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How to Kill it in Business and Life – Archangel Summit

I love Toronto, despite the high cost of living and infuriating traffic my heart hurts every time I leave and I smile ever whenever the city skyline appears in the horizon. This Wednesday added another check to the Pro-Toronto column. Giovanni Marsico assembled one of the most experienced, humble and giving lineups (Robin Sharma, Seth Godin, Dan Martell, Gary Vee plus many more) for a day of learning and sharing.

archangel 1.jpeg

Below are the top 5 things I learned at the Archangel Summit!

1. Come from Love

A message that was a theme in every single presentation and physically palpable throughout the day. We MUST come from love or our business and in many regards our life will never be successful. We crave authenticity and recognize it innately if we are pretending to care or falsifying love everyone will know. Be genuine, be loving and want to make a difference.

2. Consume Knowledge Viscously

On two separate occasions (perhaps more that I can’t recall in the aftermath) the archaic nature of our education system was discussed. In a rapidly changing society, our academic institutions have refused to adapt. However, in both instances, the pursuit of knowledge was praised and stressed. We must devour content on our topic with malicious intent, learning is a muscle that must be trained every day!

3. Have Patience in the Process

This is one of the lessons that I am admittedly horrible at. I want to do everything and I want it to happen yesterday. Our culture has been set up for instant gratification and we have forgotten the importance of patience and process, I may be the worst of all. It will happen when it happens and no amount of impatience and hurriedness will accelerate it. We can only work hard and enjoy the process.

4. Dance with your Fears

Seth Godin used this specific term but the message was consistent across all speakers. Fear is present and will always be present, something that I am intimately aware of every time I agree to fight another man for sport. We cannot repress fear; it will merely wait in the wings until the next moment you truly care about an attempt to bring ruin. If we can dance with our fears, acknowledge them and appreciate them we can create greatness.

5. Know What You Know

This seems obvious but merits repeating, know what you know. Understand your craft completely, inside and out, and be able to discuss and debate all of its aspects. BUT, if you don’t know, admit you don’t know. We often think people will judge us for not knowing but truthfully they will be impressed with the honesty. Shine in the light, don’t fumble in the darkness.

Back To Basics – Why More is Less

We have both been fortunate enough to work with a large number of professional athletes over the past 3 years, specifically professional hockey players which are fitting for our Northern climate. I often feel that I learn more lessons than I teach but today I was lucky enough to be able to share some knowledge with a wonderful young man that I hope positively influences his life.

I spent the hour car ride home ruminating on our conversation and I think it is an important lesson to share. This particular player is a “linchpin” in his organization (also the name of a fantastic Seth Godin novel which I highly recommend) and a top player in the entire league. He is exceptionally driven and extremely coachable.

linchpinWe were discussing an exclusive skill development coach that he utilizes and the rise in popularity. Obviously, this is phenomenal for the coach but this player was worried about other people learning the same technique and diminishing his “edge”. It is an understandable fear but in my humble opinion completely wrong.

Great athletes are not great because they know something others do not, they are great because they execute the fundamentals. Mastery of craft is the ultimate goal in any arena of life and that comes about by spending hours and hours drilling the basics. We search for complexity when we really need simplicity.

You cannot control what knowledge others have or predict their thoughts, you can, however, control your actions and ensure that you execute as close to perfect as possible. Winning/ Success is the result of executing basics on a consistent basis, not a secret recipe involving complex parts. What your opponent knows or does not is irrelevant because you are leaving them no opportunities. This idea is applicable to all areas of life, from school to work to relationships. You will always be presented with challenges but focusing on consistent basics will always create success.

Staying Healthy on The Road

We live in an amazing time, you can step into a metal tube and a handful of hours later arrive in a different area of the globe, thousands of miles from home. The speed of travel has allowed us to conduct business on any continent and created connections that we never could have imagined a few generations ago. We love traveling and appreciate the benefits of being exposed to a new culture and different ideas.

We also realize how hard travel can be on the body, both the physical act and the inability to keep training while on the road. With that in mind, we’ve put together a three-part blog on maximizing your performance while you’re off globetrotting, be it for business or pleasure.

Part 1 (below) will provide you with a few helpful tips on controlling your sleep and making sure you maximize your recharge time.

