In our contemporary, fast-food, ‘show me the money’ culture, we’ve grown accustomed to quick results and fulfilment on demand. Modern technology has streamlined nearly every process, and today there’s an app for most things.
Whether we want new clothes, a taxi, or a freshly baked sourdough pizza from the charming Italian restaurant in town, we can have it all and delivered straight to our door with a few taps and swipes of a smartphone.
But it’s not just goods and services that have gone the way of fast-food. Information and knowledge too, are now more readily accessible and available for instant delivery. When we want to learn something new, for instance, we no longer need to look for a local evening class. Instead, we hop on the internet and in a few seconds we can find hundreds if not thousands of articles, cheat sheets and YouTube tutorials that can distil even complex concepts and topics into easily digestible segments.
And, let’s be honest, this is pretty brilliant:
But are we sometimes missing something?
If you’ve never baked your own sourdough pizza bread then yes, you’re definitely missing out. And when it comes to certain outcomes, being an expert in your field, for example, there is no fast-food route to shorten the time required to study your art properly, nor minimise the effort needed to develop and refine your skills.
As for entrepreneurship, on the other hand, there is some scope to apply fast-food principles to increase profits.
How do you quick-start your business? Typically, you either:
Outsource: This is one of the best means to extend your capacity and expand your earning potential. But while I’m all for collaborating to achieve sustainability, you still need to be creating something of real value somewhere along the line. Otherwise, you’re just a replaceable intermediary waiting to be streamlined from the process.
You must also be mindful of how reliant you are on others as this introduces vulnerability – Watch out for when ‘smart leveraging’ starts to feel more like ‘uncomfortable dependence’ or ‘over-exposure’, else you risk becoming a mere subject to the whims and power of others.
There’s also a lot to be said for doing. If someone keeps selling you fish, you’ll never learn how to catch your own. This might not be a problem in the short-term, but when the fisherman retires or is subject to a hostile takeover and triples the price? Not to mention, it costs – you’re handing over a portion of your takings to be someone else’s profit.
Put in massive upfront investment: If you have the resources, you could buy a ready-made business like a franchise or purchase off-the-shelf-business components. If you’re Richard Branson, this is a great option. With cash behind you, you can set up premises, commission a sophisticated, multifunctional website and engage a talented sales and marketing agency from day zero to kick-start the whole project.
But not everyone has such unlimited resources, or even wants to be running with someone else’s idea. Most genuine entrepreneurs I have met are doing it because of the cool satisfaction and rewards that come with building a business from zero. Creating something that did not exist before.
Cut corners: Yes, this is an option and we have all come across people who do this. They cut time and save money by skipping the necessary checks and protocols, insurances, official approvals or accreditations. However, this is super-high risk, sometimes illegal, generally unethical and often reckless. Not a smart, or sustainable, choice.
Fake it till you make it: This is less extreme than cutting corners, and I can certainly relate to the mindset. We all have to act more confident than we feel in certain situations. We have all taken on assignments where we’re extremely familiar with 80%, and ‘merely’ confident that we will work out the other 20%. However, there is a line between acting with confidence and actually faking it – claiming skills or knowledge or capabilities that you don’t have or don’t understand. After all, how would you feel about a hairdresser, dentist or surgeon who hadn’t completed all of their training and chose to blag it instead? Not only is it immoral, but you put your reputation and your customers at risk. You’re being reckless with the trust your customers have placed in you.
So what does this mean for the rest of us, who don’t have unlimited resources to throw at speculative projects, who aren’t prepared to cut corners or pretend to be something we’re not?
What can the rest of us do?
Well, we plan.
We set the desired outcome, identify the sequence of actions and cause and effect that will take us there, and we put the plan into action.
We create and we apply the process.
And importantly, we Trust The Process…
(Next up: Trust The Process Part 2 – sign up to our regular blog emailer to make sure you don’t miss it!)
Before I even get to that, what was 2017 the year of for you?
