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Fit, our first core value

Our first core value is fit. We keep our body, mind & knowledge in top condition, improving continuously. But why is this important to us? Let's find out!

Barbell in a gym

High performing

The purpose of this company is to create environments where people can be the best they can be. But in order to be the best you can be you need more then an environment that stimulates that. You need to be fit. Physically, emotionally and mentally. And as we believe in lead by example we expect our operators to be fit. To keep their body, mind and knowledge in top condition, improving continuously.

“Renewal is the principle—and the process—that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

Dr. Stephen R. Covey

One of the first management books I read was, as it was for many I guess, ‘The 7 habits if highly effective people’ by Stephen R. Covey. Especially the last habit ‘Sharpen the saw’ caught my attention. It says in order to practice the other 6 habits you need to ‘sharpen the saw’. Meaning: you need to take care of yourself. Make sure you are fit and keep improving. Something I picked up in the military as well. There we had a saying ‘if you stop getting better, you stop being good’.

Physically fit

Your body is a wonderful tool. In order to use it to full potential we need to train it. Luckily our genetics have evolved in such a way that this could even be somewhat enjoyable as well. The main principle here is ‘overcompensation’. I will not go in too much detail here now, but if you want more on that I can recommend ‘Antifragile’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Overcompensation on its own is not particularly fun, but the hormones associated with it make it ‘fun’. As a result of thousands of generations the current version of homo sapiens releases endorphins when you engage in physical activity. They work like drugs and reduce pain and create a feeling of warmth and happiness. And if that isn’t enough if you work out regularly your body will also create serotonin. This has positive effects on your mood, learning abilities and sleep.

Knowing this it seems pretty obvious to do something to get and stay physically fit. But what should that be? To optimize delivered value (remember the agile mindset) I’ve experimented a lot to achieve this. As I’m not a doctor please do not copy my habits 1on1, but for me it comes down to this:

Eat healthy

This means eating with a slight caloric deficit with highly nutritious food for 80% of the time. For me it helps to repeat the same meals to lower the temptation to eat more/less nutritious food. I also try to avoid drinking calories, so I’m a diet coke fan ;).

Move on a daily basis

This means 30 minutes of steady state cardio. Walking would be ideal, so dog owners get lucky. But a (stationary) bike or rowing machine would do as well. Just make sure you put in 30 minutes, every day. I try to walk every day and during spring/summer I take my bike for a spin in the evening.

Train your muscles

This means moderate to heavy exercise 3-5 times per week. The most effective way is to use (free) weights. As I do not enjoy working out with weights I use an app which generates body weight exercises for me. It’s called Freeletics. It can adapt your sessions as needed, so with it there’s really no excuse to not work out anymore.

Emotionally fit

Mindfulness is a buzz word these days and to be honest that creates some resistance with me. I don’t like to do something ‘because it’s a thing’, but it is important. I prefer to talk about emotional fitness. Keeping your mind in top condition. You need to be able to use that body to do good things and in order to that you need to have a fit and balanced mind.

A stack of stones balancing

Things that seem to work for a lot of people are journaling and meditation. I’ve tried both, but it didn’t feel helpful for me. What I try to do is reflect a lot. Both internally, when I’m alone walking or driving, and externally talking with someone while walking with them or over the phone. And, while also very important for physical recovery, sleeping is also very important for your emotional fitness and health. So make sure you get enough. Preferably between 7-9 hours, with 6 being the minimum.

Mentally fit

A fit body and mind are the foundation. In order to achieve results you need to know how to apply your body and mind. Therefor you need knowledge. Knowledge is when you understand how to apply information to achieve your goals. In this information era data and information are freely available. Sure, it can be difficult to filter useful data and information from trash, but you are no longer restricted by the knowledge of your parents or teachers. The human brain likes to use it’s full potential, as described in the top-level of Maslow’s pyramid. It is remarkable if you think about what we as species have accomplished using our brains in comparison to our nearest relatives (apes). Let’s make good use of it!

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

Henry Ford

As mentioned in the current times information is everywhere. The same applies as for physical and emotional fitness: work on it. Read, practice, talk, present, teach. If you are lucky you are in a (working) position where you’re learning continuously, but if you’re not you’ll need to do it on your own (and I would advise you to find another position too). Spending as little as 15 minutes per day can greatly improve your knowledge on topics of interest. Read articles and books or, if you’re like me, listen to them. I love audio books, but if you only have 15 minutes per day reading or listening to an entire book can be overwhelming. A good alternative could be something like Blinkist. They have summarized thousands of books in to 15 minute ‘blinks’ that you can either read of listen to.

Improving continuously

All of the above is good to know, but if you are not able to apply it, it won’t help. The key to all of this is consistency. What is better: walk 2 hours once or walk 15 minutes every day? Don’t expect to be awesome instantly: you need time to improve. The goal is not to be awesome. The goal is to be better. Better than yesterday, better than last week, better than a year a go. And in order to get there you need to improve. Improve continuously.

I can help you become fit and make continuous improvement part of your life. Check out my services or contact me for more information!

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Hey, I’m Tijmen, nice to meet you!

I'm a dad of 3 girls, Scout for 25+ years, Army Veteran and an Agile & High Performance Leader.

I have worked at several IT & Development companies in different leadership roles over the past 10 years after I left the military. I enjoy creating environments where people can perform at their best. I do this using my core values Fit, Focus, Flexible, Fun and Family. I offer training, coaching, advice and/or hands-on leadership. View my services to learn more about how I can help or check about to find out what drives me.

I’d love to learn about your company and see how I can help!

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