Have you ever wrestled with the delicate balance between career, fatherhood, and personal well-being? Join me as I sit down with Lee Eldridge, a former coach for professional athletes who has shifted his expertise to energy management. We'll be engaging in an eye-opening conversation about unshakable habits and the transformative power of prioritizing physical and mental health in our busier-than-ever lives. Our conversation underlines the significance of living out our vision, values, and purpose in the present moment as a testament to the effectiveness of energy management. Don't miss out as we explore this and more in our chat with Lee Eldridge, the expert on cognitive athletes.
10 Questions to ask you yourself from this episode
- How do you currently approach the learning process? Are you aware of the four steps mentioned in the episode?
- Have you ever implemented the concept of marginal gains in your own life? If so, what areas did you focus on and what were the results?
- Do you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl? How does this affect your productivity and the tasks you schedule during the day?
- What is your current evening routine? Do you prioritize winding down and avoiding screens before bed?
- How do you incorporate self-reflection into your daily routine? Do you find it helpful in improving your personal and professional life?
- Have you experienced revenge procrastination or sleep revenge procrastination? How do you balance your personal time with getting enough quality sleep?
- How do you define success in your life? Have you taken the time to reflect on your values and what truly matters to you?
- Are you currently prioritizing self-care and holistic performance? How do you balance personal issues with your professional responsibilities?
- Are there any small changes you could make in your daily life to support your personal growth and well-being?
- How do you approach learning new skills or trying to reach mastery? Do you put in the necessary work in the middle 80% before seeking mastery in the last 10%?
Quotes We Loved
- “If you are not sleeping well, if you are not eating well, if you have no movement or you're not feeding your body with movement if you are not doing any type of, you know, stress tolerance or mental training, if your cognitive performance is suffering, you're just never going to get anywhere, basically.” - Lee Eldridge
- “...try and think about your vision, and where do I want to be? And that's a bit of a key thing. So once you have this idea of your boundaries, and if it's not a definite yes, then it's a no. If it's not yes, it's no, and it's quite a simple thing to do.” - Lee Eldridge
- “...visions, values, and purpose are the big areas that push people to go forward and do what they're going to do. And once you start to do that, all the decisions that you need to make, if they're covered in those three and it's a good decision, you move forward.” - Lee Eldridge
- "But as an adult, we're a bit naive, and we just think, right, we can do whatever we want. shut the laptop, turn the tele off, get into bed, and fall straight asleep. and for me, it's like, well, no. start to build in, like, a pre bed routine, very similar to a morning routine." — Lee Eldridge
- "What went well today? What didn't go well today? And what can I improve? just asking those 3 simple questions." — Lee Eldridge
Guest Bio & Links
Throughout his 20-year career, Lee Eldridge has worked with athletes and business executives in elite environments, including professional rugby and football players, world-ranked tennis players, and C-Suite executives at multi-national companies. He holds an MSc in Human Performance and a BSc in Sports Science and Coaching.
He is the Founder and Performance Director of Cognitive Athlete, a bespoke human performance coaching company on a mission to lead elite business executives toward obtaining and sustaining optimal results over the long term.
Lee Eldridge: [00:00:00] What's the one, one thing that we do every day that pushes us forward? And once we focus on that, and once we get that done, that allows kind of the next process. The next is to have a realization that. The time you spent out of the business can be just as important as the time you spent in the business.
Are you ready to break free from your old habits and create a better life for yourself and those around you? If so, welcome to Unshakable Habits. The podcast dedicated to helping men be better husbands, fathers, and leaders by prioritizing their physical and mental wellbeing. Each week we'll look at health from a 360 degree perspective with inspiring stories and practical strategies for building unshakable habits that'll transform your life.
Join Stephen Box, a board certified health and wellness coach, and let's change the world [00:01:00] together one habit at a time.
Stephen Box: Hey everybody. Welcome to the Unshakable Habits podcast. I am your host, Stephen Vox, and this is the podcast where we help men to. Live healthier lives so that they can be the father's, husbands and leaders that they are meant to be. And today I have a special guest who is going to, Talking to us about something that's a little bit different, something that most of us don't really account for.
Uh, what he does is he helps busy dads, busy working dads. Uh, so whether that's you working for a company or whether you have your own business and, uh, He focuses on instead of time management, which we've all heard about, is this idea of energy management. Uh, so very interesting conversation that we have ahead of us today, and I'm [00:02:00] looking forward to jumping in.
So without further ado, allow me to introduce my guest today, Lee Eldridge Lee. Hey there to the podcast. Thank you so much for having me. So, Lee, you kind of have a little bit of a unique perspective here because not only are you a, a working father yourself, not only at some point did you find yourself in the exact same position as the men that you help, but you also have coached professional athletes.
So you kind of have this different perspective on the idea of what it takes to perform at a high level on a consistent basis.
Lee Eldridge: Yep. Yep. So, kind of a bit of a broad spectrum in terms of experience in professional sports and also in high performing business. And high performing business for me doesn't mean, you know, fortune 500, it can be in, in any category from that point of view.
There are some amazing founders out there or, or people running small companies that are performing. At high [00:03:00] performance or or high performing people, basically. So yeah, it doesn't really matter kind of where you are, the level you're performing at, but more the performance in itself.