Me, I blog about the things I see and the conversations I have with entrepreneurs and business owners, and when I look back at some of the themes I covered in 2017… well… there’s an undeniable vibe - with Resilience, Deception, Rejection, Limbo, Self-doubt, Fatigue, our very popular 2-parter on VUCA … oh my gosh the list goes on and on!
Certainly I think much of this general malaise, this shared feeling of ‘meh’, has originated from outside factors. Between all the political squabbling, EU wrangling, and economic underperformance, we’ve had no shortage of reasons to be nervous and to defer our decision-making. But there is an internal/mindset issue too. After all, what are we meant to do? Just hang in limbo indefinitely waiting for factors outside our control to resolve themselves? Will they ever?
For many decision makers, conditions have been imperfect for so long, it’s coming full circle, creating an air of impatience and pent up momentum. A recognition that it may never be the perfect time (it might only rarely even be an okay time). There will always be external or personal factors that create instability or uncertainty. Abnormal is the new normal. As the other Agent K (Men In Black 1997), puts it, “There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet.”
So, perhaps, there is a time when despite the lousy external conditions, negative headlines and ‘weak business confidence’ surveys spouted by the popular media, you instead draw on your internal strength and resolve, and say “It is time”. You accept the fluid nature of things and learn to ride the waves. You back yourself, make a judgement call and make your decisions the right decisions and make now the right time.
How do you do this?
What we do – what all of us entrepreneurs do – is ultimately about action. Without action, we’re no different from anyone anywhere who’s had an idea to escape the rat race but done nothing about it.
So perversely, while it may be that it’s never a perfect time, I wonder if perhaps it’s also always a good time?
If 2017 was the year of ‘meh’, can you make 2018 the year of decision, the year of mobilisation, the year of progress and the year of results?
What do you think? What will 2018 be ‘the year of’ for you? Let me know in the comments below.
“The test is a mirror” - I stumbled across this enigmatic expression the other day, and it got me thinking. Sometimes the way we answer a question is more telling than the answer itself.
After all, we can all come up with answers and rationales for our actions (or lack of actions). Sometimes it’s better to look at how we answer, or how the question makes us feel.
Our brains are incredible, but they can also be deceptive. They can trick us into thinking we are on top of all sorts of situations even when we’re not. Our instincts on the other hand, never lie. We have a visceral reaction to particular thoughts and situations that no amount of puff and bluster can mask.
Take these five questions for example. You probably have easy access stock answers to all of these. But try reading them slowly, let them sink in, and observe how they really make you feel…
Question 1: How much effort am I really prepared to put into the business to make it work?
This was meant to be about improving your quality of life and being your own boss, wasn’t it? But the reality is a far cry from the idealistic dream of being beholden to no one.
Yes, you may be master of your schedule now, but don’t be fooled. Your business has an insatiable appetite for time and energy. Unchecked, it will become your boss and mercilessly devour not just your weekdays, but evenings, weekends, and every waking thought.
Don’t get me wrong; there are many rewards. But are you ready to sacrifice your personal time and put in all your effort for as long as it takes, to build momentum and reach your performance goals?
Question 2: Do I have the support I need?
This is a big deal. Moving to entrepreneur-land is not like trying a different hairstyle. You are unilaterally unplugging from The Matrix, with all its safety and comfort. You are making a fundamental change in your life, and it will change you and those you love, and it will create ripples that touch everyone around you.
So what about your partner, your children, your wider family and your friends? How will the path you have chosen to take, affect them? Do they really ‘get’ and stand behind what you are doing and the implications of your choices?
How about wider support? Do you know where to find help from people who do understand what you’re doing? A strong network is vital for you to succeed, you need to make connections with other business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone else who gets (and ideally, has experienced) the journey you have ahead.
Question 3: How much compromise: What am I prepared to let go and what is non-negotiable?
