#eLearning entrepreneur John Loveday shares his story of losing 8 stones and scaling his education business.
Health and wellness are the key to success.
When starting a business or a new role in the education sector, there are several areas you can choose to establish yourself or your start-up in, depending on your skills, knowledge, experience, and even your passion. Your health and wellness impact every area of your life, particularly your business or job, and ultimately your destiny for success.
In January 2020, I allowed my health to sink while my weight skyrocketed. A combination of events led to this, I’ll cover some of them in this article and how I managed to turn it around. First of all, look at the images below. The image on the left was in January 2020, I am smiling but deep down I was not happy. I’d been struggling for some time, just keeping my head above water and shutting down what seemed like an endless barrage of horrendous events. The image on the right was taken 17 months later, weighing just 8 stones (112 pounds) less.
For now, let me tell you what got me over 50 pounds.
Get healthy and deal with the hardest year of my life
“Hardest year of my life” sounds dramatic, especially during a period when everyone was struggling, however, personally it was a very difficult period.
It was January 2020 and I weighed 24 stones and 6 pounds. What had caused this? It’s hard to say specifically, but maybe dealing with all of the following (at the same time) had something to do with it:
- I had to restart my online training business after two people stole all of our clients, causing us to start a new company and build Study Academy from scratch (all clients are now back with us and we’re back on track). March)
- I went through two crown court cases to ensure that a horrendous human being (my father) was convicted of an inexcusable crime against my 9 year old daughter at the time.
- I was raising investments for Toppa (you know how stressful that can be)
- I was going through a custody battle to gain access to my youngest daughter as she was experiencing gross neglect.
- We (my business associates and I) were scammed out of a 6 figure sum by a guy who is now in prison for fraud.
All of this was in the space of 10-12 months!
It affected my business; it impacted my personal life and affected my health. Not only the things mentioned, but my weight also exacerbated things physically and mentally. So, I decided on January 6, 2020 to lose weight. By June 2021 he weighed 106.6 kg (16 stone 7 pounds). He had lost almost 8 stones!
The impact of being healthier and how I did it
The impact of changing my life?
- My motivation was through the roof, positively impacting my business and allowing us to close a 6 figure investment and secure multiple corporate clients who needed eLearning out of the box.
- My aches and pains (most of them) were gone, I was able to get back in shape and even rejoined the military as a reservist.
- I managed a 5km run time of just over 20 minutes and completed an arduous special forces march over Pen Y Fan in Wales.
- I rebuilt my original online training business with a new brand called Study Academy and we’re still building!
- I started to see the world in a better light and noticed little things like nature (random, I know)
- I met new people and even started a new Stoic Events business with Special Forces veteran Colin MacLachlan.
So for me, I think your physical and mental well-being has a huge impact on your professional life but also on your personal life. I looked back and wondered what it was that got me through those terrible events. The things I did are what I believe to be simple and effective ways to help yourself, and others, feel better and get through those tough times.
3 things stand out:
Move in a way you enjoy
For the first 4 months I didn’t run or lift a single dumbbell. He just walked every day when he had the chance. I stuck to the scenic routes around the Midlands as much as I could and listened to podcasts that had nothing to do with business or work. Something that took my mind off all the things I was dealing with. That short period of one or two hours not only gave me a chance to unwind, but also allowed me to burn over 1,000 calories. I enjoyed walking, although my old military self was sometimes annoyed with “walking is not exercise, you should run as hard and fast as you can.” It drastically reduced my anxiety and helped shift the weight. By finding an activity that you enjoy, you are less likely to stop after the first week. Once you choose your activity, make it part of your daily routine. I felt like walking outside got me on a solid base level for the next day and felt like the day owed me, not the other way around. I lost more than 2 stones in the first few months just by walking, constantly, every day. I can guarantee you that if you move more and do it outdoors, your physical and mental health will improve dramatically.
Allow yourself and your team to say ‘no’
Getting in the habit of acknowledging the importance of turning things down occasionally will take a lot of pressure off you and your team.
Being able to say ‘no’ is an important skill to develop, it will take a lot of pressure off you and allow you to focus on the things that are helping you become a better version of yourself. While dealing with all the events mentioned above, he was still smiling and pushing. To others outside, he was happy, albeit chubbier, and motivated. That was not the case!
People offered me mentoring roles, ventures to get involved in business, and even little things like invitations to social events became commonplace. All of which I was saying ‘yes’ to doing, every time. As soon as I started to politely say ‘no’, the pressure dissipated. I would deliberately try to get full, clear days in my schedule so I could catch up on work or just unplug. We all have a hard time saying no, there will be times when a ‘yes’ is needed, but choose those times carefully. One final note on this, if you are a manager or leader, let your team feel comfortable saying ‘no’. If you’re close to burnout, chances are they are, too. I understand that there are times during the year that are busier than others, so make sure the boundaries you set for yourself and your team reflect that reality.
If it helps, I’d explain why I was turning things down by being honest: “Sorry, sounds like a great opportunity, but I’m so busy right now that it wouldn’t add value. If I do something, I do it 100% and I wouldn’t want to let you down or get you involved so I can’t give you 100%.” You’ll be surprised how many people don’t fight you or take offense at politely refusing things. Give it a try.
Use past experiences to overcome current situations
I had never gone through the things that had happened to me during that 12-month period. I had no way of referring to a coping mechanism or solution. What I did have was my old military training and experience. During my successful 7-year military career, I served in some of the most diverse and hostile environments in the world. On occasion, he commanded teams in some of the fiercest fighting the British Army has seen to date. Understanding this allowed me to take the skills I used during those tough operational tours and use them to deal with what was going on during those 12 months.
In the military, you build resilience and harness a mindset like no other. I was in hair-raising situations in Iraq and Afghanistan and used my training, humor in the face of adversity and the people around me to get ahead. How could you translate that to civilian life? First of all, I clearly still had the resilience to deal with whatever was going on without breaking down mentally (although I was very close). Resilience improved when I remembered situations that had been worse than the ones I was currently facing. I would think, “If you can get over the explosion in Afghanistan and the loss of friends, you can get over this.” I appreciate that most of you reading this haven’t been in situations like this, however, when you or your team are struggling, remember an event that was difficult and think about how you got through it.
I also decided to start recording how I felt and my daily activities. At the end of each week, I reflected on the good and bad days to identify common themes. If I missed my walk that day I would feel less motivated or on days I met certain people I would feel great. I then sifted through that information to add and remove things from my routine and life until it became almost subconscious. I was training like in my military days, training myself to be happier and healthier.
Finally, I would try to find humor on days or times when things were tough, like when I got shot in my military days, we would all find the funny side of this. Having a sense of humor in the face of adversity makes a situation or danger seem less serious in an individual’s mind. Use the people around you as a source of humor and support. I’m terrible at compartmentalizing things and not sharing them, as soon as I started sharing I found things felt better. The old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” is very true.
We all have bad days. What really matters is how we deal with it. Give yourself time to look at the situation objectively and if you take away one thing from reading this, let it be that every situation in life is temporary and that you can overcome it. I hope this helps.
Thank you for reading
By John Loveday, CEO, Co-Founder and Shareholder, Study Academy, Toppa, Stoic Events and Glider Yachts
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in