Travel can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. Between the awkward flight times, the far too small plane seat and the potential time difference it’s no surprise that you are wide awake at 4 am binge-watching Brooklyn 99 on Netflix. We want to help reduce your sleep disruption and make sure you maximize your downtime. Here are our 3 quick sleep tips.

Regulate light exposure 

Our bodies are regulated through a cycle known as our Circadian Rhythm. This biological process is roughly 24 hours long and regulates the release of chemical substances in our body that directly influence our alertness based on the time of day.  Our exposure to light also has a direct influence on our CR and subsequently our level of alertness.

Even if your eyes are closed the light will permeate your eyelids and start drawing your body out of the deep REM sleep we so desperately crave. The light exposure is not limited to sunlight alone, the strip lighting or the glow from your cellphone/ laptop will have a similar effect. Heavy curtains and a sleep mask are two great ways to avoid light exposure. We also suggest putting all electronics on airplane-mode and in a location that cannot disrupt you to avoid being woken during the night.

Melatonin and Caffeine –

Caffeine is a polarizing topic in the health and wellness space and the debate is never-ending. We at Championship Lifestyle love coffee (in moderation) but I’ll save the caffeine debate for a later time. Caffeine obviously has the ability to facilitate an increase in alertness and energy. Its antagonist, mentioned above, is Melatonin, a chemical produced naturally that helps to relax the body and prepare it for sleep.

The travel schedule and time difference will often disrupt the regular release of Melatonin, particularly light exposure mentioned above. It will delay the release of Melatonin and cause prolonged alertness at odd hours. We can combat this by supplementing with Melatonin 1-2 hours before bed. It will help relax your nervous system and increase your ability to fall asleep at an appropriate time.

The opposite is true for caffeine, supplementation coupled with sunlight shortly after waking can jump start your nervous system and help expedite your adjustment to the present time zone.

 

espresso
Nectar of the Gods

 

Supplementation combined with controlled light exposure will go a long way in minimizing jet lag associated with lack of sleep.

Screen Free 

Our last tip on improving sleep is a topic that is slowly gaining traction and receiving more emphasis. It ties in with our previous point of light exposure and the effect on our circadian rhythm.

In addition to providing a light source, the screen also stimulates our nervous system at a time when our body is attempting to enter a parasympathetic state. Several studies, based primarily out of Scandinavian countries, have shown a significant link between screen time prior to bed and decreased the ability to recover. They are also linking potential predispositions towards Mood Disorders and Insomnia as a result of our habitual screen starring.

Our suggestion is not a new one but merits repeating, put your electronic devices on airplane mode and turn them face down an hour before bed. Instead of checking an email or watching Netflix, grab a book, (not a kindle or kobo) a real paper and ink book. Allowing your nervous system an opportunity to power down will decrease the length of time it takes you to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality.

Running Season – Three Tips for Staying Injury Free

‘yogging with a soft J”

Every year around May (July if you are from Northern Ontario and winter lasts 10 months-Story of my life) the streets are flooded with a plethora of fresh health enthusiasts turning the sidewalks into an interstate highway.

Personally, I’ve had a real On-Off relationship with jogging over the last 10 years. We’ve dated seriously for a few months then take an extended break with no-contact for half of the year. For a while, we would hook up for a single night on a whim, but as of late it has become much more structured. We date 1-2x / week and appreciate our time together much more.

In a lot of ways my relationship with running mirrors that of the North American Health and Wellness space. When exercise began gaining momentum in the modern era, aerobic fitness (specifically jogging), was the currency of the realm, the more miles you logged the better your health. The focus eventually shifted and we bought into the idea that it was horrible for your joints and would “make you slow”; interval work was thrust to the forefront. Since then I believe the consensus has found a healthier middle ground, we see the value in aerobic training but understand that it is also important to spend time on other activities.

Where on the spectrum does your running relationship rank? Are you a dedicated marathoner? An occasional guilty Monday jogger? Did you start last month when the weather warmed up? Do you fall somewhere in between? No matter your running marital status the three tips below are guaranteed to improve your Running Relationship.

Warm Up –

Everyone who participates in some form of exercise knows the value of warm up, it has been mentioned in every gym class, soccer practice and group fitness session. Yet, the number of people who actually take the time to complete a proper warm-up is alarmingly low.

warm up

A warm-up serves multiple purposes, it raises our core temperature and activates the proper muscle groups but more importantly, it decreases our risk of injury. The goal of our training is to improve our quality of life not decrease it and an injury is never positive.

