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Rebuilding Healthy Habits | Episode #001

mike pfeiffer Published August 5th, 2022

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube

How do you get back on your top game when you're out of alignment? Especially after the past couple of years dealing with a pandemic, a war, and economic stress? In this first episode, Mike shares his best tips on how to start rebuilding healthy habits.


Full Transcript:

All right, what's up everybody? This is Mike Pfeiffer. You're listening to the Mike Pfeiffer Podcast, and this is episode number one. This is a new thing for me. I'm glad you tuned in. Thanks so much. The idea with this show is to kind of take you behind the scenes with me as I continue to march towards my highest potential. Always been a big fan of setting moonshot goals and kind of going after them. A lot of you know me from my previous podcasts, but if you don't, I've been in the IT industry for almost 23 years and worked at every role, written six books, produced 35 online courses, and a ton of other stuff. I got a lot of perspective to share of things that work things that don't work, and I'm still learning too. So that's the idea with this show and I'm super excited to have you here. Some episodes will be solo like this, where I'm by myself. I also plan on bringing in some heavy hitter guests over the next year or two as I continue to build this podcast. So I'm really excited. Thanks for being here.

In this first episode, I'm going to talk about rebuilding healthy habits because I think it's pretty obvious if you look at the last two years, all the chaos that we've all been dealing with, the pandemic, world wars breaking out, economy issues. It's been pretty stressful. I know for me, the last two years, I've been working way too much. I knew that, but it's like, I am really kind of reeling things in now because it wasn't sustainable the pattern that I was kind of working on and I'll share a little bit more in this episode. But if you've been feeling overwhelmed and feeling like you've got some bad habits that had been created over the last couple years, or just in general, I think this episode really help you out. I'm going to share three tips today that'll help you rebuild some new healthy habits and break some bad ones that you don't need.

Last year, I ended up selling my company that I was running. I was running a training business, a tech training business for a few years. And selling the company and integrating that new company into the buyer's business was a lot of work. And even before that, the year before that, the company was growing really fast, it was getting harder and harder to build products and services and bring new people in. And I just ended up working way too much. And like any startup founder or solo entrepreneur, I knew that I was kind of in a career sprint. I didn't think that I would be working day and night forever and it was kind of like a bet. But as a few years started to tick by, and I knew that I was compromising some of my self-care values, I was like, “All right, how much longer can I really keep doing this?” We're not robots, right? And that's a big theme as well for this episode. I'm also going to share at the end some bold predictions for tech in this space.

But when I first set out to start my company CloudSkills.io, five years ago, I knew going into that, it was a big bet and I was going to have to gather all the resources that I had, my energy, everything in order to pull it off. I knew it was going to be short staffed. I knew that I was going to be wearing multiple hats and probably working two or three or four jobs, which ended up happening. And so I went into that experience at the top of my game. I hired all kinds of different consultants and coaches and stuff to get my diet under control, to get my mindset right. And when I really went in to set out to build the company, I was at the top of my game. I had tons of energy. I was super productive. And I still get a lot done, but basically what I'm trying to say is I'm wanting to go back to that peak that I was at and then continue growing. And that's what I'm talking about with rebuilding healthy habits.

Let's kick things off. Number one, here's my first tip. This might be useful for you to write this down on a pad or a piece of paper or a journal. If you do that, insanely powerful. It really requires you to kind of sit down and reflect on the past. So think about this. Try to remember a time, especially in work or it could be in life, remember a time in the past where you had the most positive mindset, when things were just going really good, your outlook was the best it has ever been in your life. And I want you to think about, what was happening at that time? Where were you? What were you doing? Where were you working? What was your routine? Who were you interacting with? What was your day to day like when you were getting the most positive experience out of life? Next thing I want you to do is think about a time

For example, you know that thing where you like get into the zone and you're just like crushing it and everything is fun and it's kind of effortless and it's not really that hard? Think back to times like that, where you had more of that than you do now, what was happening? What were you doing? Think back to a time where your relationships were clicking in. Your personal life, at work, where were you working? What was the scenario? Were you sharing more than you are now? Were you reaching out? Were you in an office and now you're remote? What was happening when your relationships were at the top that they've ever been? And then I want you to think about when was a time you felt like there was a deep sense of meaning in your work if ever, or a deep sense of meaning in your pursuits with your goals, or whatever you were doing. And also think about times when you actually accomplished things, like actually pulled something off.