Stephen Box: Yeah, it's, it's kinda like the concept of, of exercise, right?
Where, you know, when we say lift heavy, you know, lift heavy is a very broad idea, right? It's all relevant on where you are in your own skill level and in your own life. So I. High performance doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be Fortune 500. It can literally be a solopreneur. Yeah, exactly. Wearing all the hats in their business.
Matter of fact, that might be even higher performance. Right?
Lee Eldridge: Yeah. And, and to kind of touch on that, that everyone's talking about high performance and peak performance, but inevitably, if you, if you use that terminology high and peak, there has to be dips in your performance. You, you know, You can't perform highly all the time, otherwise you're not performing at your max.
There's always a little bit more to, to do, basically. So it's a, it's an interesting area that's or of interesting topic, topic of conversation at the moment. [00:04:00]
Stephen Box: Very interesting. Very interesting. So, we'll, we'll kind of touch on that here in a little bit. Can we maybe start with your, your own story. You were coaching Min already and, and you were kind of helping them with some of these concepts and then, There came a point where your daughter said something to you and it was kind of this light bulb moment for you that you had kind of fallen into the same trap.
Could, could you share a little bit about that with us? Yeah,
Lee Eldridge: so kind of just after post pandemic kind of have fancy a change in terms of working. From, uh, being in professional sports and then also being in a performance company and dipping back into professional sports. And then I think it was a Saturday morning and my daughter was like, daddy, daddy, daddy screaming at me basically to play Lego with her.
I think that was, um, and at that current time I was kind of on my phone, I think LinkedIn, trying to connect with somebody regarding my business. And I just thought to myself that this really isn't the way to do it. And there must be other [00:05:00] dads out there. And from my previous, you know, experience, I'd sat opposite c o c-suite individuals, predominantly males who were kind of talking to me about this, this challenge that they were having and how although they had everything in terms of a career, in terms of a title and the trappings that come with that from.
Financial responsibility, different opportunities, traveling, et cetera. They just didn't really feel very happy in themselves, um, as a father, as a husband, and, and as an individual. Um, and then I. I kind of thought to myself, right, okay, there must be a different way of doing it and I must be able to look back in terms of my previous experience in professional sports and how I can adjust that.
So one area in professional sports is as a performance coach. Before you kind of even step into the gym or onto the pitch to work with the athletes, you've [00:06:00] pretty much done a needs analysis. And a needs analysis is we look at the sport, we look at all the research that's gone past, we, you know, watch games.
We talk to athletes, we talk to coaches to get an understanding of the physiological demands of the sports, the mental demands, the emotional demands, and you. So that we can go in, um, and basically start to work with those athletes or those coaches to improve the team's performance. So I was like, right, okay, I need to do a needs analysis.
And there wasn't much out there regarding business dads. So I decided to interview dads. So got onto like LinkedIn and YouTube and just started to try and have interviews or.
I was thinking right, this isn't gonna take too long. Um, and it's to get to 50 was my number and took me probably around six to seven months to interview business dads about their [00:07:00] kind of challenges and their fears and. It took a long time and it's still ongoing, the research, I'm still speaking to dads and kind of getting a better understanding, but my two biggest questions to them was, you know, what's the biggest challenges that you're facing in your business and as a dad, and you know, what's the biggest fear from those challenges?
And kind of bore out was basically the three big areas that most of them kind of spoke to me about was one, this kind of feeling or this lack of time. Second was this idea of lack of engagement. You know, being in the room but not really being in the room because you're too busy thinking about something else.
Um, and lastly was this whole kind of definition about success. You know, My company doesn't make this much money, or I don't get this role, or however it may look from a company point of view, that, and how that defined me as a, as a dad basically. And in terms of kind of the fears, the big fears were, you know, I, I [00:08:00] don't get to see my kids grow up.
I don't create great relationships with them. Um, and then on the flip side is that, you know, I can't push my business forward enough to a level of. Success or what I believe is success. So once kind of doing that and putting the two together, really kind of start to think about, right, where do we look at it?
And, you know, how can we not necessarily improve the amount of time that we have because we, we can't do that. So how can we improve our energy? So it's not necessarily how many hours in the day, it's what we put into those hours and how that fluctuates. And we can talk about that a little bit more. How can we improve our engagement so that when you're in the business, you're in the business.
When you're a dad, you're a dad. When you're a husband or a partner or whatever it might be you, you are that person. So we know that when we perform our best or when we look at kind of flow state research or when we're like, yeah, just in that moment and we're just. [00:09:00] At a peak performance level, we're always just thinking about one thing.
We can't be thinking about others, and there's loads of professional athletes that this, this has hit home to them in terms of, you know, they've kind of struggled. And story for me is when working in rugby and with a international athlete, And we hadn't changed anything in his training and or his performance.
And it just started to dip and it just started to kind of go down slightly. And we were a bit concerned and we are really looking into our training programs and recovery. And then we had, I had a conversation with him and basically he was about to go through a breakup with his wife and how that was gonna affect the family and all this kind of stuff.
Kind of hit me that. Not only what happens inside the training ground or on the pitch affects performance. It's so holistic. It's kind of outside. If we relate that now obviously to, to business dads, that that makes complete sense basically. And then the last thing is like, right, how do we define that set success?
