The year 2017 represented a shift in my thinking and life philosphy, it will, I believe, forever mark the begining of what I call my 'evolution' as both a Husband and Father and if im honest as a human being.
The Big Bang
It all started at the begining of the year, a 'big bang' you might say, in the form of what could be described as treachery, which although a shock, turned out to be the catalyst for change.
Some years ago I jointly created a recruitment business , myself and my business partner had grown tired of working for others and wanted to go out on our own. The business started small and experienced slow steady growth. We wanted to create a utopian environment, allowing employees to have a voice in the business, treating them like adults and attempting to create an environment in which they could flourish and ultimately be happy. We allowed flexible working, encouraged long lunches for exercise and left any form of 'micro management' to those 'other' recruitment businesses.
Later after taking on a Non Exec, we decided to grow and created a business plan that grew by the numbers (of staff) but never truly realised our ambitions of growing to a size at which both Directors could take their foot off the pedal and have others manage the operation.
An outside appraisal might suggest we were just unlucky, the wrong time to do such a thing, the wrong location etc....but if Im honest it all boiled down to a lack of heart, drive and clarity. So the business trundled along, taking on staff, losing others but never really gaining traction.
In 2016 we began to suspect an employee of wrong doing, but we were unable to establish the facts, that person was a cunning wiley character whom, as it turned out, was such a good fabricator of the truth, even he believed his own lies. This at the same time when our staff werent covering their cost base and we as directors were failing to drive the business forward and inspire the team.
At the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, everything came crashing down, the said employee turned out to be a fraudster, our pipeline of business disapeared and some expected revenue also vanished. We owed money to the revenue and we were close to considering insolvency.
Drastic action was needed and we shed the company of most of its costs, got rid of staff, exited contracts, spread out our debt and by the skin of our teeth, held on to the business.
Lessons learnt...and yes the 'Wim' bit is coming
This turned out to have been the best thing we could have ever done.
I realised a number of things at this point:
1 - that without passion and clarity of expectation, you cant expect to grow a business
2 - that I am actually a loner when it comes to working, I can now finally concentrate on daily tasks, devoid of distractions
3 - that for mine and my family's sake, I needed to find another source of income that would eventually release me from this industry, not that I disliked what I did to any significant degree, but I knew my 'passion' wasnt there and I knew too that I had unused skills that could be primed and ready as soon as I took action.
4 - that I needed to change habits, routine, mindset and rid myself of what was typically a foggy brain. I needed to find clarity.
The 'excitable' period and Wim Hof....
An excitable phase then ensued, I discovered a potential new business, I started reading books by various 'self help' or 'personal development' gurus, I changed my daily routine, which included meditation, mindfulness and what can be best described as 'income producing activities'. I had gained focus, my recruitment business started to flourish again, I was more efficient in my processes and I was also able to slowly learn and develop new skills, linked to the new business.
Here he is.....
Towards the end of the year I read an article on the extreme athlete and guru known as the 'Ice Man' otherwise known as Wim Hof. An incredible chap whom has, over the years, achieved so much. From a multitude of Guiness World Records, 21 at the last count, to also creating a method of breathing combined with 'cold therapy' and core and strength exercises that has now been scientifically proven to influence the Autonomic Nervous System and the innate immune response.
Now I have only just started this programme and whether it is yet 'influencing' my autonomic nervous system or my 'innate immune response', I dont know, but what I can tell you is that I feel, flipping fantastic!
My wife was the first to notice, my mood had changed, I seemed spritely again, I didnt appear to be masking negative thoughts. I had ideas, I was more interested in creating plans for the family, I seemed like the 'old Dave', the one she married. I had found clarity again!!
The method involves breathing exercises that are effectively like controlled hyperventilation, combining this with various core based exersises and yoga moves (these I have yet to do, as I have been a 'Calisthenic' or 'body weight exercise' enthusiast for some time, but I recognise I am probably missing some crucial yoga poses) and then the best bit, cold therapy. In other words jumping in a cold shower or ice bath and staying there for as long as possible.
Wim advises that you at first take it easy, with a switch to cold water after your usual warm shower. I decided to go straight to cold and see how long I could last, which, as it turned out, was just a matter of seconds, this coupled with some excessive noise making, which greatly amused the family.
Even after the first shower, however, I knew this was for me. As you can imagine, you feel exhilerated immediately after toweling yourself down. You are left with a 'Ready Brek' like glow afterwards....it felt great.
Another lesson learnt as a result of being a plonka....
Amusingly, about a week in, I stupdly stretched just after the shower and instantly knew that was a bad move. Ive had a few poblems with my back for a couple of years, I regularly see an amazing Osteopath whom is particularly adept at sorting it out and she quite rightly reminded me, stretching a cold muscle is always a bad idea, especially when the cold muscle is in fact freezing cold. So lesson learnt there, warm yourself back up first, before you engage in any strenuos activity involving stretching muscles.
So far I have only carried out the tasks set in the free Wim Hof app and watched various Youtube vids on the subject too. There is a course that I will sign up for and will report on my findings here afterwards, but for now I am just enjoying the many benefits it has already provided.
More on the new business, the various self help books I can recommend and my further Wim Hof experiences in the future.
I know I will continue to 'evolve', taking on new disciplines, challenging myself in a variety of ways, learning from my experiences and ultimately feeling better equiped to be a father, husband, business owner and simply, a better human being.
Thank you for reading