Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

5 Steps to Better Health

“Without health, there is no point. To anything.” Everett Mámor

Health is one of those things in life you value once you lose it. Ill health propels us to value it a lot more for a while, then we lose track of it yet again. We fail to understand that without good health, there is very little we can do. Ill health makes us realize that all the things we take for granted should be the very things we ought to be thankful for, day in and day out. As entrepreneurs we tend to push ourselves harder, as great things can only be achieved by great efforts. During this process one of the things we tend to lose track of is our health. I made that mistake recently and hence dedicated this series to help remind myself of the importance of good health.

Listed below are five factors critical to good health:

1. Sleep: Having sporadic sleep cycles can be most damaging to one’s health. Lack of sleep or inadequate and untimely sleep patterns cause lethargy and lack of concentration. This in turn results in not being able to perform optimally and eventually leads to developing related illnesses due to exhaustion. Developing and having the discipline to stick to a sleeping routine can have a positive impact on your health. To read more about developing better sleeping habits please click here.

2. Exercise: A lot of people feel tired at the mention of the word exercise. The association may be a result of associating all forms of exercise with the tedium of weights , running for miles, monotonous repetition and sweating through it all. Developing a healthy exercise routine however can start from something as simple as having a yoga or stretching routine when you wake up in the morning. It is vitally important to establish some form of exercise into your daily routine. To read more about easy exercise routines that you can adopt please click here.

3. Eating Right: Other than staying off the fatty junk food, there are many simple tips we need to integrate into our daily diet plan. I wrote about ensuring to drink enough water during the day and making sure that a healthy breakfast is how you start your day. These small changes impact greatly on energy and fitness levels. It is not necessary to go on strict diets and give up eating all favorite foods . What is important is that we make the small but important changes which will help us live a healthier life. To read more about eating right please click here.

4. Having Fun: Doing the things you love and enjoy has a deep impact on your health. It helps exude energy and a zest for life which is infectious. We have to stop sacrificing the things that bring joy to us simply to be able to assimilate into the society we live in. If you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing, there is no better time than ‘Now’ to start making the necessary changes. To read more about the importance of having fun please click here.

5. Positive Thinking: Having a positive attitude has a major impact on the quality of life. It has the ability to remind us how fortunate we are for everything we have. It helps us to shift focus from all the things we do not have, to all that we need to be grateful for. This level of inner peace creates an aura of positivity around us, which in turn attracts our wants and desires to help make our life a more fulfilling one. To learn more about the power of positive thinking please click here.

Losing perspective of the truly important factors in our lives is a mistake committed by too many people. We become so lost in the daily humdrum that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Life is way too short to miss out at truly living life to its optimum. It is important that we keep a healthy balance between work and fun in our lives. Only through such a balance can we experience a level of inner peace and help bring perspective to the chaotic lives we lead today.

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The Little Difference

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” W. Clement Stone

All of us have fundamental choices in life. We can either embrace life for all its worth and live each day to make a difference, or we can simply go about, just living. This seems like a fairly easy decision to make, and it should be, because it is! Each and everyone of us is in control of the sort of life we want to lead. The decision is completely ours, and our life is a reflection of the decisions which we have chosen to make. If anyone is not satisfied with the results so far, it is up to them to change the way they may be doing things. In truth it all comes down to, whether we are looking at the glass half empty or half full. Two people can look at the same glass with radically different perspectives. In the end, what matters is our attitude, and whether we choose it to be positive one or negative.

I must admit, most of the time I do not understand why so many people have such a negative outlook on life. The mind boggles that someone deliberately chooses to look more at the negative side of life. There has to be some driving force behind such behavior, I have yet to understand it. Being negative not only brings your own spirits down, it has a domino effect on all those who come into contact with it. It permeates into every aspect of your life, from the way you walk, hold a conversation, relationships, social interaction and the vibes you give out. An aura develops around you which only seems to attract all the things you do not want in life. Why anyone would want to do something like that to themselves is a mystery.

Life is way too short for us to be worried about all the things which are not in our control. We need to focus on factors we can do something about, and our health is one those key factors. Having a positive attitude has a major impact on the quality of life. It has the ability to remind us how fortunate we are for everything that we have. It helps us to shift our focus from all the things we do not have, to all that we need to be grateful for. This level of inner peace creates an aura of positivity around us, which in turn attracts our wants and desires to help make our life a more fulfilling one. We all have the same fundamental choices in life. The decisions we make about these choices will impact and determine the sort of life we choose to live.

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Are you Having Fun?

