After I graduated from my graduate program in 2013, I was weighing in at 270 lbs. My family and friends began to show genuine concern about my health, and because of the love I have for them, I decided it was time for me to make a change. During this time, I was about to start a new job at one of the world's largest professional services firms and had begun planning for a digital business. I could not imagine juggling my health on top of all of this, but I knew I could not put this off any longer if I wanted to reach the professional and entrepreneurial heights I envisioned for myself. As such, I postponed planning for my business and decided to focus my energy on transitioning from college to corporate and on my health. This was the best decision I made as an entrepreneur because my weight loss journey left me with valuable lessons I look to today as I grow both of my ventures. Here are three things I have learned about startups after losing 70lbs.
1. Do not feed your fear of launching. Like Nike, just do it. I did not start my weight loss journey until July 2013, even though I committed to losing the weight two months prior. I spent several weeks trying to devise a plan of attack for losing weight. I read books, articles, magazines, consulted with people and afterwards, I realized all of this research meant nothing without taking action. You can have a plan, you can create a strategy, you can develop metrics for success, but you simply cannot focus all of your energy on planning that you postpone your progress. Similar to start-ups, you have to learn to move past the planning phase and just launch. The fear of the unknown is what stops an idea from flourishing. You can always innovate with your product or service and reinvent the ways you go to market. The one valuable thing in entrepreneurship you will never get back is time. Start now and get away from analysis paralysis.
2. Confide and commit to consistency. Having a routine requires high levels of discipline. When I first started losing weight, I would work out during the nighttime. Due to work commitments and evening deadlines, there were days I had to sacrifice going to the gym to stay at work longer or jump on a plane to travel from clients back into NYC. This created an inconsistent workout schedule and I was disappointingly seeing very little progress. As such, I started a morning routine that would allow me to work out and not think about exercising during the evenings. This change contributed to consistency in helping me achieve my health goals. Like start-ups, building processes that streamline and enhance your productivity will be important in establishing long-term success. You cannot be a successful entrepreneur if you cannot master consistency. It will leave holes in your products/services that put your business at risk for failure.
3. Learn to adapt, make necessary changes and move forward. After two months of only cardio with little strength training, I reached a plateau in my weight loss. The scale would not move past 30 pounds down and I grew anxious about not meeting my goals. Instead of recognizing that my body had conditioned itself to my exercise routine, I let stubbornness discourage me for a few days. After almost a week of moping, I decided to make some changes to my diet and workout by incorporating higher and more intense routines. Did it work? Yes! After changing my routine, I lost an additional 40 pounds. Similar to launching a business, there are certain obstacles that you cannot anticipate, but what defines your success will be how you react to those moments that matter. Entrepreneurship is about taking a proactive approach to your start-up, not a reactive one. Learning to adapt quickly to changes and developing approaches to annihilate obstacles will help you achieve your business objectives more quickly and effectively.
For a 70-pound loss, I gained a priceless perspective on the art of startup perseverance. These are three important lessons I will carry with me as I move forward with my endeavors. When you get rid of your fears, stay consistent and learn to adapt to changes, you set yourself up for entrepreneurial success. Pound for pound, mastering these three skills will grant you longevity in business and industry. What are some of your most valued lessons?