So [00:10:00] how do you build out a vision, a value, a purpose? What are your big pillars in your life? And how are your foundations of performance? You know, how are you, how are you as a human being in terms your overall. Wellbeing, you know, sleep, eating, movement, thinking, feeling all those different areas. And that's kind of it in a, in a short term basically.
Stephen Box: Okay. So sorry, we just dump, sorry, that's a long answer. No, no, you're good. You're good. We, we just, but we did just dump like a thousand gyms on people. Right? So let's, let's kind of go back through and, and break these down a little bit. So a couple things that stood out for me there. Number one is you talked about this idea of.
Things being connected yet separate. Right. And I think this is something that a lot of people struggle with. Um, you know, for a lot of the guys out there, it is that issue of when I'm trying to spend time with my family, I'm thinking about work. Or when I'm at work, I'm stressed out by things that are going on at [00:11:00] home.
On top of that, those things also affect things like our physical health, right? We, and then maybe we're stressed out, we're tired. That leads to poor nutritional choices. You know, we're not sleeping well and emotionally, mentally, we're, we're drained and, and all these different areas of health really start to have an impact on one another.
So I think for a lot of people it's this idea that, okay, if all these things impact each other, but how do I focus on one thing at a time without neglecting the other things? Yeah.
Lee Eldridge: So it, it really becomes down or comes down to the fact of, first of all, knowing what that one thing is that you've got to focus on.
Um, and business, it, it can be a challenge. You know, there's so much happening and everyone's kind of running around, but for me it's like, right. Um, and I love the [00:12:00] work of the, of the One thing book where basically, you know, we talk about 80 20 all the time. You know, 28% of our results come from 20% of what we do.
But really if we narrow that down and think like, right, what's the one, one thing that we do every day? That pushes us forward. And once we focus on that, and once we get that done, that allows kind of the next process. The next is to have a realization that the time you spent out of the business can be just as important as the time you spent in the business.
So, you know, it's impossible for us to be on from, you know, 6:00 AM on a Monday all the way through 6:00 PM on a Friday and, and perform at. The highest percentile ever. And if you put that physically, you know, if I said to an athlete, right, we're gonna change from, we're gonna train from 6:00 AM on Monday morning, all the way till 6:00 PM on Friday.
Everyone would be like, you're nuts. It's just not gonna work. By Wednesday I'm gonna be, you [00:13:00] know, dead basically, or too tired to train or injuries, et cetera. But in our heads, we believe that's what the brain can just cope with that amount of cognitive load. But we know now it can't. So what I'm saying there is when you are a dad, it's like, right, okay.
Yeah, I'm dad now and. This is my main focus and this allows me to to, to problem solve things in the back of my head that I'm not really thinking about. But we know, so for example, we know that sleep, especially kind of REM sleep, is ipro I important for memory learning and problem solving. You know, that idea that lots of your.
Problems you solve are actually at night, and then you wake up in the morning and then you're walking along. You're like, oh yeah, I know how to fix that now. And that hasn't happened just then. That's happened probably while you were sleeping. So,
Stephen Box: Yeah. So one thing that I find interesting here, uh, just to give a, a quick example of this. So the other day [00:14:00] or a couple weeks ago, I was watching, uh, American football, uh, game. I know, I know you coach what we call soccer here in the us, which I'll call it football. Uh, so I was watching, uh, my 49 ERs. I'm a San Francisco 49 ERs fan, and after the game they asked Nick Bosa, who's our, our star defensive end.
You know, when you're chasing after the quarterback, what are you thinking about? What goes through your head? And he paused for a second and he goes, really Nothing. I'm just, I'm literally just thinking about running in front, running through the guy in front of me. Right? And it's this idea that, you know, here you have someone who's probably going to be named defensive player of the year in the N F L this year.
All of his mental focus throughout the week. He's watching film, he's practicing technique at practice. He's doing all these things and there's a lot of awareness and consciousness all through the week. But on game day, he's just showing up and letting instincts takeover. [00:15:00] He's not thinking about it. He's not.
He's not worried about it. And I think for a lot of guys, this is kind of the step that they miss, right? It's they think either they're just gonna automatically do it without putting in the awareness work, or they worry that they're gonna have to constantly be focused on the awareness. And the idea here is we work on these skills, we build them up, and then at some point they become ingrained enough in us that we no longer have to think about them.
They just kind of happen naturally. Correct. Yeah. Yep. So another thing that you kind of touched on earlier was this idea and, and I think you kind of touched on it a little bit too, with this idea of like, if I try to train somebody Monday through Friday, you know, all day long, I. Is we can't just always be at the top level, right?
There has to be dips in, in the schedule in order to allow us to recover. So can you touch on that a little bit more about why it's so important that we [00:16:00] not always try to be performing at the, at that peak level of energy? Yeah.
Lee Eldridge: So, you know, let's think about kind of how we are as a human being. We have peaks, natural peaks and troughs of, of kind of cognitive awareness and physical awareness.
You know, we, we wake up hopefully after a decent rest. We have kind of, you know, some hormones that kick in to kind of help us focus and get up and running. And then there's normally like what we would call a postprandial dip. So after lunchtime it's a natural people. Yeah. Feel a bit tired or, or you, for, you know, and that can change depending on who you are.
