Charlie-GilkeyIn a special episode of The Habit Chef Podcast, we’ll explore a baker’s dozen of powerful personal development principles with this week’s master chef, Charlie Gilkey.

A self-described old soul, Charlie is an author, speaker, contributor to Inc Magazine, and business advisor at Productive Flourishing. I met Charlie at the first World Domination Summit and was immediately struck by how well he integrated his experience as an officer with the Army National Guard and his doctoral studies in philosophy into principles that resonated for business owners and individual peak performers.

For his habit profile, Charlie thought an audio interview would be better, and I have to agree. Listen in on our conversation to hear Charlie’s insights directly, and then use the notes below to implement the key ideas in your own life.

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1. Success is living in accordance with our individual values and purpose.

Charlie reminds us that we have to be careful not to adopt someone else’s version of success. We must have a sense of purpose to move in that direction, and qualitative goals are usually more in alignment than quantitative ones.

2. Healthy personal development looks like a corkscrew.

Noting that the path to success is neither linear or circular, Charlie shared the idea that real progress often looks more like a corkscrew. To accomplish this, it’s important that we plan regular periods of review and reflection and allow time for iteration.

3. Choose your metrics carefully, recognizing that you’ll affect what you watch.

Explaining the Hawthorne effect, Charlie pointed out that we’ll influence our behavior simply by the metrics that we choose to measure. Knowing this, it’s important that we pick key indicators that contribute to our overall success.

4. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

In introducing his daily routine, Charlie reiterated the importance of each individual day. Instead of dreaming of some idolized version of ourselves that’s likely many years away, we’re better served to take small actions in that direction every day.

5. Use scaffolding to support your personal strengths and preferences.

Recognizing that the first step is self awareness, Charlie chronicled his own journey of experimentation to gain an understanding of his own idiosyncrasies. Once those are identified, it’s important to establish supportive systems and routines.

6. Focus is an intentional choice.

Cautioning us against false perceptions, Charlie explained that we must give ourselves the permission and space to create at our peak times. When necessary, we can use firewalling to block out email, social media, and other potential distractions.

7. Use the “Create, Connect, Consume” framework to allocate your time and energy.

Continuing with his daily schedule, Charlie outlined his daily rhythm – using his peak time for creative projects, followed by a period of connection or collaboration, and transitioning to consumption and maintenance as his energy wanes at the end of the day.

8. Eliminate negative middle ground to recapture transition time.

Pointing out that waiting or transition time is neither work nor play, Charlie advised us to consider restructuring that time to be more nourishing. In doing this, we can reclaim the direct time, and often, the period that follows.

 9. If a decision really matters to you, pre-decide when you’re rested and refreshed.

Warning of the pitfalls of decision fatigue, Charlie encouraged us to make decisions early in the day. He noted that planning and decision making is a creative process and will deplete our willpower reserves. The more important the decision, the more care that should be taken to ensure a healthy mental state.

10. Recognize that our bodies are more than a head conveyance vehicle.

Recalling the General Patton quote that an “active mind cannot exist in an inactive body,” Charlie reminded us of the importance of our physical health on our mental abilities.

11. Peak performers generally share three common habits.

In reflecting on his coaching and research, Charlie shared the key habits of effective people: regular review of plans and values, a routine of mindfulness or physical activity, and a strong connection to a growth network.

12. Instead of seeking change in others, focus on connecting with those that already share the desire to change.

Talking specifically to Moms, Charlie provided another perspective on family dynamics. While we often prescribe changed behaviors for others in our household, it’s often more effective to focus only on our behavior.

13. Figure out who you are and be that each day.

Focusing on the fundamental theme of our conversation, Charlie reiterated the golden rule of personal development – do you.


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