One of the most important things an independent IT Professional (or anyone for that matter) needs to do is take care of their health, for without your health you can’t hope to earn a living. Sadly, this is generally not the case for most IT Professionals I know as well as many other people I must say. The secret has really got more to do with your mind than your body, but that is a topic for another blog post.
Attempting to be health conscious myself I spend a certain amount of time each day at a small local gym keeping my self in condition. I do however notice a constant stream of people who come in and ‘pretend’ to exercise. To get any benefit from the exercise you are doing you need to look at your heart rate and in effect raise it from what is considered the ‘resting rate’. Here is a good article all about heart rate and intensity, but basically you should exercise with your heart rate at 65-85% of its maximum (which varies with age) and maintain that for the duration of your workout. Doing that consistently has all sorts of benefits which again is fodder for another future blog post.
What I want to focus on here is what also comes with lifting your intensity – sweat. After every work out I make sure that I’m sweating, if I’m not then I haven’t trained intensively enough. However, the other people I see in the gym would probably get more exercise sitting on the couch watching TV. They are deluding themselves if they think have achieved any benefit of going to the gym for that time period. They are simply wasting their time because they are not even breaking a sweat.
So let’s now translate that to how you run your business. Can you honestly say that you are lifting the intensity of your business? Are you pushing your business (or yourself) to make it ‘sweat’? Unfortunately, most are like the people I see coming into the gym, fooling themselves that they are working out. Their business may have made it into the gym but it sure ain’t doing a workout! Again, there is no sweat.
Much like maintaining fitness, you need to push your business beyond the comfort zone. Again like exercise, you don’t go mad and try and run a marathon without preparation you need to build your intensity up but you need to keep building, you need to keep sweating if you plan to improve it. There are going to be the odd aches and pains along the way but the main aim of the game is to continue to lift the average which is never going to happen if you leave your business sitting on the couch eating potato chips.
Take a look around at the people that you know, are they lifting their intensity? Are they looking to improve their average? Are they and their business getting fitter? A wise man once said that you are the average of your surroundings. If you want to improve your average many you have to make a change to your environment. Any change will require effort resulting in sweat which is the easiest way to know you have increased your intensity.
Make sure that when you take yourself or your business to the gym you come away sweating. I can assure you that over time that the results of this effort is worth the investment.