How to Get More Out of Every Day: Lifestyle Optimization for High Performers
Robin Connelley and John Stanton are two successful venture capitalists who started a sustainability-business-focused investment firm in 2007. In a field that comprised of high stress, low rest and constant pushing for bigger and better results, they found themselves burnt out, unhappy and frustrated with their day-to-day reality.
"I realized my life was no longer my own. It was always work. Wake up thinking about work. Go to sleep thinking about work. And to what end? The VC model isn't healthy. You have people under such immense pressure, that don't take care of themselves, and have an emotional break at some point and it somehow blows up everything. We knew something had to shift," Stanton said.
Enter Chōsen Experiences, a lifestyle optimization company that Connelley and Stanton co-founded in 2013 as a way to change the lifestyles they lived and breathed every day in the venture capital world. Here are four core aspects of lifestyle optimization that Chōsen believes and teaches in each experience -- tenets that can help any high-performing entrepreneur.
Live life in accordance to your true values
Taking the time to truly sort out your priorities in life, and then setting up a framework to live by those values is essential to an optimized lifestyle. Those who do are happier, healthier and perform better in their day-to-day work.
"Striving to be non-judgmental, committing to continuous learning, and genuinely examining the type of relationships you want to have with yourself and those around you are not easy things to do," Connelley states. "Society tells you to be resourceful, to be a producer, to be monetarily successful. Those aren't values."
When's the last time you spent time setting goals? Not goals for your business, but goals for yourself. Goals that have you examine your health, your fitness, your relationships, your personal growth, your mental state. Goals that go beyond numbers and statistics.
Take some time to examine these non-business areas of your life. You'll find that by doing so, and then by gauging your day-to-day actions in accordance with these goals, you'll feel more in alignment, more motivated, and more encouraged to push further and work harder for the things that really matter.
Be connected to your body
"Waking up and considering how your body feels, what that means, and then being able to make an assessment as to what you need to do to take care of yourself that day is what being connected to your body is all about," Connelley shares. "Making that commitment first thing in the morning and following through can change the entire trajectory of your day."
Whether it's movement for two minutes, a full-fledged workout, a visit to a physiotherapist or simply taking a day to rest, checking in with yourself, making that commitment and following through is essential. Facing your reality honestly, making a conscious choice and executing is what will help increase your productivity and effectiveness.
It's not just about physical movement. Nutrition also plays a big role. Knowing how your body reacts to certain foods and knowing what you need to fuel yourself for optimal functioning is important.
Be in touch with your emotions
Connelley and Stanton recommend a PPI approach to each day -- and often each segment of your day. Presence, purpose and intention (PPI) means that you take time to breathe and recognize the present moment, doing everything in your power to focus on that, and only that. It means clearly having and stating a purpose for that moment -- be it a meeting, a dinner or a period of relaxation. And then establishing an intention for yourself in that situation.
I talk about this idea in my books, articles and workshops. I call it the MVVPs -- making sure you're tying in the organization's mission, vision, values and purpose at every communicative touchpoint in relationships with employees and customers. Chōsen has you do this, but instead of in a business context, for yourself.
Doing this, along with the other elements of an optimized lifestyle, allows individuals and teams to make calmer, more considered decisions in a non-emotional, non-reactionary way. It's not a surprise that Connelley and Stanton often work with boards of directors, organizational teams or business groups to bring out this faster decision-making.
Establish healthy connections with a community of like-minded individuals
You've likely heard the adage that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. But, have you consciously thought through who these people are? Surrounding yourself by others who have taken the time to examine their values, connect to their body, and be in touch with their emotions yields a community with whom you can bounce ideas, collect feedback, exchange ideas and gather different perspectives. And it's also a community that will keep you in check when it comes to deviating from your values.
"We aren't an experience company for the sake of being an experience company. That's easy to scale," Stanton says. "Instead we're focused on building the community, strengthening the support system and maintaining the connections that exemplify the true value in the network."
I recently had the opportunity to preview what Chōsen has in store for 2019 and beyond during an experience in South Africa, and I can attest to the transformations that occur when you take intentional time away from your business to test your resolve in non-business situations, focus on your physical and mental health and create lifestyle goals.
More than just personal discovery, it was about gaining new insights about the world around us. For my experience in South Africa, we learned from world-class conservationists, wildlife veterinarians and park rangers about the challenges to conservation and saving endangered species around the globe. And, as with any group of high-achievers, we all asked the question: How can we help?
That truly galvanized exactly what Connelley and Stanton are trying to build. It's not just an experience. It's cultivating a community of people who believe in truly performing their best and optimizing their lifestyles to go after whatever passions they choose -- to support one another and invest in people who you know will deliver results because you've experienced their resilience, determination, and approach to and in difficult circumstances first-hand.
Stanton says it best: "When you put together a group of people who are courageous, explorers, innovators, and doers together, the sky's the limit."