Entrepreneur bites - Bite-sized 5 min lessons - Being mentally and physically fit
Photo by Tim Mossholder

Entrepreneur bites - Bite-sized 5 min lessons - Being mentally and physically fit

Are you still fit? I can tell you that I am feeling the corona kg's. It is within limits but going to the gym was not an option this year. Mentally, 2020 and the start of 2021 were not easy either because of the lack of social interaction. Also, you probably (we too) share your house constantly with a four year old not directly contributes to inner peace. Still, as an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship is top sport, as you have heard so often. I can already hear my partner Tijs saying "It's not a sprint but a marathon". But how do you stay fit?

As the title of this series suggests, I'm not planning to write huge stories. So I just want to give you a quick rundown of a few options that have helped me tremendously over the past 10 years while being an entrepreneur. And no they are not perfect! If you can learn one thing from my blogs then I hope it is that nobody is perfect and you can only work from your own strength by accepting that you at all times determine how you respond to an opportunity or setback. The same with stress, even if it is difficult. 

  1. Sleep well. This is a good idea at all times! In all the years, there are less than a handful of days where I slept poorly. I can tell you that those days were not fun for anyone around me including myself. Sleeping is good and really good! If you need convincing read this NPO blog for example.
  2. Getting up early. When I'm really busy I try out the 5am club routine again or if I'm a little less busy the 6:30am club ;). Give me 2 hours before the rest of the world wakes up and I do more in those 2 hours than in a good work day. It's a great time to get into the flow state quickly and you bang out your work quickly and well. This works really well for me when I have to deal with heavy subjects, you should always do those first anyway! Read more: 'The 5AM Club' by Robin Sharma and 'Eat that frog' by Brian Tracy. 
  3. Reading. A dyslexic who advises reading. Of course you do! Reading is also a skill you can get better at. It's also one of my favourite things to do outside of work. It can be very motivating to read about people and organizations that became mega successful despite (or more often thanks to) huge setbacks. Just like books for your personal development like the ones in this list. Don't like to read or just don't feel like holding a book? Then check out one of the many possibilities to listen to a book that are available nowadays. I use Storytel myself. And for anyone who wants to learn more about dyslexia, the book "Dyslexia as Opportunity" by Brock Eide and Fernette Eide is highly recommended (yes it's also available to listen to).
  4. Meditation. Practitioners I don't have to explain anything to, and starters can get in easier than ever with help. This is now even available through the series 'Headspace' on Netflix (also have a great app). If you want to know more check out the book '10% Happier' by Dan Harris. Anyway, meditating is really recommended although I still have trouble practicing it structurally! So don't be discouraged if it doesn't go immediately. Do not feel like meditating just start with some quiet moments. A few times a day let the world for what it is and withdraw a few minutes. I promise you, the world will not end in those 5 minutes!
  5. Move! Come on, let's get back to moving. I can't make much more of it. If you want to stay mentally fit you have to keep moving. If you have trouble going to the gym or running, go for a walk. Not only is active walking really nice, it is also an extremely good stress reliever. Just 20 minutes a day will do the trick. So put on your shoes and go for a walk. There is also a free app from the Dutch Brain Foundation that will help you get into a rhythm. 

Irritating, isn't it! The kind of list you find on just about every blog. Actually it is a very cliché list. But maybe they are cliché for a reason. I know for sure that no so called miracle cure can compete with a healthy and balanced life. Of course I never have that balance thanks to my desire to "put a dent in the universe" with my work (thanks Steve Jobs for this cliché but still beautiful statement!). Try out what works for you and ignore the rest! Or do something completely different. As long as it works for you. We've been in a Burnout epidemic for a few years now and Corona isn't going to ease it anytime soon. So take care of yourself and the people around you! Then we can all make many more beautiful dreams come true.

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