Help Along The Journey

I spent the past few weeks on the road. I love traveling. Experiencing and immersing myself in different cultures is a passion. You learn so much about yourself through others. Simple things like understanding the bartering culture in different places, or even how you greet people.

We went to Egypt, China, Thailand and Dubai.

I spent time with my production team. I must say, the hospitality, laser focus on delivering top quality products and the willingness to listen to each other that was so evident as we worked through the design process for EVLV’s next collection was special. There was a sense of teamwork, a sense of community.

It reminded me so much of what Evolve Nation is all about. 

But being on the road isn’t always easy. It isn't always glamorous. Between the hotels, taxis, time zones and meetings, there is still real life. There is still physical and mental health.

There are still the demands of leading a global team, and serving them. People, places and things changed, but my expectations of myself didn't. 

One thing that traversing time zones does to you is throw off your sense of routine. It handicaps your ability to maintain an ‘early up, early down’ schedule, which I so strongly subscribe to. Bedtime changes, and the sun comes up at different times.

The weather is different.

China was HOT and HUMID.

Thailand was rainy and muggy.

Dubai…well Dubai in the summer is heat unlike anywhere in the world. Saying it’s hot is an understatement. 

You hear the phrase “don’t compromise” often. It’s thrown around like some golden rule style mandate from people that think achieving your goals is a one size fits all approach. To me, it's not true. Actually, better said, “don’t compromise” is an incomplete thought. The way I approached staying true to my non-negotiables (staying present, staying connected to my inner conscious, staying active physically and mentally and staying connected to my community ) was done with quite a bit of compromise, actually. 

I didn’t change what I needed to do, I changed how I did it. 

For example, my workouts: I love to run. It’s a form of meditation for me. The endless challenge that your mind imposes on your body by making subconscious suggestions that it can’t go on , on a distance run for example, and combating it by telling yourself to literally shut up and keep breathing, is unlike any other form of exercise. 

But running distance runs in new places and under the time crunch of 12 hour design sessions isn't feasible. 

So I adapted. I changed my cardio exercise from running to the stair master. I went through the same mental battles on that machine as I do on my long runs, but I could incorporate my design work into that workout. I didn’t need to worry about being in a distant place and running unmarked roads, but I still stayed disciplined to my core belief system that for me, cardio is a form of meditation. I didn’t compromise.

I adapted. I landed in Dubai, arriving from Thailand, and immediately found a local gym to go too. I was tired, and had my bags with me, but knew that if I succumbed to my jet lag that morning, I would not be fresh for the team meetings I had set up on the ground later that day. 

On another note, I found myself working across time zones. Leading team calls our New York office while in the Middle East. Talking to our operations team in the Middle East while in China.

My energy levels fluctuate. I stayed conscious of the fact that my team has a life outside of work, and that just because I travel, asking them to change their routine not only is unfair, but impractical. To help me handle the mental stresses of working across time zones, I adapted and used mechanisms such as a standard work checklist, meeting agenda and prepared meeting points to help me through the brain fog. I didn’t compromise on my commitment as a CEO, I adapted and was willing to use tools and mechanisms to help me push through it, and maintain the bar of performance I hold for myself and my team too. 

There’s something to be said there. About mechanisms, and how they are a fool proof way to ensure that you get the desired output. Relying on best intentions is great. But they have a way of falling victim to self-talk, doubt and even practical obstacles that arise on the quest to be your best self. Mechanisms take the burden of figuring out how to get something done away, because it removes the guesswork. There’s a process. Follow it, and execute. Simple. 

I used our coaching and meal plan tool when I was on the design tour. I selected ingredients from the list that I knew would be available in the places I was going, and made myself meal plans accordingly. This is another example of staying true to myself, and my commitment to nutrition and discipline.  Adapting to the changing circumstances that are inevitable in my role, but also in any one’s life, and using mechanisms to improve my chances of success. 

I can’t wait to share what’s next. The Evolve Nation family is growing. We’re international, and the message resonates globally. If i were to synthesize everything I learned while traveling as it relates to how to maintain your fitness and mental health on the journey that is life, i think it would come down to this: “do the next right thing”

With love,