So, you know, if you're an early bird, then yeah, that might happen. But, you know, if you're a, um, and kind of more of a night owl, then the mornings might not be so great for you. Late afternoons, early evening might be better for you. And it really does depend on you as an individual and Yeah. And how you kind of operate.
For me it's like right, we're. Similar in that respect, but slight [00:17:00] differences, slight variations. And then what I'm saying to people is, right, what are you putting in those chunks of time to make sure that you get the best out of it? So, you know, a big thing is Monday morning meetings, you know, nine to 11 or you know, morning meetings and I'm like, well, this is kind of the real, it's not great habit to do because in theory, again, really.
Four or five hours from once we've woken up, that's kind of our perfect time to be doing work. And what we don't need is a meeting that isn't really kind of what I would say is your most important tasks of work. Yeah. So once we figure that out and we start to put in those building blocks of focused work around one thing or, or or two things that we need to get done, we kind of get the sense of we actually have achieved something.
Whereas a lot of people I work with who are kind of back to back meetings, you know, they get to the end of the day and they're [00:18:00] like, well, I haven't really done any work. All I've done is just been in meetings. And you know, Microsoft Labs did some amazing research where they looked at back-to-back meetings compared to people who had slight pauses and slight breaks.
Five minutes in between each meeting and. Lots of the metrics for lots of the data in terms of kind of like stress reduction and creativity and all those nice things that we talk about happened basically. So what I do with a lot of dads I work with is we sit down and we say, right, okay, what's, if you could do one thing today for your business, one thing today for your family, one thing today for yourself, what would it be?
Plug those in in your week. Cement them in. Create these habits. 'cause what we know is that habits build routines. Routines build consistency, and then consistently builds performance. Once that's done, then we can start to kind of build from there, basically. Yeah, it's,
Stephen Box: it's always an interesting point that you bring up there where people [00:19:00] think about habits as the end goal.
Right. And I've, I'm also a firm believer that habits actually are, Not necessarily the, the first step because I'm, I'm a big believer that developing the skills is actually the first step, right? Because we need the right skills to be able to develop the habits, but people think about, oh, I need to get more consistent.
No. What you need to get is the ability to start building habits. Habits help you become consistent, consist leads to routines, right? And, and at least to results. And so when you are. Consistent at something, that's when you start to get the results. You know, a somebody who shows up every day and gives a B effort, well outperform somebody who shows up once a week and gives an a plus effort every single time.
Lee Eldridge: Yeah. Simple. You know, and if we look at it from a business perspective, it makes clear understanding. It makes clear sense. [00:20:00] Um, you know, Social media is one of it. Everyone talks about it. Just be consistent. Just be consistent. Just be consistent. Um, you know, and that's, that's if, if you look at, you know, the N F L for example, or any professional athlete, all they've done is they've stayed really consistent over a long period of time and just got a little bit better each year.
On year on year. And so that, that's, that's where they're at basically, because that consistent work has gone in. And it can be tough because you can look back. I move that far on from where I was this time last year, or you know, six months ago. But you're still moving. You're still kind of getting better, you know, and we know that mastery is not a linear process, unfortunately.
Otherwise I think that everybody would be, yeah, super fit, healthy, you know, [00:21:00] financially free, whatever you want to call, because it'd be kind of plain today, plain to see that you, you're moving in the right direction.
Stephen Box: Yeah, I actually have this concept that I teach and, and this is something I completely made up on my own, so I don't have any name for it.
I should probably put a, a name on it. Um, but I, I just kind of roughly call it the, the ten eighty ten principle. And this is this idea that anytime that you're learning something new or you're trying to make a change to something, the first 10% of your effort is really hard. It's completely new to you.
It's something that you're having to teach yourself. You're having to override those existing habits that you have that aren't as productive. That middle 80% is actually where the majority of growth happens. You know, at this point you've kind of gotten through the hard part. Things are easy. You're, you're making mistakes still, but you're learning from them and you're able to adapt a lot easier.
And there's just a ton of growth. And for most [00:22:00] people, honestly, they never get past that 80% that, and that's plenty good enough for, for them. For the people who want to go to the next level, there's that last 10% and that 10% is mastery and people don't realize that. In that first 10%, you can't grow from 1% to 10% overnight.
It's a, it's a more slow, tedious process because you're learning new things. And then at the end of it, because you've already developed so many skills, because you've already gotten so many things in place, that last 10% is extremely slow. Like that's where we start getting like a half a percent increase is actually a great thing.
Right. And that's. A lot of times you mention professional athletes, that's kind of where they get to where they're already in that last 10% because they've consistently put in the work in that 80% and now they're just trying to master it and, and I see people all the time, they, oh, I'm gonna go do this workout that this actor did to go play a comic [00:23:00] book hero, or I'm gonna go train like a professional athlete.
It's like, no, you have to put in the 80% work before you ever get to that. You can't just jump to the last 10%.
Lee Eldridge: And if I remember, there's kind of four steps and I, I'll try and remember, but the first one is conscious mistakes. Mm-hmm. No, sorry. Unconscious mistakes. So you make mistakes, but you dunno why you made mistakes.
And the next step is conscious mistakes. So you know why you're making those mistakes. The next step is conscious. Performance, so you know why you're doing really well. And then the final is unconscious performance where you don't think about anything and you just go off and perform basically. And we have go through that, that learning process.