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Dale Carnegie

Life without fun and enjoyment, is living life without, really living. It is imperative to enjoy ourselves in whatever we do in life. If we are not doing something that we enjoy, then it is time to face reality and make the necessary changes. Continuing to do something which one does not like is like a virus, and it slowly eats away at the soul. It becomes a cycle, and finding the courage to step out of it requires, a lot of courage. We make up all sorts of excuses why we choose to remain in jobs we do not like, in relationships which are not working or in businesses we no longer have any interest in. The longer we stay in such situations the more reasons we create for why we cannot leave them.

I believe this is often due to a clash of interest. We sacrifice personal goals, dreams and visions for what society deems acceptable. Along the way we forget who we are and what we really wanted in life. Unfortunately this is a path taken by far too many people and tends to have major repercussions further down the road. The fact is that each and everyone of us knows what really makes us happy. The longer we keep these emotions buried, the more we lose touch with them. Therefore, if there is something that you would rather be doing, take time out now, and first just write it down on a piece of paper. Then, think about it, and visualize ways you could eventually be doing that for a living.

My own decision to become an entrepreneur was made in a similar fashion. I was always fascinated with the world of business, and the challenge of starting out from scratch and building it into something, has been a lot of fun for me. Having been through a successful iteration of this process, there is nothing else that I would rather be a part of. Doing something that you love and enjoy has a deep impact on your health as well. One has a lot more energy and a zest for life which can be infectious. If you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing, there is no better time than ‘Now’ to start making the necessary changes.

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Eating Right?

“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” John Gunther

My eating habits have improved vastly since the last time I made a conscious effort to watch my diet more strictly. Sticking to a healthy diet,  saying no to junk food and excessive eating, makes you feel pretty good about yourself. However looking back, there were still a couple of things which were not correct with my diet and may have contributed to my falling sick last week. I have outlined them below:

1. Water: This is an essential part of one’s diet, yet, many of us consume far less than our daily requirement. (This is a nifty site about water requirements).  Unfortunately, I have fallen victim to this lapse many a time. Lack of water in your system can lead to all sorts of problems, in some cases quite critical. It is not necessary to go around remembering how much water you have consumed in a day, it is however important to remember to drink water at regular intervals. It is important to keep yourself hydrated particularly if you are sitting at a desk all day. This will not only improve productivity, but also improve stamina.

2. Breakfast: In our busy daily lives, breakfast is a meal which often takes a hit. We tend to wake up in a flurry and then do our best to get ourselves out of the door as soon as possible. During this rushed time, we grab some juice, and get our hands on anything which appears edible. This routine is a flawed one for the long haul. It also results in lower energy levels in the morning, over eating at lunch time and eventually leads to an unbalanced diet with all its ramifications. Breakfast is a very important meal, one we should all aim to squeeze into our busy schedules as it does affect the rest of our day. It is important to choose your breakfast wisely,  make sure you include protein in some form or other to help keep you going during the day.

These two factors are integral to any good diet and need to be worked into everyones daily routine. They don’t require any major shifts in eating habits, apart from maybe waking up a little earlier to enjoy breakfast. After one has successfully integrated them into a routine,  increased energy levels will be noticeable, possible decrease in weight, but above all, you will feel a lot healthier.

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When did you last exercise?

“When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no “I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow is disease.” ~V.L. Allineare

Next on the list of factors which contributed to falling a little under the weather was lack of exercise last month. Prior to last month, I had a pretty strict work-out regime which was actually coming along rather well. I have been traveling this last month or so, and sticking to a routine when traveling has got to be one of the most challenging things to do. I guess it comes down again to discipline, and the determination to really stick to it. Fact is, we tend to make up a lot more excuses when we have to make a slightly greater effort to exercise as compared to usual.

We are all well aware of the advantages of exercise. It keeps the mind sharper, the pounds off, increases the body’s immune and resistance systems and to top it off, can be a most effective stress reliever after a long day. To get most of these benefits we don’t have to slave away in the gym for hours on end, there are a host of simple exercises we can build into our daily routine when there is no easily accessible sports facility or a very demanding work schedule . Some that I am working on including into my daily routine are:

1. Yoga: There are several yoga exercises which can be integrated into a daily routine quite easily. I have begun doing five of them right when I get up. They focus on most of the major parts of the body and do a great a job in helping you to stretch and certainly make you more awake and alert.

2. Crunches: After the initial set of exercises, I do a couple of sets of crunches which helps keep as much excess weight of my waist as possible. It is important to do crunches correctly for them to be effective. If you are unsure about whether your technique is correct get some help from an instructor or instruction videos which can be found on the net.

3. Walking: In todays day and age we are becoming increasingly lazy. For even the smallest of hops we choose cabs or elevators. Figure out areas you could replace these habits with a brisk walk which could last a couple of minutes or a couple of flights of stairs. It helps keep the blood flowing and can even act as a boost.

The important lesson I learnt here is, no matter where you are, it is up to you to decide whether you want to exercise or not. If you value fitness and health then it is best to identify ways and mean to maintain  fitness goals, even during busy spells or vacations abroad.