Entrepreneurship requires commitment and sacrifice. Very quickly your time and money will be in shorter supply, and so it’s important to consider what you can and can’t live without. Would you be okay for instance, missing your children’s school plays, sports days or parents’ evenings? Or how about forgoing your special treat weekend breaks or evenings out? What would you be happy to cut back to save money?
Whatever you decide, you should hold yourself to it. So, if you find your once-a-day gym visit slips to once-a-month or family mealtimes go awry because you’re stuck at your laptop, this should be an alarm. Either your expectations were unrealistic (in which case be honest with yourself and those affected), or you’ve fallen off course, and you need to adjust.
Question 4: Am I willing to take on the level of financial risk required to achieve my goal?
For some people, the mere mention of debt is enough to send a shudder down their spine. But for many entrepreneurs, financial exposure comes with the territory, especially in the early days.
So, how much cash are you prepared to burn? How much debt are you prepared to accumulate while you wait for your enterprise to take off? Pretty much every up-and-running business I have worked with, only ever came about as a result of an initial investment of personal funds and unpaid time.
How much are you prepared to put behind your belief in the success of the venture? How do you plan to bridge any shortfall? Can you/would you borrow money or exchange shares in the business for outside investment?
How much runway does all this buy you and is it enough?
Question 5: How much of my life will I devote to this?
Getting a business off the ground can be all-consuming. It typically takes far longer than you think before you can switch to cruise control and enjoy the spoils of your hard work. How long are you prepared to put your life on hold for while you do this? What ‘significant life moments’ do you have on the horizon that may throw a spanner in the works and create extra pressure when you’re already feeling overloaded with the business?
Even regular time off can be difficult for the first few years as the business will be heavily reliant on your input. And all of this will come at a time when your self-care and mental wellbeing is critical. How then, will you balance this tension (without it creating more tension in and of itself)?
How did you do?
So, what do these questions tell you about your business and how you feel about it? Are you cautiously working your way through, eyes open and prepared, or are there areas where you may be sticking your head in the sand?
And what about the way you answered? Did you just make a superficial or dismissive pass? Or did the exercise draw you in, maybe pull on a few threads and make you want to explore further?
Perhaps, it illuminated some self-doubt that until now had been hidden? In contrast, have your answers given you a boost and helped cement some firm foundations for your venture?
We may be in the midst of the carefree party season, but as we start the countdown to the end of 2017, there is no better time to consider big questions like these that can touch the very core of your entrepreneurial capability and resilience.
This may not sound like a very cheery exercise, but as you lay your plans for the new year ahead, this self-awareness will help you finally crack the issues you’ve been missing or avoiding, so you can take control and own them. And that’s an incredibly positive way to end your year!
And if your regular sources of business guidance are shying away from asking these sorts of tough questions, then maybe 2018 is the year to seek out new challenge and inspiration.
You know where to find us.
The test is a mirror.
Everyone thinks they’re a … photographer, graphic designer, recruiter, marketer … and to a certain extent, this is true.
Gone are the days when we worked only within our given area of expertise, skill or talent. Now the lines are blurred; we’re all keen to dabble, to experiment and try our hand at different things in our business. And thanks to digital advances, we have the means.
Those of you that know me will already be aware; I’m a huge fan of tools – devices, programmes, applications – all the things that help to get the job done quicker, better, easier or cheaper.
In fact, whenever it is feasible I’ll opt for a tech-based method, rather than undertake a task manually, with a makeshift solution or by bringing in an outside resource.
I think this, 'empowerment by technology' is one of the key enablers for the entrepreneur revolution we’re experiencing in our time.
Off-the-shelf tools with easy-to-use interfaces offer even novice users, professional-grade capabilities to automate social media activity, create amazing documents and presentations, design and enhance graphics, take artistic-looking photos, build websites and much more.
And all this is great, isn’t it?
Well… up to a point.
Yes, these tools are neat and efficient, and they’re more than effective when it comes to planning and running a lean business model.
But it can become a problem when you syphon off so much of your time to work as your company’s untrained, unofficial graphic designer, web developer, bookkeeper, photographer … that you neglect the things that move your business forward and allow it to grow.