And even we've gone through that learning process. You know, the 0.5 percents. The one percenters are the ones that kind of we talk about now, especially in the UK or. [00:24:00] In the Olympics, there's a guy in the UK called Sir David Brailsford, and he came up with the whole area of what we call marginal gains. So he took on board the British cycling team when they were doing, they hadn't won any gold medals, nothing.
And he imposed this idea of marginal gains where he would go round and look for simple or easy, you know, one percenters. Basically the idea that, you know, if we can be 1% in everything, it's gonna improve our performance by five.
Painting the, the tour bus white, completely bright white so they could see any dirt that could, um, cause infections in the athletes. Getting doctors to teach athletes how to wash their hands properly, so after food that, you know, they wouldn't pass germs into their mouth, you know, traveling with mattresses and pillows the same as the ones they had at home, and all those types of little things to kind of add up.[00:25:00]
And in the UK it kind of, you know, especially from a business world, it, it brought loads of kind of traction. For me, that's great. But if we look at your foundations, It's really difficult to grow by half a percent or a percent. If you are not sleeping well. If you are not eating well, if you have no movement or you're not feeding your body with movement, if you are not doing any type of, you know, stress tolerance or mental training, if your cognitive performance is suffering you, you're just never gonna get anywhere basically.
So it's good for me when I go in and work is to step back and reinvestigate those foundations basically.
Stephen Box: Yeah, and I, I love the fact that you bring this up, right? Because I'm sure there's somebody out there listening to this right now that is saying, okay, Lee, this sounds great, but I don't have time for anything else on my plate, right?
I can't add anything and everything that's [00:26:00] on my plate. It's super important, and I can't let any of it go right. I, I see, I see you laughing for, for, those are only listening right now. Like you, you just kind of got this like big smile on your face because you're like, I, you probably said this yourself at some point.
Right? And I, I think this idea that we're not asking you to let go of a lot of stuff. We're not asking you to add a whole lot to your thing, to your plate. It's really just this idea of what small thing can you actually do. It's going to help you start to get better in those areas, right? What's gonna help you build that mental strength?
What's gonna help you sleep better? What's gonna help you eat better? What's gonna allow you to start getting movement into your life? Right? And. You don't need to do all those things at once. You just need to do one. And it's really about figuring out which one of those things is the most important for you to do right now.
And there's not a right answer for that. There is no one size fits all. This is [00:27:00] the thing that all of us need to do today. Right? Correct.
Lee Eldridge: Yeah. The odd I'd go back and say, you know, if people are saying, oh, everything's super important, then. I question that if, you know, if what I would suggest people do is they write down all the things that are important and then like once you get probably, I don't know, 20 or 30, whatever it is, I'm sure there you can identify the five things that are actually really, really important and they're the things that you have to consistently do all the time.
Yeah. Um, and you know, if I work physically with some athletes, you know, if they send me their programs nine times outta 10, I never add anything in. I always take things out. Because I much prefer people to do less exercises, for example, really, really well, and, you know, truly engaged, be truly focused than lots of different types of exercise.
Um mm-hmm. And that's the same, you know, in, in life is like, right, what's, what, what's the, those one or two things that you, you need to do [00:28:00] basically. Um, and then the caveat to that is like, look, if you are not sleeping, if you are not recovering from anything that you are doing, Um, You, you're at a disadvantage already from the word go.
And unfortunately, you know, the stats are not great. You know, early 19 hundreds, most of us were sleeping nine hours, and then some guy came along and invented the light bulb. And as soon as the light bulb were invented, you know, we were able to work later in the day. And then now I think, 18. In America's studies, the average sleep time is six and hours.
So we've lost a huge chunk of, and probably close to a sleep cycle or two sleep cycles, which are really important. Um, and if we think about it, that kind of everything leads, everything's in intertwined, but sleep, you know, if. If you had a good night's sleep, your nutrition choices are better. We know that you are probably, you have [00:29:00] more energy, you're probably thinking, right, maybe how can I fit a quick workout in here?
How can I get to the gym or walk more? You know, my mood has improved, my relationships with my kids, with my wife and partner, with my people at work are be better. And then it kind of all feeds in really. And then, you know, if you eat well, you are gonna sleep a little better if you move well. You're gonna sleep better, you're gonna eat it.
It's all kind of linked in from a holistic point of view. So there's not one thing that you have to do. It's like, right, what's the smallest change that I can do today to, to support me in moving forward?
Stephen Box: Yeah. And I think, you know, for me personally, We said there's not really like ASEP thing, but if I were to kind of put a hierarchy on where I would look at first with people to make sure that they're getting those things, most of us, especially when it starts to come into energy and health and everything, the first two things we focus on is exercise and nutrition.
But I'm actually a big [00:30:00] believer that the first two things that we need to work on is sleep and mindset. 'cause those two things I think usually are, are kind of the building blocks. 'cause as you said, if you're not sleeping well, you're not recovering well. And you mentioned the idea that if you're only getting six and a half, seven hours of sleep, you're missing a full sleep cycle.
You know, maybe even two. And those last sleep cycles are really where a lot of your recovery actually happens. We're actually missing out on the most important. Sleep cycles. So it's not just the fact we're missing them, it's the fact we're missing out on some of the most important ones. And I think for a lot of people, that has a resounding impact, right?
