How can I increase my productivity as a founder while gaining clarity?
Entrepreneurship Mar 31, 2019
The key to entrepreneurial success lies at your doorstep
We read a lot about the steps it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. They revolve around networking, innovation, perseverance, collaboration, seizing opportunities, and on and on goes the list. A list of advice you and I both often get trapped in – or so I assume – since we are heading towards the same goal of being a great entrepreneur, regardless if you are just starting out/up, or if you have been successfully in business for decades.
I suggest 10,000 steps to success.
Daily. That’s right, 10,000 steps daily, and I mean that literally.
Successful entrepreneurs walk. A lot. And not on a treadmill. They walk, because it is their secret weapon for mind and body to be in balance, resulting in a productivity and creativity boost. This is a good thing for every body, but essential for entrepreneurs.
When you start walking, two amazing things happen:
- You are by yourself. You are not in front of a screen nor conversing with others. This leads to your mind having some free time to wander off.
- You are re-invigorating your body. Mens sana in corpore sano – A sound mind in a sound body. Age old wisdom, we all know it, but we focus on extreme workouts or busy gyms instead of long, meditative walks.
As many of you know, I spend my days conducting brand strategy sessions with my clients, sometimes 9 hours in one go, until we find the right strategy. I speak to groups of entrepreneurs, sometimes hundreds in a room. I give ad hoc brand advice over the phone, while assisting my international clients with ongoing brand strategy assistance. In-between, I drive the creative output of my consultancy’s talented designers and strategists. And yes, I also write a weekly column on branding in this space (obviously not this week as I temporarily transitioned into a ‘fitness guru’ – temporarily, I promise!).
All of this is exhilarating, a nonstop intellectual challenge for my mind, while my body is being neglected standing or sitting an unhealthy 10 hours a day, Monday to Friday. Hence I make it a point to walk every evening for as long as time allows, sometimes only 20 minutes, and for a few hours on the weekends. I do this religiously. Solo, just me and my thoughts, often surrounded by nature’s wonders. Lucky to be living near the coast in Los Angeles, I walk on beaches and cliffs overlooking the ocean. If I am working out of a different city, I walk from one end to another and hitch an Uber back (which co-incidentally is the best way to authentically discover and understand a city in a few hours time).
Where and how you walk makes a difference. You either turn your mind off completely, or you set yourself up to stimulate creative thoughts. I am not a fitness expert nor a therapist by any means. I am an entrepreneur who has analyzed his walks and loves the way it positively shapes his business. Given my decades of ‘walking with a purpose,’ I suggest you choose your walk based on your state of mind:
If you seek to relax, relieve stress and turn off your mind I rather counter-intuitively suggest you go on complicated, more strenuous hikes. Sounds strange, I know. No lengthy, sandy beach walks listening to crashing waves for you when you are overworked or overwhelmed – sorry! Instead, pick routes that require you to pay attention to the path and your surroundings at all times, that way your mind is focused on a task that is not business-related, while your body gets naturally (positively) exhausted. Afterwards you will feel rejuvenated and ready to look at your business challenges in a new, calm manner.
If you want to think, go on easy walks. If you need to brainstorm, solve a problem, plan a pitch, or simply want to recap the events of the day or the week (or plan for what’s around the corner) take that beach walk or be on that flat endless city walking path. It will trigger ideas, nearly guaranteed. I abruptly stop to send an E-Mail to myself every few minutes during those walks, because thoughts just keep popping up; thoughts that otherwise would not find space to be generated. Yes, the idea to write this article made its way to my Inbox in the same manner, during a stunning Saturday morning walk.
Many steps to entrepreneurial success take time and effort to implement. Many are bogus. Walking your neighborhood every day and making an effort to walk in nature on the weekends takes very little effort and your business will immediately be fueled by the results, while your body, your co-workers and your significant other will feel the positive side-effects.
See, I told you those would be 10,000 easy steps. Now, get going, for your business’ sake! And I’ll get back to writing about branding.