So what is the tipping point?
In the beginning, these tech-orientated, DIY options provide a cost-effective way to fulfil many vital auxiliary tasks, personally. But as the business evolves and your role shifts within it from facilitator to manager, you reach a critical point at which it becomes less beneficial (and often more detrimental) to carry on like this.
Rather than continue and risk overstretching yourself, you could delegate and train up a member of your team to use these tools. Or, you could upgrade and outsource the job entirely so you can direct your energy and expertise to where it is needed most.
When then, should you make this strategic transition? There is no hard and fast rule, but these questions can help you to decide:
Do I have the skills? In the early days, spreadsheets, simple systems and apps may be enough to track invoices, record receipts and manage cash flow. But as the business grows and becomes more complex, do you still feel confident handling the books yourself? This is one example of many where it pays to assess both your skills and knowledge of the tools you are using and the area itself, and weigh it against the risk of making a mistake – and the consequences of doing so.
Can I maintain a sustainable level of quality? Few things are more off-putting than a slip in brand standards, be that sloppy copy on your website, shoddy design elements or a slump in social media posting. Your clients want to see a consistent level of quality; it speaks volumes about your reliability and the pride you take in your business. So if any area falls below par, it could be time to set aside the tools you are using and enlist the assistance of a professional. It need not cost the earth; a freelancer is an affordable option you can up or downgrade as necessary.
Does the task impact mission-critical areas? To gauge the effect these activities have on your business, take a look at the metrics you monitor. If off-topic tasks are impeding KPIs and the pursuit of your overarching goals, then you should make some changes.
Ultimately though, the key test is this: consider how much you stand to save doing the tasks yourself compared to the money you could earn in that time if you outsourced these tasks and switched your focus to the activities that generate big bucks. Is saving money still the right thing for your business?
Otherwise, we’d all be better off giving up what we’re doing to become discount graphic designers or web developers instead.
Do you DIY or have you made the switch to outsource some of your business related activities? Let me know in the comments.
Guest blog from Colin Bielckus, the Outsourced Finance Director and Avenue Business Services
Chambers Dictionary – the borderland of Hell, reserved for the unbaptised; any unsatisfactory place of consignment or oblivion; an uncertain or intermediate state; prison.
How do you plan, let alone execute, in times of uncertainty?
Let’s face facts – even in this post-truth world there are still some – whatever your viewpoint on the EU, many businesses are finding themselves unable to plan properly due to uncertain markets, uncertain access to employees and uncertainty over whether costs of imported items will materially alter.
The correct thing to do is ignore the distractions and make an educated guess (or two) and make a killing while everyone else dithers but, in the real world, you’re going to be the one doing the dithering while someone (braver?) steals a march on you.
It’s just life.
The old fight or flight response (technically the hyperarousal or acute stress response) has been revisited and is now the fight, flight or freeze response.
And all too often the answer is freeze.
It can be that it’s not your “fault” – just take me as a for instance – a couple of presentations that I know have gone really well have not (yet) led to new assignments. They will – of that I am certain – but the other parties are suffering from said freeze.
So it’s not MY freeze, is it?
Or is it? Am I not just as guilty as my prospective clients?
I’ve a number of possible responses to this but they can realistically be summarised as:
In much of what I do there is a coaching element rather than a mentoring viewpoint (ten points for those who can tell me the difference in a sentence) so, while there is the perpetual temptation to cajole, one must ask if that is the right thing to do at that time with that person. Sometimes it is, sometimes it really isn’t. Learn to be honest with yourself.
But do be wary of the snake oil salesmen – everything is wonderful if you buy my A or B or C – it’s the wonder cure for all ailments, personal as well as business. The new wonder cure – won’t take any hard work, preparation or staying power – just give me your money and all will be well.
Of course, I’m going to say that. Aren’t I?
