Triumph over Obesity

Why’s that truck driving through my living room?

It’s an old fashioned bright red tow truck; and it’s just driven out from behind the TV, across the living room and has left via the bay window!

That’s when I knew I was in trouble. I was hallucinating!

What I didn’t realise was, just how ill I was.

What happened next was like a nightmare.

My wife finally persuaded me to go to the doctor; it’s only flu, I told myself. I was very wrong! I was fortunate that my wife had already booked an appointment for me earlier in the day; knowing I needed it.

So, I’m sitting in the doctor’s surgery and the doctor has gone into hyperdrive. Why? I ask myself. Well, my oxygen levels were so low that she put me on 4litres of oxygen immediately and called an ambulance. I still didn’t get it; but I was getting worried now.

I vaguely remember calling my wife and saying I’m off to hospital… She wasn’t surprised at all. She knew I wasn’t well.

In the ambulance, I remember wondering who the siren and the flashing blue lights were for. The crew were friendly and calming.

As we drove towards the hospital, I was really struggling for breath and beginning to feel very out of it.

I think I must have flown into A&E, the doors crashed open and I was in a bay right away.

The A&E medical team seemed to be making such a fuss… oxygen, injections, cannula, drip and drugs for something or other. No, I didn’t really understand all the fuss.

After what seemed an age, they had me stabilised. Then most of the team left. The nurses then observed from a distance.

It was then that I started playing with my pulse rate. Something I’ve always been able to do. I was playing chicken with the continuous beep. A few times, I managed to get it so low that the alarms went off and a nurse hurried over to see if I was ok.

I was thinking; maybe I’m dying… I wasn’t in pain or stressed. I felt I could just go, and it would all be over.

Fortunately, my wife came in at this point. I felt I had a reason to stay.

It’s strange how my thought process was working. Turns out that I was in septic shock, had infections, the flu, and the biggy; a Pulmonary Embolism. In fact, the MRI scan the next day, showed I had loads of clots on my lungs. They looked just like two bunches of grapes.

According to the doctors, I was lucky to be alive. I remember feeling ok but struggling to get a decent lungful of air.

After all the fuss on my arrival at the hospital, it was a relief to be transferred to a small ward and calm down. I was still popular with the nurses and doctors. They kept coming over and checking me; or stabbing me with another needle! One of the drugs is injected into the belly. Well, I thought, they can’t miss that. But it still smarted. The resulting bruises were most uncomfortable.

Pity Party Time –

The next day I was sitting up in bed, still attached to the oxygen, and the canula sticking out of my arm. The good thing was that the oxygen could now be at a lower rate of flow. My blood oxygen stats were stabilising.

Everything had calmed down and I had time to reflect on what had happened and what was going on. It was then that I had a massive pity party — I felt very sorry for myself; was my life over? What would happen?

It was at this point that I decided I needed to take charge of what would become of me. I needed to change. It was all down to me!

I hope this inspires you, dear reader, to make the changes for the better, in your life.

Before I share how, and what, I changed in myself, I’d like to go back in my life; way back… How had I arrived in this sorry state?

I’ve always been on the large size. Throughout my formative years, I didn’t exercise as much as I should to cover for the amount I ate. I could blame my mother, who was always ready with food; but I choose not to. It was all down to me, although I didn’t fully appreciate at the time that it was my decision to make.

From the age of 3 I enjoyed regular sailing trips. Racing in sailing boats and yachts became my chosen sport. Sailing requires more strength than agility. At this I excelled.

I shunned all aerobic forms of exercise, not for me all that puffing, running sweating stuff. As I sailed bigger and bigger boats, my weight and size increased too — Until I became ‘broad of beam’. The beam is the widest part of a boat — and my beam was certainly wide.

Jump forward to 2007. Prior to this, I always seemed to be healthy, no serious issues. After a mild chest infection in May, and having been prescribed some antibiotics, I was soon on the way to recovery when the doctor decided that I needed an MOT of sorts. The full check-up.

