10 Reflections on 2022
The past year has been a big year for me and the daveynutrition team. It was only when I sat down to write down some of my reflections that I began to realise just how big!
I want to share some learnings from the year. I keep thinking about how everything is ‘connected’. If your personal life, health, mental health or work are not in a good place it’s really challenging to feel good or to perform at your best.
This past year has taught me so much about structures, systems, habits, routines and the people you need around you to be at your best. Now is a good time to write these reflections down and what better way to really make the most of them than share them with you and hopefully help others in some small way.
1. Challenge yourself
You just can’t get stale in anything you do, sport, work, your personal life or who you are. You must challenge yourself to get better and grow in new ways all the time.
That can mean:
- Reading books
- Listening to podcasts
- Having a clear exercise schedule
- Setting new goals
- Building your network
- Strengthening your connections
If you stay still and let things get stale you will feel the consequences of it in your energy levels, enthusiasm, wellness and fulfilment. To be clear, it isn’t about setting unrealistic goals or expectations but regularly getting a little outside your comfort zone. You will consistently build the evidence that you are capable of more and with that, comes confidence and self belief and proving to yourself that you are capable of more.
You have to trust yourself, the people close to you and trust in the words you share, once they are well thought through. I believe so much in those around me, my team, my friends and my family. They give me so much support, fulfilment and belief in what I am doing. The biggest thing I have noticed is that this matters most in times where your own energy levels are low, you feel things are not progressing, you are sick or finding it hard to come up with ideas. The people around you can lift you and get you back on your feet.
3. Running a business:
I have owned a business for almost 8 years while working with 2 of the best teams in the country (Dublin Football & Leinster Rugby). In that time I have also written 2 books and built a combined social media following of over 135k. You would think that would be a springboard for a really successful business?
The reality of working entirely for yourself is very different to having the security of a regular wage so the mortgage can be paid. I learned more about what it takes to run a business in 4 months than I did in the previous 8 years because now everything is depending on you, your business plan and what you can do to generate revenue.
Here are the key things I have learned:
- Working as part of a team, even a successful one doesn’t mean you have all the skills you need to run a business or lead a team, you need to know your strengths and get help on the things that are vital to the success of that business like accounting, strategy and financial targets!
- A clear vision, values and philosophy are part of the bedrock of your organisation. Without them there are no guiding principles and clarity on what you are working towards, spend time making sure that they relate directly to your business and the impact you have on your clients.
- Play to people’s strengths and make sure job roles are well defined, it will massively impact efficiency and the morale of the people you work with.
- Give constant feedback to the people you work with, make sure you give lots of positive feedback and then constructive feedback is far more easy to accept.
- You think that having worked with 2 of the most successful teams for that long would mean business would come easy, it doesn’t, you have to grind, dig in and work for everything you earn.
- People make mistakes, you have to accept that will happen but be clear that you are always trying to improve standards and what those standards are.
- Keep at it, you will find your way! – that was said to me recently and it really stuck with me for a few reasons; not only is it true but the person was showing belief in me and what I stood for, you have to stick at it and eventually the wheels begin to move.
4. Social Media Trial & Error
I work hard to be creative with my content, recipes, videos and graphics and I constantly ask myself how can you do it better? How can I grow my platform, share more value and help people understand food, nutrition and behaviours better? I accept that it won’t be perfect and that improvement only comes from taking risks. Creativity, which is important to me, will mean that some ideas and content won’t get the response you hope for, but that’s just part of learning.
5. Health Check
It’s hard not to get personal about this one! We need to check our health, all aspects of our health, particularly as we get a little older. I don’t just mean getting our bloods done to check our cholesterol levels, I mean your teeth, your skin (moles in particular) and anything you feel is important that relates to your family history. I strongly encourage you to get into the habit of checking your health in whatever area is most relevant to you! Just getting it checked will give you vital information that will either give you peace of mind or something to action, both are invaluable!
6. Make space for ‘great chats’
I love a chat, I would have been regularly told off by teachers in school for talking in class! Now that I think about it, that’s probably why I have a sense of guilt about the amount of time I spend talking to my team, friends and colleagues.
I realised that a by-product of working in elite sport is that you are conditioned to be productive and have ‘expected actions’ from a conversation. Does there always need to be an action? Sometimes if you just let the conversation be a conversation there is far greater chance of a ‘spark’ or output.
This year more than ever I have seen the value of chats, just chats. They are even scheduled as ‘great chats’ in our diary! I have had chats with my team in particular that has resulted in the growth of brilliant ideas, ideas that in no way I could have executed myself. We need communication, we need space for that spark and for me it’s not just about ‘doing stuff’ it’s about spending time talking things through so you are really clear on the idea. Ideas that come, organically, not forced.
7. Don’t force it
How many times have you heard the words “go away from it and come back to it”? I have to work on this every week! We demand so much of ourselves, we want to be productive and efficient but we are not robots that switch on and create the solutions to complex problems. We need to give ourselves time, space and sometimes do other things to find the answers we need. Every time I take a step back from an issue, find some ideas or solutions I ask myself why were you forcing it? Exercise, nature, a conversation, reading and other simple activities are my way of finding the answers to what I am looking for, not sitting staring at the screen or whiteboard demanding answers to come!
8. Keep asking how we can do this better?
I love this question and the discussion that comes from it. Things can always be done better, always! This doesn’t mean always aiming for perfection or seeking standards that impact productivity, it means always looking for improvement in your system or strategies. You can be a better listener, better friend, better writer, better creator, better at anything you want to improve on when you value improvement. I really enjoyed a moment in a team meeting before Christmas when talking about my one-to-one consultation process with clients. I said ‘I feel we have got that into a really efficient process’ Heather who is on my team immediately responded, “Is it? I think it can be much better, what if you are dealing with much larger numbers?” That’s what I am talking about, I thought to myself, that’s the attitude to improvement we need!
I am straight with people, clear on my intentions, honest with my opinion and I find it has served me well. I look for honesty from my team, friends and colleagues in return and I have found that not only has open and honest conversations helped with solving problems, getting better understanding, helping my mental health but also in creating great friendships and relationships.
10. Judge yourself
Judge yourself by your own standards and values. We are naturally quite hard on ourselves and often we need to remind ourselves we are doing the right thing, working as best as we can but we can only really know how we are performing if we are clear on our processes, objectives, values and standards. Know what they are, live by them and don’t be weighed down by the thoughts of others. A big learning for me this year has been accepting that with certain things the right mindset is ‘that’s the best I can do on this right now!’ I have had moments of doubt, it was doubts about my book, articles I have written or content I have shared on my platforms. I have had to step back and ask myself, did you do what you could, to your standard, were you true to your intention? If the answer is yes, intentions are good and you do your best in those moments – that matters more than follows, likes, reach or even sometimes revenue. Measure progress by your personal measures, outside external validation, ‘next ball’ as they say in football, keep moving, your purpose will guide you.