It’s not in my best interest to give you a simple cure and go – one off payment and that’s all you’ll ever need – when I can sell you something that you will need to come back again and again. That’s what people like me do, isn’t it… Better the single payment for the panacea and, if it doesn’t work, try again. The grass is always greener.
But deep inside we know that life is really not like that, although we all know those people in business who act as if it is.
And we’ve got (a minimum of) two more years of this.
My confidence levels in our negotiators are not very high… I suspect the best we can hope for is that the economy acts as it does when coming out of a recession – eventually enough people get fed up with being miserable that things start to pick up because of a collective desire for life to improve.
Of course, the vote of last year demonstrated a deep division in our populace – as near as damn 50:50 – which suggests, whatever happens, half the country is going to be disappointed. But we are where we are, whether we want to be or not.
Certain sectors of the economy may well be more resilient than others. If you are selling UK purchased goods to UK consumers the likelihood is that, increases in bank base rate permitting, your audience is unlikely to disappear overnight. That doesn’t mean that, if you are selling snow to Eskimos, your market will disappear but you might find you have to be more flexible in your trading terms.
Do remember too that business is not a zero-sum game. Too many people treat it as such. If I make a profit it doesn’t mean that you don’t. One thing I am certain of is that SOMEBODY will be making money out of these conditions, be it a “disrupter” or not.
Just have the attitude that says that somebody is me.
Colin Bielckus is The Outsourced Finance Director, delivering a bespoke service for aspiring SMEs, and MD owner of Avenue Business Services, Chartered Accountants based in South Hampshire.
Also check out Colin's brilliant tongue-in-cheek blog Re: Accountancy.
Guest blog from Trisha Lewis, Professional Communicator
Let’s dig deeper - what are the ingredients of this ‘doubt’ that you are ‘doing’ to yourself?
Try these questions out for size:
Do you ever:
Would it help if there was a technical term to sum all this up?
Well the words won’t help as such - but it is good to know that these feelings are not unique to
you! When something has been through the process of rigorous research it tends to suggest
that it is real and worth investigating.
The research I refer to was done in the 1970’s by Clance & Imes - and the name they used for
these ways of thinking was ‘Impostor Phenomenon’ (and yes I did just use spell check).
Fortunately this ‘condition’ is now more commonly referred to as ‘Impostor Syndrome’ - easier to
say and spell, whilst not so technically accurate.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
It’s what I have right now as I scour my overflowing bookshelves for yet another reference for
this blog. It’s what I had an hour ago when I came across yet another person on google who
does something similar to me and seems to be having massive success and they look different
and talk different and have a good ‘ebook’ and ….. nobody will ever take me seriously.
It’s what I did at the last networking event I attended - looked around the table and associated
‘credibility’ to every person other than myself.
It’s spending 10 times as much time as needed to ‘perfect’ a presentation, piece of work,
business card, website…..
It’s completely ignoring every achievement and qualification you have already and considering
taking an open university degree to make sure people believe that you ‘know your stuff’.
It’s NOT GOOD! It can hold you back if you let it - and it’s exhausting.
Checklist of symptoms
Effects on your business
There is a concept in marketing known as AIDA - how to lead a person to buy basically:
That makes perfect sense for persuasive communication - I certainly explore this sequence
when coaching clients and indeed use this AIDA approach frequently in verbal and written
However - let’s chuck all the above ‘impostor syndrome’ ingredients into the mix - and do so
even before you start this sequence. How does this influence the ‘action’ part? You want to get
the ‘prospect’s’ attention, interest, desire - but there is a voice in your head saying : ‘I’m a fraud
and they will catch me out any minute’. You therefore ‘pull back’ at every stage. You underplay
the benefits of what you do and more than likely you fail to get them to take action.
A quick look at the above checklist of symptoms will allow you to imagine many more ‘negative’
consequences of Impostor Syndrome thinking - the very worst being ‘giving up’ and reverting to
comfort zones to hide away where nobody will question you - where nobody will notice you -
where no mistakes will be made. You might even spend all your energy seeking ‘validation’ from
others rather than getting on with the job and seeing the results which lead you to give yourself
Is there a cure?
