In late 2010 I had a problem. Too much weight around my gut. I was definitely sporting the William Shatner look (sorry, Captain Kirk).
So I worked out a plan that included two high-payback activities. First, I radically changed my diet. Next, I started working out everyday. It worked. When I started on November 15, 2010, I weighed 216 pounds. I was down to 174 pounds by June 16, 2011. That’s a drop of 42 pounds in 214 days.
Over the following eight weeks, I kept pushing harder, and I dropped about another 8 to 10 pounds. Again, I followed the same high-payback strategies–good diet and smart workouts.
But there was another high-payback activity–sleep. When I started this journey, I learned that sleep deprivation could derail fat loss. So I worked on that and continue to do so today.
Every CEO Should be Walking and Listening
I work for some amazing CEOs. Most are on full throttle day in and day out. And just what high-payback activity do I recommend for the ultra-busy CEO? Slowing down. I have the perfect prescription.
Sound boring? Not at all.
Diet and workouts typically get the headlines for high-payback activities for weight loss. But not “more” sleep. And I bet that’s your reaction too.
I used to run between 35 and 45 miles a week in my 30s. Given my age and wobbly knees, I just can’t do that anymore. So about once per quarter, I do long power walks two to three times weekly and those walks range from six to eight miles each time out.
When I started doing that several years ago, I thought I was going to die from boredom. In fact, I decided if I ever learned that I had a month to live, I’d go on one of those long walks because I thought they lasted forever.
And then I discovered the best thing since sliced bread when walking through the Columbia, Missouri library–audio books. I was hooked. Back then, life was tough. My first audio books were on CD. Now I have an Audible account allowing me to download multiple books to my iPod–some 50 per year.
Three Reasons for Walking and Listening to Great Books
- When I start my walks, I do not press play just yet. I just walk for 10 or 15 minutes to clear my head. And it turns into great thinking time. Yeah, I can do that when I do run (I can do sprints once a week) or some other high-intensity workout. If you insist on jogging, that works too. So the first reason for walking is getting some great thinking time without any distractions. You do leave your laptop behind, right?
- Most of my listening time from books occurs while I’m driving. And while I can typically absorb most of the content while driving, I find it easier to listen to books while walking as there are fewer distractions, except for the occasional dustings I get from drivers that feel they need to speed by me as I traverse my gravel roads.
- But the main reason I enjoy walking and listening to books is that I find this activity extremely relaxing. I love reading, so combining a great book while doing something that is healthy makes for a great one to two-hour activity. What a way to learn, burn a few calories and rake in a few great ideas for the week ahead.
Bottom line, I find walking and listening to a high-payback activity personally, spiritually, and professionally.
And Just What Do I Listen To?
I thought you’d never ask.
On my way back from Washington, Missouri today, I nearly wrapped up The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. When I finish, I’m hitting play again. It’s that good. Keller’s book will be the 53rd audio book I’ve listened to in 2014. I usually don’t listen to that many in a year, but I’ve been logging a ton of miles in 2014. Here are some of my favorites this past year:
I had already read Lean Startup by Eric Ries twice and wanted to go through it one more time. So on the third time, I listened to it. Excellent!
I enjoyed getting to know Warren Buffet through The Snowball, but it was a long 36 hours.
Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas was both funny yet inspiring on how one young man conquered debt while achieving a dream.
Grisham’s The Testament was quick and entertaining.
Shadow Diver was interesting and held my interest.
I generally shun books by politicians, but I learned much from Elizabeth Warren’s book A Fighting Chance.
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail. Why not? What a perfect book to listen to while on long walks.
My favorite this year? Easy. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. Honest. Intense. Inspiring. I was deeply engaged in the book as the author read it. I was especially moved in the last few chapters. If you are a leader in your company, read or listen to the book. Or better yet, do both.
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger ranks near the top and reminded me of the power of focused goal setting.
Oh Yeah, Podcasts Too
A couple years ago, I discovered another world of great audio in the form of podcasts.
Today, there are so many to choose from you have to pick your spots, or you’ll never get anything done.
Occasionally, I listen to John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, but the audio quality could be better. I’ve been a long-time fan of Michael Hyatt and enjoy his podcasts. Since he’s a fellow Missourian, Shawn Stevenson’s The Model Health Show is high on my list.
And finally, a shout out to a remarkable young man named Pat Flynn who started podcasting a couple years ago–great stuff. Even the CEO running a $100 million company will gain some valuable insights by listening to his Smart Passive Income Podcast.
What Do You Have to Lose?
Just a few pounds, that’s all.
Seriously, give it a try. If you don’t have an account, sign up for a subscription over at Audible.com. Make sure you have iTunes on your PC or Mac. Start downloading and then drag and drop to your iPod.
Then let me know what your favorites are.