What they found was most worrying; I had Thrombocytopenia — a blood condition to do with the number of blood platelets. I was put on a number of medications, from which I became very ill. Although I felt awful, I didn’t give up. I was still working, but at a reduced rate.

The medications did not seem to be helping at all. The specialist even said they could take out my spleen to ‘see what happens’. Not on your life matey!!! I put a firm NO on that idea. The medication was starting to make me unwell — I reacted badly to a number of the drugs — and nothing was increasing my platelets.

By the end of 2007 I decided that these medical interventions had to stop. The specialist finally agreed, and we came up with a plan to come off all meds just before Christmas. 2008 was a much better year health wise.

The one thing I didn’t change was my weight. That was fine, or so I thought.

Fast forward to 2013, I required an operation to remove my gallbladder. This was totally my own fault. I knew it was because I wasn’t eating healthily. But I didn’t think of it as a significant issue.

By now I had become morbidly obese — 22 stone. I even had to have my suits made to fit me. I couldn’t find a 58inch chest off the peg. I only just managed to get in for my operation.

Christmas 2018 versus Christmas 2019 –

But I still didn’t see the need to change. Oh, I wanted to be slim and fit. But that wasn’t me. I was in denial. As a friend says — No sh1t Sherlock!

So we’re back in the ward… It was during the pity party, that I had the epiphany. Time to change Me! It took this near-death experience to choose to be triumphant over my obesity. Sometimes it’s only the trigger for change that is missing. I had found my Why.

I started as soon as I came home after nearly a week in hospital. If I was going to survive; no, that wasn’t going to do — I wanted to thrive! I would need to make changes to me. Both physically and, more importantly, mentally. I was morbidly obese, had significant blood clots in my lungs, a very high type 2 diabetes reading, and had trouble breathing.

Over the first week, I studied what sort of diet would be right for me. I soon found some really useful lessons. Rather than join some fad diet, or group, I read that it was simply about portion control. Also, my plans required a certain amount of dedication and determination. Without this change to my mentality, nothing would change — like all the other times I said I would get fit and healthy.

I won’t pretend it was easy. At first, I felt so empty and hungry. Not just for food, but also for the act of eating. It showed that I was eating for the sake of it.

The diet was a good start. But I wanted to really lose weight; to become fit and healthy… and fit into normal clothes.

So, at the end of February 2019, I started walking. The first outing was rather a challenge. 55 minutes to shuffle around the block. Not even a full kilometre.

Over the following weeks, I kept up the effort and my walking gathered pace and distance.

By March, I was walking about 3 to 4 kilometres nearly every day. The weight began to fall off.

I remember telling friends that the walking was great — but no running. Running wasn’t for Alex.

By the beginning of May, I had lost 5 stone and could walk quickly enough up a local hill.

Such was my resolve that I decided to jog a bit on the downwards slopes. No running mind you — Alex didn’t do running.

Well that attitude soon changed. I found that I was enjoying the challenge of running a little further every time out. Very soon I’d joined up all the runs into one.

It was time to extend the distances. 3k became 4k; then I reached 5k. Me, running 5k! who’d have thought it.

Then it was all about getting faster. First a 30 minute 5k, which seemed so hard. As of the end of September2020, my PB is 24:55 — the sub 25 minute 5k target.

Now I’m writing this, and it’s November 2020 — My current goal is a Half Marathon in under 2 hours; yes 21.1k in under 2 hours. The training is going well (puff puff). It’s not easy, but anything worthwhile is never easy. To date I’ve run 17.6k by following a program I found. It seems the most pragmatic one I’ve seen — suits me. Keep it simple.

This all sounds great, but there have been setbacks along the way. Some health related and some CBA (Can’t Be A-sed). The real test of character is the ability to get through the hurdles and keep plugging away. I’ve had plenty of aches and pains in my legs. But I rest a bit, then get out there again.

Where do I get my inspiration from? When you see someone like the 8 year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy, let go of his walker for the last 50 meters and complete a triathlon unaided. He even fell down a couple of times getting to the finish line; yet he just got up and kept going till the end — now that is something else! It shows that anyone can do something amazing when they set their mind to it.

So, what do you want to achieve? What are you prepared to do to realise your goals?

