In the late 80’s early 90’s; I went from being a gym owner, trainer, and health seminar speaker, to becoming an Internet entrepreneur. For ten long and relentless years, my lifestyle underwent a radical transformation in the wrong direction and unfortunately so did my body.
I started the decade fit, vital, and strong; I ended overwhelmed, exhausted, and overweight even though I knew volumes about diet and fitness. The pace of my work life far outpaced my ability to take care of myself. Living out of balance led to overeating, inactivity, an inability to perform well, and health complications.
Despite eating relatively “healthy” and exercising fairly regularly I remained on a “downward trend,” fatigued, and progressively more overweight. Week after week, I contemplated how I would change my life – but I kept moving forward tirelessly – over-engaging and taking on more and more. I had everything going on but was barely hanging on, either far too busy or just too worn out to make a change. I was keeping commitments to everyone, but myself. I felt stuck. I spiraled down and eventually couldn’t take it anymore.
At 30 years old, I was fat, fatigued, and burnt-out and given my prior career experience, that was hard to accept. It wasn’t until the dot-com crash of 2000 eventually lead to my own crash late that same year, when I finally said enough; “it’s time for a better way.” I need to set up a lifestyle that promoted balance and health, as well as the high-achieving life I tended to live.
This was my first real bout with burnout, and the consequences. And it would not be my last.
When I finally began to change my lifestyle after months of figuring a new course and hopping around from one program to the next, I knew I would need to be proactive. It was 2001; I was faced with relentless demands on my time and energy, and working in a new environment that valued caffeine and fast food. Long standing fatigue was consuming me and there was little left over for physical activity. So I took a couple steps back.
The interesting thing is I didn’t go on a diet or start exercising in a regimented way, the way I used to, or deal with the most obvious symptom; overweight. Instead, I began streamlining and simplifying my life to free up as much time, space and energy as possible, something I hadn’t had enough of for a very long time. I started recuperating my energy, getting more sleep, improving the quality of the food I was eating, and increased my physical activity to a point I could handle.
I knew the only way my lifestyle would get better is if I had something to target that inspired me to perform “well.” I then identified bigger goals; goals that required a lot of energy for endurance; goals that were bigger than weight loss or better health alone. I started with two goals -sales success in my job and a mountain biking event. I began to organize many aspects of my lifestyle around these goals. The better I lived, the better I worked, the better results I would get across the board.
In the days, weeks, and months leading up to that bike event making sure I got enough rest became one of my highest priorities and has been ever since. Realizing I would essentially always be preparing for some type of event in my life, taking the time to recuperate my energy to the best of my ability would be influencing every aspect of my life in a positive and effective way. This realization opened the door to eventually understanding balance.
The bike event was amazing. My plan was to ride with a partner for 24 hours straight alternating every couple of hours. It ended up raining torrentially the entire time with 2” inch thick mud. It was crazy and beautiful at the same time. Sharing the experience with a friend and keeping up my end of things made it meaningful. What I learned about endurance was priceless. My lifestyle leading up to that bike event was a defining difference. Because my focus was on performing “well,” it changed the way I achieved my goals. After only 9 months of being a burnt out entrepreneur, I had enough energy and endurance to complete that ride. I also had one of my best years in business, one year after my worst.
Living in balance while achieving my goals, I stopped confusing productivity for performance and ended up being healthier and more productive than ever. I also looked and felt better and was able to perform sustainably. Life was good.
Fast Forward Four Years
Little did I know; I would face a similar situation four years later while developing a new business and then again several years later. Something was happening and I was begininning to see a pattern.
While sharing my ideas with clients, and thinking I had this lifestyle thing licked, once again, I started taking on too much too fast. Not only was I coaching clients all day, I also was creating knowledge products, setting up websites, developing a team, building an infrastructure, and marketing my ideas. I was speaking all over the country, and at times, internationally. It was a highly creative time period, and the risk of driving me into the ground, an experience I knew all to well, was high.
Outside of the business, I was living what was an over-extended personal life, which ultimately ended up in a marriage at a time where I was swimming in change and disruptive forces. It was bearing down on me and I just couldn’t decipher what was happening. It was a confusing time, and very costly, personally and professionally. It was apparent that there was still something’s missing in my thinking and in my approach. I felt incongruent with the healthy lifestyle I was promoting. I was exhausted, despite living an incredibly healthy lifestyle, if good nutrition, fitness and getting an extra hour of sleep anytime I could is the definition of a healthy lifestyle. My ambition was outpacing my ability to maintain the energy levels I needed.
The difference this time, with experience, I had a much better idea of how to handle the situation so that it didn’t linger on forever. And as painful as it was, it was the perfect opportunity to find out what was missing in how I engaged with life. Being fully engaged is one thing, being over engaged is another, and I was determined to learn for the last time that you can’t exceed your energy capacity and ability to recuperate, and not expect it to affect your ability to perform well in more ways than one; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in your relationships, and in business. It happened to me.
In 2006, I discovered an idea called the “Performance Lifestyle” that provided a context that would finally bring everything together for me. It helped me to understand that health, performance and sustained success all basically started with renewing and managing personal energy. I already knew that there was more to energy management than sleep alone, but still relatively new to the idea, I didn’t understand the depth of the idea or its reach to experience the full potential and benefits it offers.
So I started reading every book I could find on the subject, and it took nearly two years to synthesize missing elements and develop the Performance Lifestyle “formula” so-to-speak, which at the core is about proactively renewing your personal energy, so you can achieve your goals without the tendency to periodically downward spiral in a repeating pattern that I was experiencing. Not one is saying that you won’t get tired and at times experience fatigue, but if you are not living from a position of strength and renewing your personal energy regularly so you stay out of personal energy debt, these downward spirals and get pretty bad. This is what I was experiencing.
Since I began living my life from the standpoint of living from a position of strength, I have become more mindful of these patterns. I would like to say, that I never get super fatigued anymore, as a result of renewing and managing my personal energy; because as high achiever it happens to me from time to time.
No, it’s not because I don’t value sleep, rest, and recovery… it’s simply due to life factors that get intense and at times they get the best of me for a little too long. The thing is, it just doesn’t happen for long. I know what’s happening and what to do now.
Focusing my lifestyle around performance and learning how the pros achieve their goals, a whole new experience of life has opened up. I continue to incorporate what I’ve learned in my journey, as well as in coaching others through theirs. Add to this the insights from hundreds of healthy high achieving people along the way, and Performance Lifestyle training was born.
Proactive Energy Renewal
Today, with more and more people complaining about loss of drive and performance due to fatigue and exhaustion, especially in our modern workforce that is faced with relentless demand on their time and energy and lacking the performance lifestyle skills to avert the personal energy debt that accumulates when you overspend your energy for far too long; even before performance lifestyle training, we help people understand The Practice of Proactive Energy Renewal.
Fatigue is one of those conditions that people (including most professionals) do not know what the real cause is, but it is estimated that one out of three women, and one out of five men suffer from it.
So today, we after many more years of researching and understanding the science of personal energy and it’s renewal, I am teaching people the course in personal energy renewal. I highly recommend you learn as much as you can about proactive personal energy renewal and the personal energy management skills needed to ensure you stay both balanced and healthy and successful.
I offer a free webinar on how to stop feeling fatigued all the time and regain your vitality in 8 weeks, naturally. I do this every couple of weeks. You can learn more about it here.