Over the past year, one thing has become a subject for me. It’s the only thing I focus on when things get tough. And that is the importance of appearing completely every morning, no matter how I feel that day.
In leadership and business, people value when you show up constantly every day. Adopting this mentality is no small achievement. But there are some things that you can do to motivate yourself through the ups and downs of business.
1. Get pleasure in daily challenges.
There are two main reasons that make me excited to show up at the office every day. I have a passion for people who work with me. Looking at the people who are willing to work hard and develop this company, there is one thing that I feed. It is really refreshing.
And two, every day brings something new. This idea is exciting. Life (and especially work) is a series of problems in need of solutions. I try to focus on finding pleasure in that process rather than focusing too much on the outcome of a particular problem.
2. Steps to improve mental health.
Most people focus on the physical benefits of an active lifestyle. But a walk to the gym, a round of tennis, walking around the lake, etc. can all help with mental maintenance. In fact, researchers suggest exercising 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week to get the necessary brain gains.
I try to get up at around 6:30, so I’ve got enough time for a run. I am fortunate to live in Santa Monica, California, where my run is across the ocean and back. But any kind of exercise should provide the same benefits. Then I do a 10-minute guided meditation with Sam Harris’ waking app.
If meditation is not your thing, then just sit for a moment and think — or maybe read the articles of those you respect or admire. The goal here is to place you in a positive head space to prepare you for the intensity of the workday.
3. Build your community.
I think there is more of an introvert than most people. So my first instinct under pressure is to “retreat to explore things on my own”. This tendency is something that I actively try to counter. As I have discovered during my basketball days, it does not matter how well I will play if my team is not good or we are not playing together.
I cannot advance the importance of community beyond goodness and performance. The best ideas do not occur in isolation, and the most difficult problems are rarely solved in silos. Also, having a strong community outside of work helps me get away from the all-consuming founding lifestyle when needed.
4. Stay out of your inbox.
For the longest time, I do not check email when I first wake up; It was almost as if it gave me an adrenaline rush. As I actually did, it made me anxious as soon as my morning started. Studies show that living forever is not only bad for your mental health, but it can make you less productive.
Now I try to limit my screen time for the first hour of the day – until I am ready to start my workday. Keeping your inbox closed until later in the day ensures that emails do not become your to-do list and allows you to be proactive rather than reactive in the workplace.