It all starts with a change from who you are at the moment. Get going right now!

Grumpy Old Runner –

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything (President Eisenhower)

Whether it be business planning or weekly goal setting, getting clients to make plans is really important.

Without any plans, it is easy to just drift along hoping that something positive will happen.

Weekly goals/targets give you something to aim for; and the ability to see measure your level of success during the task and see what results were achieved for your efforts.

For example: A goal of making 50 sales calls in the week is about motivating activity.  It is easy to record that you did, or did not, make those calls to real live prospects.  The results will speak for themselves.  But, this in itself will not get you more business.  The real goal is to convert ‘x’ number of prospects into clients (new and existing) at ‘y’ income.  It may be that you are aiming for 1 client at £1000 per month on a 1-year project.  Would it be ok if you signed up 2 clients at £500 per month for the year?  … if you did this by only making 85 calls?  Keep a focus on the real deliverable and keep the rest of your activities flexible.

At each review of the annual business plan, clients often remark that it didn’t take long for the plans to be out of date.  The reason for this is that the world doesn’t stand still so you can complete your plans.

At each weekly, bi-monthly or monthly coaching session, we go through the goals and measure the results. These results drive the goals for the next time period.  These goals are there to deliver the overall annual goals for the business; such as annual sales, annual profits and annual progress towards the aim of the business.

Plans need to be adaptable – Indeed, the most successful businesses are continuously adapting their plans.

From my experience of working with over 160 clients during my 14 years of coaching and mentoring, I can’t remember any time when a plan made it ‘unchanged’ to the end of the program.  There will always be amendments in our ever-changing fast paced world.

The strength of successful planning is to be adaptable.

If you would like to learn more about how to make your planning work better for you, drop me a line to see how we can work together to help you achieve the bigger picture.

Contact Alex

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 53

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 53 – I have time slots in my diary for my own health and enjoyment

When you first started your business, that was probably the main thing on your mind and took most of your waking hours. Then, as it got going, you may have found that it seemed to take even more of your conscious time.

I’ve seen it a number of times.  It often leads to burnout.

Think of a car, you need to refuel or recharge it.  It’s the same with us humans. We need to refuel/recharge – food, water and rest.

If things are going well, the quality of food and drink improves, but often at the cost of the rest and relaxation. The one thing that is often be missed is to refuel and recharge our minds.

When was the last time you did something just for you?  It’s not selfish to make sure you have some time for yourself, be it health and fitness or some relaxing downtime.

The HowTo bit:

Make time for healthy activities and time for enjoyment in your diary.  Treat these activities as you would your other work tasks.  Plan them into your day/week/month.  Treat them as you would your most important meetings.

If you take your own physical and mental health seriously, you will be sharper and better equipped to run a successful business.

So, what sort of thigs can you plan in?

Exercise is good.  It could be running, walking, gym, yoga, dancing or anything that gets your heart rate up.  You can join in with organised groups or in the comfort of your own home…. And for those who say they don’t have time, you can dance to your favourite tunes whilst hoovering your home.  There is no excuse not to do something.  A person I know who has a significant health condition, still makes the effort to stretch a bit and do some homecrafts in their working day.

What other activities make you happy?  Have you planned in some of those too?

We can all do something; however small it seems. It’s better than doing nothing.  The key part is to start.

If you’d like to have a call or meet up for a coffee to brainstorm some ideas for you, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 52

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 52 – I have a Default Diary that delivers maximum productivity

We all know how busy things can get when you’re running your business. There are so many potential distractions.

It’s easy to loose focus on the key aspects of your business that drive income.

With this in mind, Would it be better to have a mechanism for keeping your eyes on the prize? Would you like a simple reminder system for all the activities that will move your business forward?

How would it be if it was really simple?

One useful tool is to use a default diary approach. This will highlight what needs to be done, and when. The idea is to help you minimise unplanned activity; as long as you are disciplined in using it.

The HowTo bit:

To help you be more productive, create a diary system showing all the usual activities you do during the week. These might be your admin time, your marketing time, sales time, client/customer facing time, team meeting time…. the list is for you to develop that suits you and your way of working.

