10" fitness plan is founded on three "Pillars." The first Pillar is exercise. Adam maintains that most of the effort of traditional exercise - aerobics, weightlifting, calisthenics - is wasted. Too many repetitions of ineffective exercises cause fatigue, injury and burnout.
Adam teaches super slow motion weightlifting techniques designed to get your muscles to "failure" in the shortest time possible. "Failure" means you can't lift the weight any more. Lifting slowly - 10 seconds up, 10 seconds down and holding for 10 seconds when you can't lift anymore - causes the muscles to max out in short order.
This is an intense approach to exercise. The intensity means you can work out a lot less than four to six times a week required by other exercise programs. You can get a serious, body-shaping workout in 20 minutes - once a week. "The Power of 10" technique makes every second count so you don't have to spend a lot of time working out.
The second Pillar is, you guessed it, nutrition. You won't find any surprises in Adam's suggestions. Eat more wholesome food and less junk food.
The third Pillar is rest. Adam maintains that we can break down our health and even negate our workout efforts by neglecting to rest. We can positively impact our fitness by indulging in an "Hour of Power" every day. Suggested Hour of Power activities include napping, reading, meditating, yoga and taking a walk. Doesn't it make sense that those recharging activities are really good for you?
"The Power of 10" is written in a fun, breezy style. Adam doesn't try to make a mountain out of a bicep curl. This program is easy. Adam has cut out all the fluff and figured out how to get and stay fit without wasting time and energy. That's why this program is so popular with busy people like Barbara Walters.
So, what do you think? What have you got to lose? Go ahead, adopt a fitness program that involves only 20 minutes a week in the gym, encourages you to rest for an hour every day, and confirms that you already know all you need to know about good nutrition. Why not give it a go? It's all about working less and achieving more: health and lifestyle. You can order "The Power of 10" through PM's online bookstore at www.PMmag.com, or walk to your local library.
WARNING!This next piece of advice is best ignored. However, I am going to give it anyway.
Stay away from doctors. Yes, I know all the early detection lectures. But it seems to me that most doctors are all about illness and not much about health. You know that you should eat better and exercise. You know that you feel better when you get a good night's sleep. You know that you are doing yourself no favors when you down six or seven martinis in an evening.
Go with what you know and start making better choices. Do everything you can to stay out of the hospital. If you find yourself in a hospital, do everything you can to get out. If it is "elective," elect not to have it. Only listen to doctors who appear to be healthy.
That's my advice for fitness. Now, let's address the fortune.
Go to www.strategiccoach.com and meet Dan Sullivan. Dan is an executive coach who helps entrepreneurs be more productive. Simply put, Dan's No. 1 suggestion for effective time management is: take more days off.
Check out Dan's audio program called "The Time Breakthrough." In it, he describes the increasing demands on our time and the increasing speed at which we are required to make decisions. No wonder you are stressed! He suggests you organize your days into three categories: Buffer, Focus and Free days.
Buffer days are errand days. Buffer days help you "set up" for Focus days and Free days. Focus days are days when you commit to spend 80 percent of your working time in focused, productive activity.
Free days are just that: FREE. Whatever you want to do. Wherever the wind takes you. Free days are free from e-mail and voicemail checking. No work. If work comes to mind, move it on out. Dan maintains that the recharging value of Free days pays off on the Focus days. How nice to hear what we really want to hear: More Free days make us wildly more productive.
Recall the last time you spent 12 hours straight at the office. Now, be frank. How many of those 12 hours were spent in highly productive, focused activity? Perhaps none? How much of your last day off was spent doing work-related activities? Our half-hearted attempts lack energy and intent, causing us to waste so much time.
"The Time Breakthrough" program requires that you streamline your time and activities. When we work too hard, we shoot our productivity in the foot. Have you ever struggled to remember someone's name or been stumped by a troubleshooting challenge? Out of fatigue or frustration, you finally decide to just let it go. Then, later, perhaps while you are asleep and dreaming, the answer suddenly comes to you. Consider the divine organizing power of the universe, all orchestrated without our conscious cooperation. When we alternate between focused activity and letting go, we allow our subconscious, indeed the whole of the universe, to support our intentions.
So, take more Free days. Do less, accomplish more.
The Gift Of TimeI am sure that the Jag and the TV are going to be smashingly well-received gifts. Perhaps my new friend's family will give "The Power of 10" and "The Time Breakthrough" as gifts to him. I hope he lives long and well, and enjoys his success with his family for many years to come.
Dear reader, thank you for stopping by my column. I care about you and want to be a positive, helpful resource for you. It is my honor and privilege to write this column each month. Here's to working less and achieving more. Here's to your success and health, love and peace this holiday season - and in the new year!