Where it's. You're tired now you make poor decisions. And whether those are about your nutrition or your exercise or they're, you're sitting in that meeting and you come up with a bad idea or you make a, a rash [00:31:00] decision because you're tired and you're not thinking straight. Right?
Lee Eldridge: Yeah, correct. You know, and for me, you know, people talk about mindset all the time.
It's, you know, it's everywhere basically, but, You can really improve your mindset by having a good night's sleep. It's amazing what you, how, how, how much you can take when you are rested and, and, and ready to go basically. And you know, to talk about those sleep cycles, those. We miss a kind of heavily weighted to REM sleep and REM sleep is important for memory learning, problem solving, which 90% of us really need, you know, most of us are cognitive based in the work that we do and not physically based in the work that we do.
Um, yeah. And for. You know, I, the challenge that there'd be lots of dads thinking, well, yeah, but I've got young families, you know, they wake up, they, they disturb me in my sleep and how do I get around that? For [00:32:00] me, it's, you know, just the way that for a kid that we would have, I. A pre-bed routine, you know, we would, you know, bath, bottle, bed, whatever it is, you, you get into a routine so that your kid are like, right, okay, now it's time for me to calm down.
Now it's time for me to, you know, think about going to sleep. But as an adult, we're a bit naive and we just think, right, we can do whatever we want. Shut the laptop, turn the tele off, get into bed and fall straight to sleep. Um, and for me it's like, well, no start to build in. A pre-bed routine, very similar to a morning routine, which everyone hypes on about, you know, ice bath, me journaling, meditation.
Yeah, I, I, yeah, whatever you want. Whatever you do, whatever you need to do to get you, you know, in that frame of work or whatever it might be. But I'm like, what, what can you do before bed in terms of like, to give you the best opportunity? Because if your child is gonna wake up at [00:33:00] two 3:00 AM. Try and get some good quality sleep before that because you know, they'll disturb the sleep.
You'll struggle to get back to sleep. You'll get back to sleep, and then, you know, the alarm goes off and then you've got to, you know, go to work, whatever it might be. So that's one area that I try and push, push, you know, fathers to do, is really trying to get to sleep as soon as possible because you know you're gonna wake up, especially with young families.
Stephen Box: Yeah, you've gotta, you have to be intentional about that too, right? It's not just like, oh, I'll go to bed, you know, I'll try to go to bed at this time, or I'll, I'll force myself to go to bed at this time. Because, uh, a concept that I'll introduce the, the audience to here that I actually learned about last year, that kind of blew my mind that this was even a thing and then I realized that I do it is this idea of revenge procrastination, right?
Our sleep revenge, procrastination, where the idea [00:34:00] is you've been doing stuff for other people all day long, and now is your time and. This is where like, you know, you should be going to bed. You might even feel tired. But you sit down on the couch, you turn on the television, and you watch your favorite show, or you watch the game or whatever because you've earned in your mind, you've earned that time to yourself.
And we convince ourself this is our time to kind of unwind. And this is our method for unwinding. But we know through the research, That, especially if our unwinding period involves screens, that that's actually having the opposite effect. That that blue light actually affects the quality of our sleep. So even if you fall asleep pretty easily, uh, 'cause I've had, you know, people tell me why fall asleep watching tv so it can't be keeping me up.
Right. It's like, no, that's just 'cause you're that tired. Um, so it's one of those things where we don't realize the way that that kind of stuff [00:35:00] impacts our sleep. So could you kind of maybe dive into a little bit, maybe even share, like what is your nighttime routine that you, that you use? Yeah,
Lee Eldridge: so just the, the screen stuff.
Um, you know, I think it's more that you are just opening yourself up to.
Netflix or whoever you, whatever provider, Amazon or whatever, you know, they're clever people. The, the shows they're designed to, you watch them and then if you notice, the last kind of 10 minutes is, is where all the action happens. And then it gives you a little bit, and then it's like into the next episode and before you know it, Whatever it might be.
And for me, one thing I try to do is, or I get people to do, is if they're really poor, you know, they set an alarm, you know, so their alarm goes off and that's either 90 minutes, an hour out from, from when they're trying to get to sleep and they realize, hey look, this is, this is my time now, this is for me to kind of go through it.
And I'm not a great [00:36:00] fan of screens in general, you know, I don't very emails, you know, after. 8:00 PM at the latest, basically, because again, an email is probably normally somebody asking you to do something or a problem, and all that's gonna do, if you imagine that we're, you know, we're trying to go down the brain waves.
We're trying to go into our delta waves where we're trying relax. We're not really thinking of, we are thinking, but we're not really kind of actively thinking. So I don't really want a
sling. For me in terms of how it looks, is it's quite calm. And you know, as soon as my daughter goes to bed around 8, 8 30, I'm like, right, okay, this is, this is the time to kind of start switching down. Basically. I enjoy reading at night and I find that kind of really helps to, to kind of get everything going, basically in terms of from a sleep point of view.
Um, and then a morning routine is, [00:37:00] It is what it is in terms of, I have a young son, so you know, he's not a consistent wake upper, so sometimes he'll be up at six, sometimes quarter to seven, whatever that might be. So I try to get in 20 minutes at least of, of whatever that might look like in the morning.