Some people put them on a spreadsheet. With days across the top and hours in the columns. Then block out sections for the key activities. Making the boxes different colours helps you see the income generating times.

I’ve created my own default diary sheet.  I’ve then built the time blocks into my electronic diary, shared across my phone, PC and other devices that hold my diary.

That way, I know what I should be working on. Hence the term ‘default’.  You can change the time blocks to suit a real day, yet not loose sight of the tasks that still need doing.

Each day/week, have a look at the time spent on the key activities. Did they match your default position? You can always review and amend your diary.

If you would like to learn more about creating and implementing a default diary system into your business life, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 51

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 51 – I regularly delegate routine activities

When you are clear on what aspects and task in your business you can, and want to, delegate, you can just let go.. right? Oh how wrong you would be to do that.

I’ve seen it so many times; where someone abdicates responsibility for a task and dumps it on someone else.

Then they usually operate the ‘leave alone, zap’ approach to leadership.

It’s going to end in a mess if you don’t delegate properly. I see it as giving the person you pass the task to, every chance to succeed.

The ‘HowTo’ bit:

Choose which tasks to delegate and decide what activities you will replace them with, that are more profitable for you to be doing.

Clearly define the actions, tasks and targets to be achieved when handing over a activity. A process, procedure, standard, work instruction or checklist will help ensure that the task can be performed in the way that will deliver the results you want.

For example, I had a mailing of 1500 flyers to do. They required a sticky label with the recipients name and address, plus a stamp. It was a task that I didn’t look forward to. So I found an organisation that do this sort of thing for a very reasonable sum. The task was clearly explained to the person who would carry out this activity. They attacked it with with enthusiasm and a level of care that was heartwarming. Something I would have got bored with in 2 minutes was professionally done in next to no time at all. The organisation then posted the flyers for me.

This allowed me to go and work with a client. A far better use of my time and effort.

Make sure you still retain a grip on what’s happening by giving clear guidance and instructions what to do. After all, it’s still your responsibility to get the job done.

If you would like help to work out how, and what, to delegate, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 50

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 50 – I delegate or outsource most/all of the Admin & low value/low enjoyment work

Are you so busy doing stuff in and on your business that you don’t have time for the important stuff? You know, the activities that actually bring cash into the business.

It’s often that entrepreneurs don’t feel able to delegate the activities and tasks, that are required, but could be better done by someone else. When you started your business you were probably doing it all. As a company develops, there comes a point where growth will stop (& sometimes goes into reverse) when you can’t do it all.

I’ve also seen it in companies that have a team that gets swamped as their sales/work grows. Owners are often reluctant to take on more team members for fear of having to let people go if the business shrinks. This is one of those questions that keeps many owners awake at night and/or can stop growth in it’s tracks.

Before you get to this point, it is a good idea to develop a delegation strategy and targets. When you know the numbers (KPIs) for your business, you have at least a chance of making a decision based on relevant facts, rather than just a finger in the air.

The ‘HowTo’ bit:

Carry out a review of your business tasks and determine those that you can, and would like, to delegate. Remember that if you can be making a significant contribution to your business, it’s better that you are doing this than a low value task you dislike doing. This is often best done as a team/disinterested party exercise

When you know what tasks you want to delegate, work out the best ROI approach for each. Personally, I started by focussing on those minor irritating tasks I didn’t enjoy doing, and got those off my back. I then looked at what tasks would be better done by an expert in that field.

Proper delegation means that you still know what tasks are being actioned and that you are fully conversant with the progress. You will have a report to hand to know the answers.

So, what tasks and activities can you delegate? If you would like help to determine those tasks that could be done by someone else, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 49

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 49 – I have a list of my top 10 most enjoyable tasks in your business

If you are still enjoying your business, what are the bits you enjoy most?

Typically, we work harder and more creatively on areas we enjoy.  These are not always the most productive or revenue generating aspects of the business; they are the tasks we look forward to most.

There are good reasons for establishing your top 10 most enjoyable tasks.