Now, I know that's a lot. And I think that if you were to sit down for 20 minutes with a notepad and write a huge list for all of those five things, you'd come up with a lot of data. The point here, and I'm doing this myself, is I'm going back to times where I was at the top of my game and I'm getting back into those routines. These five things I just hit on here with the positive emotions, the engagement, the relationships, meaning and accomplishment. These are from the field of positive psychology. So I'm not just making stuff up. This is scientific research that helps people thrive. It's a way for you to make sure that you're addressing your wellbeing so you're going to be the happiest you could possibly be. Because when you're happy, you're going to perform better. And of course, we can't stay happy 100% of the time, but if we have the awareness to make sure that we're hitting all of these different targets, it makes life much easier and your work quality is much better.

Don't worry if it seems like a lot, this is going to be a topic I keep coming back to on this show over and over again. But after you journal about that or write all that down or think about all that, really the thing is you got to reflect and ask yourself what needs to change here based on what I'm currently doing. You know, I had a better mindset or positive outlook back then when I was doing this, I had better relationships when I was doing that. How do we get something now back into your life that would get you focused on those things again? So from this first tip, I want you to think about what's one thing you can start doing, even if it's very basic, next week to implement something that worked for you in the past in those five domains.

Okay. Next, the second tip for rebuilding healthy habits, don't compromise your values and set healthy boundaries. I kind of mentioned this earlier. When I was building my last company in the last couple years, I started to compromise my values, which were, hey, I'm not going to work 60-hour, 70-hour weeks. I'm not going to eat poorly. I'm going to exercise constantly. So I was letting all those things slip because I was working too much and I was compromising my personal values. And because of that, people and things were crossing the boundaries of my personal life. It was burning me out. And I think that a lot of people sometimes, they get stepped on or they get pushed around because they don't even know what their own personal values are and they don't even know what their boundaries are. So in this tip here, this second tip on rebuilding habits, I want you to really think about what's something you can start doing right away to define your own values. Like what activities and things do you actually like doing the most and what is stuff that you hate doing?

I would make a huge list of both of those things. For example, I'm not a fan of doing yard work. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. It's insanely hot here. Last thing I want to do is go out into my huge yard and start pulling weeds and doing all of that. So what I do is I outsource that, which gives me more hours to put into things that I actually like doing. And so this could be in your personal life, but it also could be at work. And depending on the role that you're in, you know, if you're a support or a customer service, you're being interrupted all the time. But like, do you have boundaries around when you'll take meetings? Like own your calendar, that kind of stuff. So think about something where you can implement some boundaries in your life to give yourself some more space. Okay?

What's one simple thing you can do next week, very basic, even if it's not massive, to start setting some boundaries around things that you don't want to do, that you won't compromise on? And then maybe think about, what are your real values and the things that are the most important to you? Personally what I'm doing for setting more boundaries as I'm really going back to a very tight schedule and I'm not going to work over time. I'm going to be very deliberate about when I'm working and when I'm not, and I'm not going to be doom scrolling on social media. I'll share more over the next couple weeks as we do more episodes, but I am not a robot and I'm not going to work 24/7.