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Not Sleeping Enough?

“In a disordered mind, as in a disordered body, soundness of health is impossible.” Cicero

There are several reasons why I fell sick last week. However, I do believe it all started when I developed and sustained erratic sleep timings. This started a nasty domino effect and slowly permeated into other areas of my life and eventually, I fell sick. Sleep is an integral part of our lives. Our bodies need to rest and rejuvenate to enable them to function optimally. The number of hours of sleep needed, varies from person to person. A widely publicized study performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2003, demonstrated that cognitive performance declines with fewer than eight hours of sleep. When we develop a cycle of less than 6 hours of sleep over prolonged periods of time, it begins to show as lethargy and an inability to concentrate, and eventually to falling sick.

It does all come down to having the discipline to develop and stick to a routine. Ideally, one would like to have set timings to go to sleep and get up. This timing pattern should remain constant on both week-ends and week-days. Isolated deviations from the routine are acceptable, but the routine  should not be disrupted for more than a period of 3 days. Admittedly there is the argument that as entrepreneurs things are  sporadic, and one week the work flow is manageable, and the next, one gets drowned in it. The ability to stick to a routine under such circumstances is tough. However,  inability to do so, as I have experienced many a time, has nasty consequences. There needs to be balance to enable us to perform and rest both, adequately.

To develop such a routine, we first need to identify when we actually feel sleepy given that we wake up at a fixed time for a couple of days.  We can then establish a suitable time accordingly and develop a routine for a half hour prior to getting into bed. This could involve setting a to-do list for the next day, reading or going over your goals list to see and work on how far you have reached. It is another scientifically proven fact, that brain processes prior to going to sleep have a huge impact on your sleep quality and the next day. The brain processes the last input received many times more effectively than anything else you may have experienced during the day. Therefore it is critical that you use this time wisely.

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Not Feeling Well?

“Sickness is the vengeance of nature for the violation of her laws.” Charles Simmons

I was not in the best of health last week. Regular readers of my blog may have noticed some delayed posts, for which I apologize. One really doesn’t realize the true value of being healthy until you fall sick. The ironic thing is, without good health we can’t really do much! Yet, we see so many take this matter so lightly. I know I have been guilty of doing this often. It is a vicious cycle. We get sick, during this period we realize how important our health is and make vows to take it more seriously in the future , then, we lapse into our old unhealthy habits again, only to find ourselves sick again. There is really no one else to blame other than ourselves for this . To break free from this cycle we need to start taking responsibility for our health. We need to put it into perspective, understand how important it really is.

Making such fundamental changes in life requires persistent effort, to leave damaging habits and replace them with healthy and beneficial ones instead. It is however easier said than done. Usually such shifts only occur when they are absolutely mandatory to our survival. If a person has a heart attack and is instructed to take on a whole new set of habits, they usually will. The same person who may not be doing so well before the heart attack, finds it a much greater challenge to change their routine. What is required is not a drastic shift in our day to day life, but a need to start taking smaller steps every day to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Over the course of this week, I will cover five core factors which greatly influence our well being. Each factor plays a pivotal role in helping us maintain balance. Finding balance in the chaotic world we live in today, is a challenge. As an entrepreneur, it is specially so as we tend to push ourselves to our absolute limits. Unfortunately, such behavior over a long period of time will result in eventual burnout. I aim for this series to be a constant reminder to myself, about the really important stuff in life. I hope it will be the same for you.

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5 steps to a balanced life

“Life at any time can become difficult: life at any time can become easy. It all depends upon how one adjusts oneself to life.” Anonymous

During this series, several factors were discussed which are often taken for granted in the course of our chaotic lives today. A lot of the time we forget the simple things which, not only help us to get from one day to the next  but which keep us anchored, healthy and motivated to continue doing what we do. I hope some of the things discussed this week will help you enjoy a more balanced and healthy life;

1. Diets: Diets tend to be one of the first things which go out of whack when we enter very ‘busy’ periods in our life. The effect of this however is felt on all aspects of our life. It is unhealthy, productivity goes down and we just don’t feel that great about ourselves. We have to do all we can to keep this aspect in check at all times for a more balanced life. To read more tips and suggestions on keeping a balanced diet please click here.

2. Sleep: A lack of rest can impact severely on the quality of life. When you are working on complex deals which are extremely draining, having a set routine for sleep can dramatically increase your productivity, motivation and overall drive. To read more tips and suggestions on developing a balanced sleeping routine please click here.

3. Exercise Routine: Lethargy and restlessness can result from being pent up in an office all day long. The body needs a release outlet to get some fresh air into the system. Developing and sticking to an exercise routine can be a challenge, however, if you do set one for yourself you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. To read more tips and suggestions on sticking to your exercise routine please click here.

