The first key to expanding your personal and professional impact is to love and respect your body. I believe this should be the first instruction in every business book, every course and every piece of business advice – but sadly it’s not.
If you want to be successful and happy you need to be fully alive and awake. If you’re half asleep or only half alive, you can’t reach real success and you definitely won’t be able to enjoy it. You may work very hard and end up wondering why it didn’t work as well as it should. You may even do all the right things in your business – have a great idea, follow the best marketing advice, build a great team and so on – but still feel that something’s missing.
If you don’t take good care of your body you will not be able to be fully awake or alive. Your body is the vehicle through which you experience life. If it’s rusty and poorly maintained, full of dirty fuel and never been cleaned, it’s not going to drive very well and it’s going to be very unpleasant to take it anywhere.
Strong words, I know, but it’s astonishing the extent to which we ignore this precious asset, or try to get away with as little maintenance as possible. There’s a huge difference between a car that’s loved and cherished by its owner, and a car that’s used and abused.
The thing about your body is that it’s very responsive to the way it’s treated, just like a child. If you give it love and respect it will return it to you many times over, in good experiences, nice feelings and an overall sense of wellbeing. If you ignore it and treat it as if it’s always in the way of who you really want to be, it will be naughty, get very noisy when you don’t want it to and embarrass you in the key moment.
Your body is far more than a useful tool. It gives you access to the most extraordinary experiences of being human. It deserves to be treated like a king or queen, or at least a treasured only grandchild.
So let’s look at three of the simple requirements a body has for daily satisfaction.
First and foremost, it feels a whole lot better if it’s not surrounded by stress and kept in a permanent state of tension. So being relaxed is the biggest gift you can give your body. Once you’re relaxed you can enjoy life and play with the details like food and exercise. If you’re not relaxed, make it your first priority. Your body will reward you well, with increased clarity, greater effectiveness and better health.
Secondly, the body likes to be spoken to with love and respect. It’s hard for it to be kind to you if you hate it or resent it whenever you see it in the mirror. If you treat it as if it’s broken or letting you down or failing you, it’s going to struggle to do what it’s really capable of. But if you treat it like your most precious asset, and invest in its well-being, speak kindly to it, nurture it when it’s sick and look at it with love and kindness, it becomes a willing helper and cooperative ally at home and at work.
Thirdly the body likes enjoyment. This includes variety, fun, movement, good food, hugs, affection and other good experiences. Like most of us we’d rather have fun than do an exercise routine. We’d rather eat delicious food than eat a restricted diet. We’d rather have a hug from someone we love than a handshake with someone we’re never going to see again. If you love and respect your body you will naturally eat delicious food that’s healthy and feels good too. You’ll take exercise that’s fun, varied and gives you lots of energy. And you’ll express your affection and love with others through physical touch. You’ll be rewarded with far greater enjoyment in life, and as a result people will find you inspiring and uplifting. They’ll want to do business with you and look forward to working with you.
We could into more detail about what the body likes, but the principle is rather simple. If you love it, you’re likely to make good decisions about how to care for it. If you don’t love it, you may end up hurting it with bad food, lack of exercise and too much stress. You may then hurt it even more by putting it on a strict diet, punishing exercise routine and ever greater stress.
If you understand just how valuable it is, I don’t have to tell you a lot about how to care for it. Some of it you know already. The rest you’ll find out. Just like someone who loves their car – they’ll find out every detail about how to care for it. That’s what love does.