The three major components of a warm-up are below, check back later this week for a breakdown of each!

a.     Mobility

b.     Activation

c.     Dynamic Movement

Monitor Intensity / Volume –

I am not a great swimmer, I won’t drown if you were to toss me in a pool and I could struggle through a few laps but by no means am I podium worthy. I know that and should I spontaneously decide I want to swim across the English Channel (which will never happen) I wouldn’t pretend that I was immediately ready.  Running is no different yet people who haven’t run in 10 years believe they can handle the distance and duration of their younger self. Take your time, start slowly and build up progressively. A universal rule in the running community is 10 percent. Don’t increase your volume by more than 10 percent per week, staying within this number should keep you relatively safe from injury.

Strength Train

A friend of ours owns a gym and one of their signature shirts has this quote across the back, “Being strong is never a weakness”. Perhaps not the most eloquently said but the core idea is solid. Having a basic level of strength is crucial to avoiding injury and improving performance in all aspects of life. You do not need to become a competitive powerlifter but if you refuse to spend time strength training you will eventually develop overuse injuries as a result of running’s repetitive nature.

split lift

Don’t Just Chase Your Dreams

DON’T JUST CHASE YOUR DREAMS…

I was asked recently where I was from (Sault Ste Marie) and why I moved to Toronto (athletic and professional career). When I answered he nodded his head in a seemingly knowing manner and replied: “Oh chasing the dream.”

I hate the saying, I understand what it represents but the words we choose directly influence our outlook. The word “Chase” conjures up images of a hopeless dog after a much-to-quick rabbit. “Chase” is the childish younger brother that is still partying all night and sleeping all day because he hasn’t yet decided what type of legacy he wants to create. “Chase” is without a plan or focus, and ultimately, just “chasing” your dreams will never be enough.

HUNT your dreams down! The replacement of one word changes the entire outlook on the situation. Instead of overmatched and wild it has become methodical and precise. You are now the wolf closing in on its prey, wearing it down daily and making adjustments until it collapses at your feet instead of the hapless dog.

So, you’re sick of fruitless circles and want to start hunting down your dreams but aren’t sure where to start? Below are my top three tips for becoming a Dream Hunter.

1.) Plan… “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” -B. Franklin

Mr. Franklin is frequently referenced, for good reason. It’s important to sit down and plan out your attack. I have heard some experts suggest 5 – 10 years in the future but it is next to impossible to accurately estimate your position in 10 years. I would instead suggest writing your goals for the following:

-1 month

-3 month

-6 month

-1 year

Now that you have written your goals add 1-3 notes on how to achieve each of them. These bullet points will become your flexible action plan. Constantly assess and evaluate what strategies are successful and bringing you closer to your goals. Incorporate more of those actions and discard the ones that haven’t proven useful. Having a plan will create focus and clarity in your work, and keep you moving in the right direction.

2.) Know your WHY… “There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we disciver why” – W. Barclay

There are several motivational speakers and lifestyle coaches that preach how vital knowing your “WHY” is to achieving success. Everyone has their own guru but I love listening to “ET” Eric Thomas because he has so much passion and excitement.

If you don’t know why you are hunting your dreams how can you expect yourself to put in the necessary work? Set aside some time for reflection and write down your WHY(s), having them in front of you will help you stay motivated and on task.

Check out the short clip below on knowing your WHY.

3.) Develop Staying Power…“The ability to maintain an activity or commitment despite fatigue or difficulty.”

Personally, I feel this is the most important ability when hunting down your dreams. You will get hit, certainly metaphorically but perhaps literally. Sometimes it will be minor, the whip of a branch as you pound down the trail after your dream, and sometimes the ground will fall out underneath you. You have to develop your staying power and be willing to absorb and learn from whatever is thrown your way.

I fight mixed martial arts professionally, a sport where the stakes are as high as they can be every time I step under the lights. I’ve lost and it has hurt, but I understand the value of adversity and I am a better fighter and person because of those experiences. I will stay the course.

Far too often people have the courage to take the first step but as soon as they encounter adversity will flounder and quit. You cannot know exactly what to expect but you can be prepared to endure it.

An integral part of living a Championship Lifestyle is hunting down your dreams every single day and I hope you can begin implementing those three tips into your life immediately. Plan, Know your Why and Develop Staying Power. Don’t just chase, Hunt!