Body and Fitness
You are saying, that physically how you are, helps determine how you think. That our body is not just a “head-carrier”. How important is it then? What’s your physical position for great work?
Michael: I’m a big believer in this: If you want to change the way you think, change your body and change your environment. I know that when I sit down at my computer, that’s a place for me to do Good Work. Everything says: “be productive, be efficient, process your work, get through stuff.” For me to do my Great Work - for instance, writing my next book, I need to be somewhere else to do that. I’ve got another small desk set up in my office where (most of the time at least) I keep nothing but a few inspirational tokens that I keep for writing and thinking. I also have a cafe about 10 minutes away from my office where I occasionally go.
How did practicing sports influence your way of working and self-organization?
Miguel: Since early childhood I have been practicing sports that required a strong discipline and compromise with the trainer and colleagues from team. With years, this routine translated into a certain way of living. You have to schedule your day to have enough time for work, trainings and enjoying life. This kind of physical and psychological fitness is required in sports like athletics or rugby. They help you develop your will to make the extra effort and to pursue your goals.
And health. You have mentioned health. You are a runner and you love running, so how important was running and fitness to this as well?
Michael: Well it hasn’t always been important to me. I think that when I was young I was under the mistaken notion that I would live forever. You kind of feel immortal. And then I started experiencing some chest pains in my late forties. As it turned out it was an indigestion issue and I got some medication for it. But it scared me to death and I said “I’ve got to start taking care of myself — I can’t take my health for granted" and in fact, I came to a realization, Michael, that the decisions I was making today were going to impact my quality of life later… tomorrow… maybe years from now.
So I started running. Actually, I started walking. And as I began to walk I thought, “maybe I could start jogging a little bit" and I started reading some books on running, which really motivated me… and then I got this crazy notion that I was going to run a half-marathon and I made the mistake (which actually turned out to be a good thing) of announcing on my blog that I was going to run the half-marathon and invited people to run with me. Then I was pinned into a corner, so to speak; I couldn’t back out. So I had to run it. I have now done it for years and currently close to 160 of my employees run with me, because we have made being healthy a focus throughout our whole company.
Wow, that’s impressive!
Michael: You know I think there is a direct correlation between health and productivity. People that are healthy are more productive, because they have more mental focus, they have more energy, they have more stamina, they just get things done more quickly and more productively. So I do think there is a correlation between these two.
The secret to running, like so many other things, is to take that first step. My oldest daughter says to me “I don’t really try to focus on running. I just really want to get my running shoes on. if I do that everything else takes care of itself”. So just a little baby-step “get my shoes on, everything else takes care of itself”.
I have been having some issues last year when I couldn’t find time to do physical training, and I got chubby and I got disillusioned and it was really bad. And then when a friend of mine who is a professional athlete helped me out, gave me these small goals then suddenly, after one year I lost almost 20 pounds, I feel just a lot better and then I get this energy and I have this thing to also look forward to. I want to do a triathlon one day as well.
Jason: The three things for me to answer the prompt: one is — surround yourself by people who understand you, support you, that will push on you, that will encourage you. The second one is: look at the physical sustainability, and the environment… companies are talking about CSR, “corporate social responsibility"… I’m looking at ISR, "individual social responsibility”.
If I don’t rest, if I don’t take care of my body I’m just not fun to be around and I know that. And then I think the third one would be to clarify your “so that”. Call it “purpose”, call it “reason”, call it your “why”. In my book, in one of the chapters, I explore this concept of “so that” and when I clarify that, when I understand that, things just seem to show up to support me in that direction.
Photo: Flickr / mitko_denev CC BY-NC 2.0