And so number three in terms of rebuilding healthy habits, I want you to focus on relationships. I already touched on that earlier, but soft skills are the most in demand skill in the corporate world. I was just reading the top 20 most popular LinkedIn learning courses of the year. This was actually published just on August 1st 2022 on the LinkedIn Learning Blog. And here's something really interesting. Out of the top 10 courses, guess how many were based on soft skills? What would you say out of 10? Well, it's actually seven. So that's 70% of their top courses on a giant library were based on soft skills. So what does that tell you? Well, corporations are desperate for people with soft skills.

Some examples were goal setting, interpersonal communication, cultivating a growth mindset, using questions to foster critical thinking, team collaboration, unconscious bias. And whether you're in the technology industry or not, those are all critical things. And those are going to be things that become even more critical, and here's why. I just spent the last three weeks kind of diving into a bunch of new tools and services that are available out there for building content, and the AI capabilities in these services you've probably seen is insane. So there's platforms that'll write articles for you now, there's platforms that'll... You know, you've probably seen deepfakes, where you could build videos and change people's faces with AI. The social media tools that are out there that'll help you publish content and generate content using artificial intelligence is insane. Another really interesting example of this is OpenAI's DALL·E 2, which is a new AI system that creates realistic images and art from a description in natural language. It's insanely cool.

So where am I going with all this? Well, this is the reason that you want to focus on soft skills because in a world dominated by artificial intelligence, your humanity is your competitive advantage. Have you ever heard of GitHub's Copilot that just came out this year recently? It's an AI-paired programmer. So it uses the OpenAI Codex to suggest code and even entire functions in real time for developers so they could build applications.

So think about this for a second, where do you think all this is headed? You know how Facebook has that open source JavaScript framework called React that web developers use to build applications? Well, imagine what's going to happen when something like GitHub Copilot is spitting out entire frameworks for people to build applications, not just code and functions, but entire frameworks like React or entire reference architectures, or cloud architecture and infrastructure as code, or arts and NFTs and things that are shared all over the place. So it's going to be really interesting to see where things land.

Now, I was actually talking to a friend of mine who's a director at Microsoft and a very seasoned technology professional earlier this week. We're just kind of having a casual conversation about geez, man, what is it going to be like when young people start coming into this industry and what are they going to be faced with? So technology is going to continue to advance at a much faster rate and it's going to get even harder to be an expert in any given technology. What we need to do is change the way that we learn. Instead of memorizing information, we need to learn how to think and we need to learn how to work together.

So relationships are going to be a big deal. Soft skills are going to be huge. And I'll put out a bold prediction. I think that the training space, especially in technology and training and education space, regardless across every industry, is going to need coaching and mentoring, but especially in the tech industry. Because people just will not be able to become experts in stuff anymore and we're going to need to have a new approach, a very open growth mindset of I'm not going to get bummed out when I don't know every answer to everything and I'm going to have mentors in place and coaches that can help me get there and new ways of thinking to solve problems, not memorizing information.

So my third tip for rebuilding healthy habits is going to be, what's one new soft skills habit you can put into practice right away, starting next week? I've taken a big break from social media last couple months. I've been kind of reorganizing and getting ready for my next thing. I'm involved in two new business ventures in the cloud technology space. Neither of those have been launched yet. I've invested in one. And so my focus is going to be on the business side more as an executive going forward. But now that I know what direction I'm going in now, I'm going to challenge myself to level up my leadership game and be more active on social media going forward. However, I am going to continue to be deliberate about this and I'll share with you on incoming episodes how I create my routine and what I'm working on, what I'm trying to do, what's working, what needs work. But that's going to be my challenge is more leadership. That's going to be one of my soft skills and one of my healthy habits that I reintegrate.

All right. There you have it. Three tips there for rebuilding healthy habits. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Keep an eye out for new episodes every Friday and please do me huge favor. If you could, go to the Apple Podcasts, like, rate, and review this show, if you liked it. I could use all the help I could get in terms of getting eyeballs and ears on the show. If you want to make sure that you get an email every week when I do new episodes, go to askmike.io and subscribe to my email newsletter. Thanks everybody. I'll see you on the next episode.

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