INVESTING IN OURSELVES
February 14th, 2016
I'm a perfectionist.
Naturally, I over-analyze how to get the most out of myself.
I remember the values that were engrained in me growing up. Work hard. Keep your head down. Sacrifice.
I vividly remember meeting the VP at my first agency job. We had a 'get-to-know-you' meeting after I was hired by the CEO. We were chatting about how I work. “Doesn’t matter what you need me to do, how hard it is or how hard I have to work - I’m the type of person that doesn’t complain no matter what, I get the job done,” I said proudly to her. She looked puzzled and said, “I’m not quite sure that’s a great thing.”
It’s funny how there exists an idealism that we need to follow certain rules to be successful. That we need to endure pain and hardship to get there. And while success certainly doesn’t come easy, today I can’t imagine why as a society we idealized a model that can create nearly irreparable physical and mental anguish.
After struggling and realizing that my model wasn’t working, I set off to find the right one for me. I read article after article, book after book. Tried thousands of tips, tricks and approaches for productivity and motivation. But no matter what I did and all the things I tried, I was perplexed with why I couldn’t sustain it long-term.
It took me a while to realize. I hadn’t changed the fundamental belief that I needed to sacrifice myself personally in order to achieve business success. No matter the latest productivity or motivation trick I used, I was never going to be able to consistently overcome that core value I held. I would continue to sacrifice anything personal for the sake of work - until it just built up to be too much and I'd collapsed under its weight. After a small period of down time where I would tell myself I needed to re-energize, the cycle would begin again.
I’m a naturally motivated person. I have big dreams and goals. Instead of beating myself to produce, I wondered - what if I focused first on investing in myself? Maybe then I would naturally just be energized to go after my dreams and get things done.
It’s a small change in perspective that made a big difference - rather than beating myself up to do more, I make sure I’m at the top of my game physically, mentally and spiritually and just let it naturally flow from there.
Once you’ve changed that fundamental perspective, it’s simple things that make the difference. It’s about finding what works for you. And while I haven't "perfected" it, I'm getting much better at it.
For me, it’s how I start my day that sets up the rest of it. A few habits that I work on implementing daily:
1. Get proper sleep. Life's a marathon, not a sprint.
2. Get up early. There is something unbelievably satisfying with the feeling that you are on top of the day before most of the world has woke up.
3. Mindful meditation in the morning. As you start to be able to separate yourself from your thoughts, you learn a lot about your biases and are able to be more focused. The Headspace app is great for building a daily routine.
4. Sweat regularly. I try to do something physical each morning. I have a quick 15-20 min body weight workout that I can turn to when there’s no way to get to the gym. There are too many physical, mental and spiritual benefits to list. I think we all know how much better we feel after a work out.
5. Stay hydrated. It’s amazing how many days I’ll just drink coffee but I always try to consume regular water throughout the day.
6. Review your Big List. I stole this from Tobias van Schneider I keep it as a list of all the things I want to do or accomplish in my life. Reviewing it daily helps me set out to attack the day with energy.
I'm still working my tail off every day. Success will never be easy. But at the end of the day no matter how long it may have been or how hard I may have worked, I know it was an investment in me and that it was worth it.
Dave Corelli is Chief Strategy Officer of SportBox Group, a global entertainment agency with verticals in strategic consulting, personality representation, and event creation and ownership. Corelli oversees business and creative strategy globally for the agency, its consulting clients, athletes and events. Follow Dave on Twitter and on Medium.