As you read this, I’m getting sliced and diced on the operating table. (Unless, you know, you’re not reading it the instant it was published. Whatever.)
Having this surgery means I won’t be able to fly to the US for the World Domination Summit this year, as I intended. If I do, I could get a blood clot and die on the plane. I’ve written before about how WDS literally changed my life and set the wheels in motion for me to start my business.
And this is an optional surgery. I don’t have to have it. Wait, that makes it sound like I’m getting a boob job. I’m not. I’m having a torn ligament replaced in my knee. I’ve done without that ligament since October 2012 (in fact, I tore it approximately two weeks after I made my first money from writing). So why am I having the surgery now, instead of going to WDS?
Because my health is my number one priority. And it should be yours too. (Er, your own health. Although I am flattered.) Having this surgery means I will be able to play sports again, to exercise harder, faster, longer, more explosively. To sprint without my leg giving way. To jump without crashing to the ground afterwards.
And that shit is important. Because if your health is fucked, so is every other aspect of your life — including your business.
How Your Health Can Impact Your Business
If you don’t get enough sleep or eat the right foods, you will basically be a zombie. You won’t have the energy you need to do the tasks that will keep your business going. And your business will fail, or be a total misery to run at the very least.
You won’t get any ideas either. Definitely not any coherent, good ones, anyway. And ideas are kind of important in business. You need to keep innovating, coming up with newer, better ways to serve people. Because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everything — EVERYTHING — is always changing. Your business won’t stay the same. Neither will mine. Sometimes I look at Untamed Writing and I say, ‘Hey, is this what I’ll be doing in 40 years? That would be weird, but I also can’t imagine ever doing anything else.’ The key is to keep changing, keep flowing with everything else. Basically: keep improving. So: keep having ideas.
If you eat Coco Pops for breakfast and then try to get to work, your brain is probably going to be all over the fucking place. Hi Facebook! Hi Twitter! Hi Pinterest! Jesus Christ. Running your own business isn’t a brainless task you can do while you watch Netflix in the background. It requires actual concentration, and coherent thoughts, and the ability to sit down and do the work.
Everyone knows being in bad health can increase your stress levels. But running a business is stressful enough without pisspoor health adding to it. Why compound the problem?
If you’ve got energy + ideas + concentration + no stress, you know what that means, right? PRODUCTIVITY. Which, as we all know, is the one thing you absolutely must nail if you’re going to be in business. If you don’t produce anything, you don’t have a business.
How to Look After Your Health
Listen, you already know how to look after your health. I’m not about to tell you anything groundbreaking. But let’s do it anyway, because I’m not one for writing half an article.
Stop eating shit
Duh. You know: processed foods, ready meals, sugar sugar sugar, takeaways, all that stuff. Eat lots of vegetables, good cuts of meat, and butter instead of evil margarine. Just eat real food, none of that fake crap.
Know what can help with this? PLANNING. Plan and prepare your meals in advance. The times I am most likely to eat crap are when a) I’m on a deadline and I haven’t got any healthy food prepared in the house, and b) I haven’t had enough sleep. So now I make a big pot of something — chilli or curry or whatever — and keep it in the fridge, with a couple of portions in the freezer. I also bake a tray of pork chops or chicken breasts so I get enough protein and a bit of variety, and I keep portioned, pre-prepared, microwaveable bags of vegetables in the freezer, to make sure I actually eat vegetables. (I hate cooking. And I especially hate chopping vegetables.) Planning helps with everything else too, not just eating healthy foods, but that’s a tale for another day.
Exercise every day
Double duh. Just do it, okay? Start easy if you don’t do anything yet. Just go for a walk ten minutes a day, or do ten pushups. By the end of the year you could be running ten miles or beasting weights at the gym. Also make sure you find something you actually enjoy, like a team sport, or climbing, or something else fun. It doesn’t have to be running or strength exercises. Just something you will actually do.
Go outside every day, preferably into nature
S’not just your physical health you’ve got to watch in this game. Running your own business is challenging, and, if you do it the way I do, from home, alone, it can do dark things to the deepest parts of your brain if you’re not careful. It’s way too easy to stay at home all day when you don’t actually need to go outside for anything.
So get your ass outside every day, ideally near some trees or running water or greenery. Breathe it in. Stop and smell the flowers, literally. I do this all the time. I breathe in the fresh cut grass, pretty much every single flower I walk past to see if it has a smell (honeysuckles, mahonia, bluebells — just you try and stop me), the damp, earthy smell of the evergreens on a misty day, the smoke from the woodburning stoves on the canal boats I pass. I breathe all that good shit in. Getting away from everything will help you think through things and gain clarity on stuff you’ve been struggling with.
Hang out with people you like
Another mental health thing. Socialise occasionally, and not just with people on Facebook, you hear me?
Get enough sleep
You already know my stance on this. Getting enough sleep is the MOST important thing you can do ever. Because if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t do all that other stuff you need to do to stay healthy either. Because who the fuck COOKS when they’ve only had five hours sleep? Not me. Five hours sleep = pizza delivery. Not enough sleep = skipping your workout in favour of lying in bed watching ‘just one more’ episode of House of Cards. And so on.
Keeping fit and healthy is one of the best things you can do to grow your business, though it’s probably not something I will talk about much here. If you’re really serious about looking after your health — and you should be — you should check out Nerd Fitness. It’s my favourite site for health and fitness info — pretty much the only one I read. (Also, I once told Steve Kamb, the owner of the site, that he was ‘the most charming motherfucker I ever met’. Which hopefully he doesn’t remember. YAY BEER.)
REMINDER: Registration for Untamed Writing School is currently OPEN, and the next class commences on June 6. If you want a kick up the ass to get your own freelance writing biz started, check it out.