Today’s blog is a bit more personal. Some thoughts, realizations, and advice from the Active8me founder and CEO Jeremy Rolleston.
I have recently returned from my first real holiday in three years. Why is that significant you ask? And what does that have to do with mindfulness? And how is that relevant to you?
Well three years ago, I founded Active8me with a clear vision of building a healthier future for those across Asia, and ultimately making a positive impact on people’s lives through health, fitness and wellness.
And yet, the irony here is that I’ve been a hypocrite.
You see, my holiday was bliss. BUT…
The reality of the last three years has been endless 12-hour workdays. I can count on one hand my work-free days in those three years. That is not necessarily a good thing. I already knew what hard work was – both as an athlete and working at the likes of Goldman Sachs. But the harsh reality of a start-up is there is no ‘OFF’ button. I’ve never worked harder. And with no income as a reward! All to make Active8me a success – both from a business perspective and to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I’m driven and I’m passionate about this!
Alongside the workouts and nutrition plans, Active8me provides weekly mindset lessons. I love writing and recording these. Lessons around habits, motivation, self-sabotage, making a change, positive psychology… and mindfulness.
Enter my hypocrisy – What about my own balance? What about my own mindfulness?
It took a much-needed holiday to bring me perspective. It was a timely reminder that helped make an internal shift so that I can be more successful at living what I preach.
With this in mind let me share with you some thoughts around mindfulness and incorporating it into our real and busy lives – whether you’re in a start-up, you’re an employer or an employee, or a busy full time parent.
1. You make time for what’s important
No matter how busy we are, we always make time for what’s important to us. Family, fitness, holidays, shopping or whatever it is. So, the starting point here is whether we truly value our health. Be honest, do you really make time for your health? And do you feel stress and mental wellness are part of that?
Did you know that up to 65% of employees report work as the major stress in their lives? It makes sense to me – we are under more pressure at work to perform at a high level than ever before. This is against a backdrop of reduced resourcing as companies minimise rather than grow workforces. Life is both costlier and busier than ever before.
For that reason, it seems to me that successfully adopting mindfulness practices in our working worlds is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a ‘necessity to have’. It’s time to make time for your health. Yes, of course, to reduce stress and enhance work performance. But, most importantly to achieve balance in our lifestyles. I’m a case in point…and I run a health and wellness company!
So, think carefully, what impact is stress having in your life and how important is your mental wellness?
2. What is mindfulness?
I think a lot of people think mindfulness refers to some out-there, mystical, yogi-like activity. What if I said it could be as simple as some mindful breathing to help you establish a mind-body connection so you can relax, remove stress and be more present? To be mindful not mind full J We are all capable of mindfulness.
3. Find what works for you
If the aim of being more mindful is to be less stressed, more present, and to have that perspective and life balance that we all have when on holiday… then the challenge is how to incorporate it into our everyday busy lives. In this respect it is not one size fits all. Is this going for a walk? Doing some breathing exercises? Going for a swim where no one can get at you? Meditating? Or doing a workout?
Find what works for you. I’m trying hard to do this so I can be present and committed to the work task at hand, and present and engaged when I’m at home with my family. And to do all this with less stress and more perspective and balance.
4. In the workplace
Firstly, let’s not over complicate mindfulness. This has proved a barrier in my experience. If employers can explain simply what it is and why it is so beneficial for employees then that’s a great and necessary start. Make it personal, but also know that there are plenty of studies to support you. This is backed by science and psychology.
Secondly, being the ‘boss’ doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be the leader in a wellness program. Although walking the talk when it comes to any health and wellness program is obviously imperative, you can have ‘champions’ too. Empower your champion employees, at all levels, to lead the implementation of mindfulness by modeling behaviours and practices that can benefit all.
And lastly, it’s important to remember that your people are your most important asset. Building a strong foundation of mindfulness is recognizing that. Great companies are built by great people. And employees who are healthy and well makes good business sense.
Mindfulness, Hypocrisy and Burnout
I’ve returned from my family holiday and feel refreshed, energized and even more excited to make Active8me the most useful and accessible health, fitness and wellness tool for those across Asia. For me completely ‘switching off’ is not achievable (and likely not for many of you either). But what I am going to try and better achieve is to make mindfulness a part of my busy and real everyday life. To be mindful not mind full. To be less stressed. To avoid burnout. To be more present. To have more mental spaciousness. To have more balance. To have more wellness in my life.
I hope this post is both instructive and challenging. And I look forward to hearing your thoughts and stories.
Now over to you.