Firstly - you have to want a cure. It is very possible to get into a love-hate relationship with the
Impostor Syndrome - and fighting it might feel like you are fighting your very identity - which
after all you are already a bit ‘wobbly’ about.
In the words of Diana Ross:
If there's a cure for this
I don't want it
I don't want it
If there's a remedy
I'll run from it
So - having decided that you DO want a cure - the bad news is there isn’t one! Sorry.
However - having decided that you are up for doing something to change the thinking pattern -
there is a way forward. This way forward is simple to say and less simple to do. Don’t be too
hard on yourself while you are trying - keep at it and the patterns will start to change as our
brains have an amazing capacity for re-wiring connections.
The way to make this change?
You have already done step one. Remember - you are totally the boss of all this - it is only you
creating it in the first place.
Final point to consider
The Impostor Syndrome is not confined to a group of people - it can be found in well over 70%
of the population - both genders, all ages, all backgrounds, all personalities ….. It is wildly
rampant amongst the highly skilled and outwardly confident - it lurks amongst academics and
Can you imagine winning 3 Oscar’s and still saying this:
‘You think, “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act
anyway, so why am I doing this?”‘
These exact words were spoken by the actor Meryl Streep.
I frequently explore this topic in coaching sessions - and I am so pleased to have delivered talks
to students on this prevalent mindset barrier - the discussion needs to happen.
Brilliant short animation from The School of Life
Trisha Lewis - Professional Communicator
Helping individuals and organisations remove the barriers to effective communication
How do you recognise Imposter Syndrome in yourself and your work life? Let me know in the comments below.
You may already be familiar with the term, but even if not, it’s likely you’ve encountered it.
I came across VUCA only recently and immediately it struck a chord. It represents how we understand and cope with the environment around us and in turn, how our behaviour and business activities impact on that environment and our clients.
So what is VUCA?
For an acronym, VUCA has a colourful past. The U.S. military conceptualised it after the Cold War, but it was also used to navigate the chaos of the financial crash in 2008.
VUCA describes situations that are Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Now if that doesn’t reflect the space in which we all operate in the present day, then I don’t know what does!!
As you’d expect, a VUCA environment is a less than helpful one to work in because it affects our stability, confidence, planning and decision making. That said, while VUCA is generally used to describe external factors or influences over which we may have limited control, it doesn’t mean that we should just roll over.
Strategies for success in a VUCA environment
1. Remove - Avoid - Reduce
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” (Mindfulness and meditation guru Jon Kabat-Zinn)
Here’s how you can manage the VUCA dynamics and turn the tide on the effects it has on your business…
Next Up: VUCA Part 2 – As well as looking at how our own businesses respond to VUCA, we also need to consider how we can reduce the VUCA ripples we create for our clients.
To ensure you don’t miss the second VUCA instalment sign up to the Boardroom Blog mailing list here!
By Kevin Sheldrake
Everything that moves, meets resistance. If you want to move quickly, or move a lot, then this resistance becomes a big deal.
And your business wants to move! In today’s fast-paced business environment, everything is about flexibility, speed of innovation and reaction. Your ability to innovate and bring to market, or to learn and re-design and pivot, can be the making or breaking of your hard-fought business.
So identifying, and removing, your points of drag, is important stuff.
In your business there’s a number of factors that can lead to drag: complex approval lines, lack of funding, cumbersome manual processes, excessive administration and human factors like under-motivated staff or slow, out of touch, partners or suppliers.
Whatever the cause, the outcomes are often the same: efficiency declines, growth stalls and innovation is inhibited.
So the challenge for business owners is spotting and alleviating this resistance before it becomes destructive or debilitating.
What does it look like? What should I do?
If you recognise any of these drag factors, it’s time to take action:
By the way, reducing drag in your business doesn’t necessarily mean cuts and reductions. Quite the opposite in fact - it usually requires effort and investment.
