What does running your business and nourishing your body have to do with each other? A helluva lot, it turns out.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I embarked on a food transformation. While we both eat fairly healthy, we were still feeling run down in the afternoons, defaulting to poor food choices when tired and generally getting confused by all the conflicting nutrition info that is out there.
Fed up, we called in a big gun: food and body coach Jamie G. Dougherty of Jamie Living. I was introduced to Jamie through not one, but two entrepreneurial women friends as “someone I just had to know.” We met and it was the best blind date ever. With our curly hair and smart mouths, we hit it off like a house on fire.
Fast forward: Jamie is sitting at my dining room table with me and my husband, talking us through our food choices, purging our pantry and giving us the straight talk on what labels really mean and how to incorporate healthy eating without stooping to diet plans with trademarked names. Jamie is about being educated, making intentional choices, finding ways to savor delicious food (she’s a foodie herself) and especially, how to avoid hating yourself. Love your body and fuel it right but if you make a deliberate choice, enjoy the choice and love yourself anyway, is kind of her mantra.
So we started overstocking our fridge with freshness, living without as much processed food as can, cooking meals in bulk to use throughout the week and navigating this whole terrain of “making positive changes: I’ve soaked beans for the first time in my life, rather than popping open a can. We tried kale. I had oatmeal for breakfast. We actually asked if the meat we were buying was hormone-free. I threw away my agave nectar. My husband cut out his daily soy latte….. We’re through the Looking Glass, people!
Now, we have an expanded repertoire of delicious, farm-fresh, some might say gourmet, meals at our disposal. We ate extremely well without counting calories or depriving ourselves. We instantly felt less tired and run down – able to get through our workouts and busy days and even have fun cooking and planning together as a couple.
I’ve marveled at the lessons that apply to your business as well as your body during this transformation:
- Garbage in, Garbage out: Your food really does fuel YOU, the machine. The more crap you put in, the worse you’ll feel and it’s I’m not talking about emotional guilt. It’s about how your body physically performs. Same thing with your business: you’ve got to surround yourself with cheerleaders, partners and, yes, the right clients and customers so that your business can thrive and your brand can shine the way you want it to. Do you really want people around town saying how that untrustworthy partner you recommended reflect badly on you? Didn’t think so. And side note: when you fuel yourself right, you can think more clearly, perform better and delight customers even more, so it directly impacts your bottom line. You’ve got to bring your best self to work every day because, whether you do or you don’t, it shows up.
- A Little Planning Goes a Long Way: The reason processed foods full of chemicals and empty calories are so popular is because they’re easy. It’s why they are called convenience foods, people. But taking some time out to plan your meals and prepare dishes in advance to freeze or have at the ready makes the week a breeze. We’re actually enjoying this as a weekend activity we can do together. One hour of shopping and two hours of cooking sustained us for the entire week (of course, we cooked some things fresh at mealtime but nothing complicated). Your business is like that: if you think through your brand strategy before you start “performing random acts of marketing”, you’ll avoid shiny object syndrome. Plan your brand image intentionally. Flesh out your target customer and craft design and messaging that compels them. Carve out time to write your content and blog posts. Mark 20 minutes of social media time per day on your calendar like a meeting. You’ll spend more wisely, get more impact and put your business into overdrive.
- Don’t Believe Everything You Hear/Read/See: We were floored to learn that some of the foods we thought were somewhat healthy really are not. Here we are, trying to make good food choices, and we learned a ton about what food companies will stoop to say and do to make you think you’re making a good choice for your family. It actually made us both disgusted to be marketers, to tell you the truth. For example, did you know “natural flavors” as an ingredient is not good for you? Did you know manufacturers list sugars and MSG as other names on the ingredients list to fool you? Do you know which cooking oils are “good for you” and which you should use in moderation – or not at all? Did you know that just because it says “whole grain” doesn’t mean it really is? We didn’t either. With your business, the same holds true. You don’t have to be an expert in everything (nor should you spend your time trying to be) but get educated on the basics. Understand the concepts of content marketing and SEO; take a course in how to read financial statements or understand QuickBooks 101; learn how to balance good design and good interactive strategy and usability; learn how your brand look and feel drives sales; understand the difference between branding, marketing, PR and social media. Be clear on what you’re investing in and how it will contribute to moving your business forward.
Photo credit: Racerxvt.com
Do any of these tips especially resonate with you – for your body or your business? What do you find fuels you or your business the most? Please share in the Comments below!