Whether that's some guided meditation or mindfulness or journaling, whatever. It's for me, people are like, oh, you know, I can't do this hour, hour and a half in the morning. I'm like, look, I don't it. You, for me, it's like what, what do you influence before you go to bed and what do you influence when you get up?
So even if it's 10 and 10, so 10 minutes before you go to sleep or, and 10 minutes when you get up in the morning. Just getting that consistency of doing something similar. You know, this, the science out there in terms of gratitude and journaling and that kind of stuff is, is, is getting much kind of solid now, basically.
So once you do that and you build that consistency in, it just helps you to kind of [00:38:00] set a bit of a stone basically in terms of what you're doing. So that's it really from a, you know, a big evening, morning routine
Stephen Box: person. Yeah, I know, like for me, I'm, I'm a night owl and for me, what I've learned is, I can't schedule important things that need to be done like physical things in the morning, right?
Mentally, even though a lot of my thought is more subconscious, I think in the mornings I tend to do better with like kind of mental task first thing in the morning. 'cause what happens for me is I'll sit down and I'll just kind of go, you know, have a little meditation time, a little prayer time, and I think about my day, and I think about what things do I want to get accomplished.
And it's my strategic time. And for me that's really helped a lot because it allows me that by the time I start to really wake up, by the time my body starts to really come into full awareness, [00:39:00] I already have a plan for the day and I'm ready to rock and roll. If you're a morning person, then you know, maybe it's the opposite.
Maybe you need to have a plan already in place before you even go to bed for what is your morning actually going to look like. And I think that kind of goes back to what you said before where we all are very similar, right? It's we all need a plan a. Routine that we use at night to help us get to bed.
And we also need a routine to get us up in the morning to get a great start. So, you know, I always hear people talk about the importance of morning routines, and I don't think we talk enough about the importance of nighttime routines, and it's something that not only helps you get to sleep, but depending on whether you are a morning person or a night owl, that's also your time to make sure you're gonna get yourself off to a great start the next day.
So, you know,
Lee Eldridge: there's, you know, just see three simple questions is like, what happened today? What went well today? What didn't go well today and what can I improve? Just [00:40:00] asking those three simple questions. Um, and that's a little bit where kind of Covid has, or the pandemic has hindered people a little bit because it was a great opportunity, for example, when you're commuting back from the office or work or whatever, just to run, play that out in your, in your brain before you kind of step in.
To your next, right? I'm a dad, or whatever it might be. But obviously now with lots of people working from home, you don't have that commute, you don't have that kind of de-stress kind of bookend the day and nine times outta 10, you might roll into the room next door to you with all this stress going on.
So one thing I do encourage people to do is kind of a false commute. Whether that's just, you know, walk around the block or whatever it might be, just get out the house. And walk for 10 minutes, go through that in your head and then come back in and you're like, right, okay, now I'm into the next pillar.
I'm not gonna think about that one. And again, once you start to think about business, when you, when you know [00:41:00] that you probably shouldn't be thinking about business, you create that awareness. You are like, right, okay, look, I'll leave that till tomorrow. I'll push that back to tomorrow, basically. Because, you know, look at the, the amazing books where people on their, on their deathbeds are like, right.
What do you wish you do more of? Not many people say, well, I wish I worked harder or whatever. Most people are like, right, I wish I would've spent more time with my family or did this, or, you know, more exciting things.
Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. I think, uh, you know, this is a, a classic example. You know, we just, uh, went through the, uh, the Christmas season not too long ago and, you know, the, uh, the Christmas carols of very popular, uh, story been made into like 17,000 movie versions, but it's kind of the same concept, right?
We're, we're, Scrooge has really dedicated his entire life to money and work. And you know, the really, the idea isn't just, oh, you need to treat people better. It's that life is about [00:42:00] more than just money at work. It's about the connection that you have with other people. It's about what you can accomplish in the world outside of finances.
And I think that's a really, a great lesson for all of us to kind of take to heart.
Lee Eldridge: Well, yeah, you know, I think the, I. Present, I think is that, you know, they go to the grave and it's like, right, you can't take your money to the grave, basically. Yeah. It's, you know, it's the relationships that you create with the people and so yeah, it's a good, it's a good kind of thought process to have.
Stephen Box: Yeah. And I think for, for so many people, it's. It's also tied into our societal norms, right? I, I know there's a lot of dads out there that feel I have to be the support for the family, right? I have to be the financial support for the family, and that makes work, or your business or whatever, take on such a larger than life importance because now, [00:43:00] It's like, if I don't answer this email at 11 o'clock, if I don't get this customer that answer right now, in the next five seconds, they're gonna take their business somewhere else and they're going to leave and I'm going to fail and everything's gonna be horrible and my family's gonna starve and we're gonna be homeless.
Right. It's like we, we just, we go there. Right? I mean, it's just, it's, it is what it is. So, you know, real quick, could you maybe just kind of touch on. If you have that kind of fear around letting go of some of the business, setting some boundaries with your time, uh, what, what's one tip you can maybe give guys to help out with that?
Lee Eldridge: Um, it, it, it's, it's really to try and think about right. Your, your, your vision and like, right, where do I want to be? Um, and that's a bit of a, a key thing basically. So once you have this idea of. Kind of your boundaries. [00:44:00] Um, and if it's not a definite yes, then it's a no. Yeah, I think that's hugely it, right?