Either way, it’s tough work, especially if the causes and behaviours have become ingrained in key processes and procedures or the mindset of staff or strategic partners. If you can’t catch it early, then you may need to dial down certain non-critical efforts so you can give due focus to your streamlining.
What kinds of drag have you experienced in your business? Do you have any tips of your own to remove friction and boost productivity? Let me know in the comments below.
Ah the life of a solopreneur! Freedom from work routine and the daily commute and office politics. Finally able to pursue your passion, without being held back by a team or boss who don’t share your vision. This is something of a romantic notion that is not the reality for most small business owners.
Life on the road, living out of a suitcase and networking events at the crack of dawn are the reality for most of us. Perhaps the most difficult aspect to keep on top of is the food we are consuming. A lifestyle of eating away from home, breakfast fry-ups, networking coffees and evening drinks can have its downsides. Inadvertently, we may stepping onto the energy roller coaster. Up one minute, down the next; experiencing weight gain, feeling ‘spaced out’ and general lethargy. Not great when you need to write a blog post, deliver a marketing presentation or meet with a potential client.
Most of my clients are business owners, who travel extensively and often don’t have full control over the food they are eating. Working with them, I have discovered three steps that will allow you to eat out, and still ensure you’re super focused when it’s time to get to work.
Step 1. Discover your Metabolic Type
This is the equivalent of knowing what fuel to put in your car. You wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol car and expect it to drive. So why do that with your body?
We all have a Metabolic Type; there are three types: Carbohydrate, Protein and Mixed. For example, as a Protein Type, I need to be aware of eating excessive ‘naked carbs.’ That is a carb source without a fat and protein to slow the rate at which I burn through the energy and keep me on my game for longer. No Metabolic Type is better than any other, and discovering yours will literally change the way you look at food forever!
Step 2. Learn what constitutes a fat, protein and carbohydrate
For clear thinking and even, all-day energy we need the right balance of all three macronutrients, eating the right proportions for our Metabolic Type. The only way we can proportion our plate properly is if we can quickly tell the difference between fats, proteins and carbohydrates. With this quick guide, you’ll never be unsure again.
Proteins are foods that had a pair of eyes, or came from of something with a pair
of eyes. Eg. Cows, chickens and fish have a pair of eyes; their products are milk, eggs and caviar respectively. ‘Eyes-foods’ are high in protein.
Fats I always picture the ‘fat aisle’ in the supermarket. Think about where the olive oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil live. These are all fats. Some fats may also be found in the fridge, such as dripping or lard. Some exceptions are nuts and avocados; both very high in good fat. Yum!
Carbohydrates are everything else not covered in the first two categories. Carbs are not just bread, rice, pasta or grains as you may have been led to believe; they include vegetables, fruits, wine, chocolate and most common snack foods and breakfast cereals.
3. Keep a food log (The acid test)
It takes between 1 and 2 hours for your body to give you feedback on what you just ate. Food logging is the best way to actively listen to your body. Best of all, it’s free, and can also help to identify allergies or foods that simply don’t agree with you.
You don’t have to get fancy with tracking apps or complex programs. Your phone is a great tool to log what you’re eating and if you’re anything like me it’s always within reach. Just take a before and after picture of your food (giving you the time and the amount consumed). Then an hour or two after you finish, make a 30 second video to record your responses. Speak about your energy levels, how full you feel and your emotional state. Say a few words about each and give the meal an overall rating out of 10, based on how you feel. Keep it simple, but do it consistently for at least a week.
The real power comes from reviewing your food diary after a week and asking yourself:
Adjust your diet based on what you discover from food logging for a week. Repeat for another week to fine-tune your diet.
Lawrence is a qualified Psychologist and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, helping clients ‘Hardwire a Healthier Lifestyle’. For health tips and to ask any questions you may have, follow him on Instagram (www.instagram.com/iam2awrence) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/2awrence)
How do you deal with the networking food and energy rollercoaster? Let me know in the comments below.
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