4. Family and Friends: In life we need anchors to keep us rooted and prevent us from drifting too far off course. Family and friends are one of these anchors and help us do just that. Sometimes when we are caught up in our busy lives we forget how important they are to us. In order to have a balanced lifestyle we need to focus on stuff other than, bottom line results and material acquisitions, we need to focus on the things which really matter. To read more about keeping in touch please click here.

5. Inspirational Story: A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was….To read the entire story please click here.

In life , we are all intent on reaching our goals and acheiving our dreams. Along this journey, life…happens, and we tend to get busy with the details and the little things. Soon, if we haven’t paid too much attention to the bigger picture we may find ourselves in a place we do not want to be. Don’t let that happen. From time to time come up for air and see if you are moving in the right direction before it is too late to turn around. 

p.s stop along the way, periodically, to smell the roses and actually enjoy the ride . 

 

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Exercise Routines

“Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties.” Hugh Blair

Its been a really long week, you are sitting at your workstation with a ton of work, but you just cannot get started. The words to describe this, more often than not, is “Lethargy” and “Restlessness”. In my case this state occurs when, coupled with my eating and sleeping habits, my exercising routines also get affected by ‘busy’ periods. There is a definite and drastic drop in my energy levels, productivity and most significantly creative output. Exercise , the total routine, allows me to focus better on the bigger picture.

Breaking the exercise routine is probably one of the easiest habits to get out of, as also the most difficult to get back into, once you have left it for an extended period of time. It starts innocently enough when I miss a couple of squash games in a row. One missed day leads to another and pretty soon before I have even realized what has happened I am standing on the outside, wondering how I got there. Thats pretty much how life is, if we do not pay attention to the small changes occurring on a daily basis, very often we do not see the big hits coming. It can be difficult and confusing to undertsand how such a drastic change could come about so quickly.

To help me keep up regularly with my exercise routines I have taken some steps which have helped me stick with it during the busier times.

1. Probably one of the best things I have done is, to get a gym buddy and a regular squash partner . 

2. A commitment to myself, to keep myself in good shape, and my health, in constant check.

3. Set SMART goals, and once I achieve them, I have promised myself rewards when I hit those benchmarks. For example when I started with my squash routine I told myself if I could make it to 30 games without a break in the middle I would buy myself the really fancy racquet I wanted. The feeling of achievement after my 30th consecutive game was much more fulfilling than buying that racquet.

Apart from all the health benefits of exercise it has greatly increased my energy levels throughout the day, I feel a whole lot better about myself, it gives you a great feeling of being alive and, being fiercely competitive myself , the thrill of winning just makes my day.

Related Posts:

SMART Goals

The Gym

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Sleep

“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.” Fran Lebowitz

The world starts to blur a little, you reach a semi conscious state where you can barely see the word document open on your screen. The proposal still needs a lot of work, but you convince yourself to just close your eyes for minute, and you drift away ………for those of you who have had to pull continuous all nighters, this is a familiar state. Sleep pattern is the next point in my case which tends to go out of whack when the pressure is on. Initially it feels pretty good cutting down your usual 6 hours of sleep down to something like 4-5 hours, getting away with an extra hour or two is do-able for a short time. However extended periods of sleep deprivation can have serious side effects. 

It is a proven fact, that when the body experiences a continuous lack of sleep, the immune system starts to weaken, productivity dips and you enter a state of limbo where you just seem to be drifting along. Analyzing the situation from this angle clearly helps us realize that such a state is not desirable. Yet we continue to burn the midnight oil when the heat is on like there is no tomorrow. One of the factors it comes down to is, personality types. Some of us are pressure prompted and others just keeping plugging away day after day. If you are able to find the motivation and discipline to keep plugging away daily that is clearly the more desirable alternative.

Being a pressure prompted person myself, I have made a conscious effort to break tasks down over a longer period of time, to avoid the massive build up which occurs right before project delivery. It has helped boost my overall productivity and efficiency levels . However during extended crunch times my sleep is heavily compromised and this is another factor I am working on to bring under control. I am attempting this by putting structured routines into place and replacing some bad habits:

1. Going to sleep as soon as I cannot read a page of text without dozing off.

2. Setting my alarm clock to go off at specific time everyday. (I do no set it when I want to sleep in)

3. Taking 1 or 2 power naps of 15-20 minutes during the course of the day, depending on my level of fatigue.

4. Drastically decreasing caffeine intake during high pressure periods and switching to green tea.

Sleep is a critical component of our daily lives. I am going to make a conscious effort to stick to set routines even during turbulent periods to make sure that I am getting adequate amount of rest. This will in turn increase my overall level of productivity and efficiency while keeping my health in balance.

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