If it's not, yes, it's no. And it's quite a simple thing to do. Um, and it goes back again to, there's a great book called If It Makes the Boat Go Faster, and it's a story about a rowing team. The uk and they weren't performing very well and they all kind of got together and they made this term, it's like if the boat does it, make the boat go faster.
And every single decision that they made, they asked that question. So, you know, if we, after training, if we go out as a group and have a few beers, is it gonna make the boat go faster? No. Right. We're not gonna do it. So what I mean by that is it's like right, lots of things that we do. Not actually kind of move us forward in there.
And that's external things that are, that are pushing the pressure on. I think that's a big thing, a big learning from myself is [00:45:00] that what's the driver for me? Mm-hmm. Because comparisons to Thief for joy as we know, and all the things that come about, but it's like Right. Okay. Where do I see myself and where do I want, want to be?
And by asking yourself that one question, you know, if it's not a yes, then it's a no. It really, it really helps me, basically, in terms of the decisions that I make from a day-to-day
Stephen Box: point of view. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I love that 'cause it's like, you know what if right now, if your focus is on business and, and that is the most important thing right now.
Then those yes, no que questions go to that. If right now your goal is to become a better father, then your yes no questions go to that. Right? Yeah. It allows you to really focus on that thing that's the most important. Yeah.
Lee Eldridge: You know, I spend a lot of time in offices and you know, free spaces where, or coworking spaces, and I look around [00:46:00] and, you know, no disrespect to these people.
A lot of people are wasting time. Mm-hmm. You know, it's like, Uh, you know, pinging pong tables, pool tables in offices. I'm like, what? What, what are you doing? I'm like, right. Get in, get focused. Have a goal. Work hard to, to do it. Take breaks, but then work hard, take breaks, then work hard, then go home. Be a dad.
Really hard. Take breaks really hard, but, and then there you go. It's like, you know, it's like people going to a gym without a program. They walk in the gym and they're like, Hmm, what am I gonna do today? And you're a bit like, yeah, you know what? Machines free. Whereas I'm like, right, go into a gym, five or six exercises, 35, 40 minutes, train hard.
Get it done, recover well train hard and that's, and you know, rinse and rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. And then a [00:47:00] year's time look back and be like, oh, hey, up. This is how it's gonna be. So it's gonna be tough. You're not gonna like it. You're gonna have to be very disciplined to a certain degree.
You're gonna have to say no to a lot of things. To say yes to thing. But for me, that's.
Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's really good advice, man. Uh, Lee, I know we're kind of bumping up on, on time for you here. Uh, you had a couple questions that you wanted to kind of give people that will help them figure out what is that thing they should be focusing on first?
Uh, you wanna go and share those real quick?
Lee Eldridge: Yeah. So I think that, but what we just touched on there was, is, is, you know, is it a yes? And if no, it's a no. What, what's a yes for me and what's a no for for me? And then, you know, also, is it where I see myself going? Mm-hmm. Is it in line with the person that I am?
So my values [00:48:00] and ultimately, is it what I want to be doing as my purpose? So for me, kind of visions, values, and purpose are the big area that push people to, to go forward and do what they're gonna do. Yeah. And once you start to do that, all the decisions that you need to make, if they're covered in those three and it's a good decision, you move forward basically.
Stephen Box: Love it man. Tho those are, uh, really good and I just wanna kind of point out to people. That this is not just things you're saying. You've actually kind of lived this out today because when we first got on, you kind of set the boundaries saying, Hey look, I need to be off by this time because I have something that I need to do in my, in my role as dad, right?
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. But why you were here, you weren't thinking about that. You were locked into, let me be present in this moment to making sure that I'm delivering value to the audience and to the listeners out there, and then. It's like, okay, now we've finished this, and that's like, you're gonna switch it into dad [00:49:00] mode and you're gonna be able to go do that.
So, uh, I just wanted to kind of share with people that you're not just seeing these things, you are living them out in real time in the moment. Yes. We're doing, trying,
Lee Eldridge: trying to, every day's a school day, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it.
Stephen Box: Yes. Uh, so definitely appreciate your time today.
Uh, if you could, you're welcome. Share with people real quick if they want to connect with you and learn more about you, how can they do
Lee Eldridge: that? So LinkedIn's the best. I'm, I'm on LinkedIn from a business dad's point of view, so it's just my name, Lee Eldridge and my face will pop up. Um, and website is Cognitive Athletes.
That's ww cognitive athlete co uk. Um, and I'll send you over the details and you can share them with your audience. But thanks for having me on. It's been, it's been good fun.
Stephen Box: Yeah, definitely appreciate it and that I will post your links also in the show notes for anyone who couldn't, uh, catch them. They will be available to you there.
Uh, so this is Stephen Box and I want to thank my, uh, guest today, Lee Eldridge, and remind everyone that [00:50:00] none of us are born Unshakable. We can all become Unshakable.
Lee Eldridge: Thank you for listening to the Unshakable Habits Podcast with Coach Stephen Box. Be sure to hit the subscribe button and help us spread the word by sharing the podcast with other men.
If you are ready to create Unshakable habits, you can learn more and connect with us at UnshakableHabits com.