  • When you know what you enjoy doing most, you can understand what is driving you.
  • Learn the behaviours so you can use that feeling on other less enjoyable, but more financially rewarding tasks.
  • Understand what tasks you might want to delegate.
  • Understand where your time goes.

The HowTo bit:

Take some  time out, ‘creative time’, to list all the tasks you enjoy doing in your business. I’ve found a brainstorm session over a coffee works well.

Prioritise your list of tasks to determine your top 10,  in order of preference.

As per Blog 46, you can use a spreadsheet to record these tasks and sort them.

I add these tasks to my main spreadsheet and see how many overlap with the other tasks.

From this exercise you will see what you enjoy doing most; hopefully it’s the revenue generating tasks that you enjoy most.  If not, it’s probably time to review why you are running your business and what tasks you should work on and those that you could delegate.

If you would like help defining and prioritising your top 10 most enjoyable tasks,  Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 48

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 48 – I have a list of my top 10 productivity related tasks

We’re all busy; even busier these days so it seems, but are you in business or busyness?

It’s very easy to fill our days with non-productive tasks.  Be honest, those tasks such as checking your social media to see who’s doing what; and the internet for how well your team did over the weekend.  Those tasks offer little return to the business, even if they are enjoyable, they don’t bring in cash to the business or get the business moving forward.

When you know your most productive tasks, you can decide which to concentrate on.

If I had a pound for every time someone said to me that they would be concentrating on the key business generating tasks that day; who, when asked to confirm what they had achieved, would look slightly embarrassed and admit they got distracted…. well you know I’d be even more wealthy than I am now.

The HowTo bit:

Let’s keep things simple and start with the list of your productivity related tasks.

As per the previous post ‘HowTo 47’, I enter all my tasks onto the spreadsheet.  For this exercise I use the same spreadsheet and have added another column to list the productivity score which give me the best return for my efforts.

Then it’s a simple exercise of sorting the list to show the highest score in descending order.  From here I pick the top 10 I’m going to focus on.

If you would like hand working out your productivity related tasks; and/or how to work out your productivity, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 47

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 47 – I have a list of my top 10 – Stressful tasks

What you enjoy doing gets done.  That’s the usual way of things.

I’ve found that clients have often been struggling with getting the hard stuff done.  Do you put something off until it absolutely has to be done?  It’s often when the outcome of not getting something done is worse than finally completing the task.

Before we start looking for strategies for how to deal with the stressful tasks, you need to make a list.

The HowTo Bit:

Over a week/month, make a note of all the tasks that you find stressful.   When you have your list, list them in ‘headache’ order.

I find that this best done with a nice coffee and a piece of cake; anything that you find pleasant and relaxing.  I make the list on a spreadsheet and then put my ‘stress factor’ against each (1 to n).  Pick your top 10, then sort them on the spreadsheet. This way you can see clearly which are the biggest headache to you.

I’ve found that just by having a list helps me to focus.  The key is to work on defining strategies on how to make the tasks less stressful.  Then implement your approach for reducing the stress levels on each task.  This could also be by delegating them when appropriate.

If you would like help working out your top 10 stressful tasks, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 46

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 46 – I have a list of my top 10 – time consuming tasks

It’s often when we feel that we are at our busiest that we think we haven’t got enough time to do the important things in our business. There often seems to be so many tasks and people competing for our attention.

The best way to take back control of our time is to define what tasks are using up most of our day.  Better to understand what is receiving most attention.

Just start by making a list.  Sounds simple enough.

The HowTo Bit:

To make the list of your top 10 time consuming tasks, you first need to understand what tasks you carry out during your day/week/month.

Make a list of all the tasks you undertake, and how long you are working on them.  Do this for each day, for a whole month.

This way, you will be able to understand how much time you have worked at each task.

I use a simple spreadsheet to record all the tasks.  This allows for a data sort using ‘time’ as the key.  This will give you a list of your top 10 tasks by time.  For the daily recording, the template I can share has areas to capture further information that will be useful for a more detailed analysis of your time data.

If you would like a copy of the template to record your time for daily tasks, Contact Us

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