In a special interview edition of the podcast, you’ll hear about the habits Nathan Agin uses to build his business and maintain his health while he travels. He’ll also share simply ways we can get started too.
Listen in and you’ll learn:
– How he uses a specific creative practice to keep ideas flowing
– Why commitment and flexibility make an incredibly powerful duo
– How he manages his energy instead of his time
– How to get started with a simple approach to meditation
– How his travels have influenced his healthy diet
Nathan, thanks so much for sharing your time today. Let’s start with my favorite question. How do you define success?
It certainly has changed over the years. Now, I think of it on a larger perspective as I try to be the kind of person I want to be. Being successful, in part, is being the kind of person you want to be. For me, it’s important to make progress on the projects that are important to me. These don’t have to be the big impact projects, just something that’s important to me.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Even though I’ve been traveling for almost three years, my days look similar to a lot of people’s days. I usually wake up in the 7 o’clock hour and don’t set an alarm unless I have a flight or meeting. Then I do an hour of morning creativity practice, something I learned from Dr. Eric Maisel. The premise is that for the first hour of the day, you should work on something that is meaningful to you. Whatever your art is, you should spend an hour in the morning working on it.
After my creative work, I do 20-30 minutes of light to medium impact exercise followed by 30 minutes of meditation. Throughout the day, I go back and forth with blocks of working and breaks. My day may end with work or something fun, and I try to get to bed by 11 each night. There’s flexibility in my day, but I also structure it in a way that makes me productive. When moving place to place, I have to be more flexible with my routine and I may find myself doing my meditation on a place or bus.
When you travel, it’s important to pack two things – commitment and flexibility. The commitment aspect is all the things that are important to you and the flexibility comes with how you practice those things. For example, I’ve done a lot of yoga in a lot of places and I’ve never used yoga clothes or a mat. So while my commitment to my fitness comes through in yoga, I’m flexible with how I practice it. You can’t focus on the practice of whats important being perfect, you should focus on following through with your commitment.
What kind of work do you do you’re able to take your work with you? What kind of tools do you use?
I used to work a lot in physical offices in Los Angeles, and over the years I’ve developed that into a freelance business where I work for health and wellness professionals where I do anything from video editing to e-book creation to helping them with their websites, newsletter, or social media projects. These are things that I only need an internet connection for which gives me flexibility for when and where I work.
When it comes to productivity, I use a tool called iDoneThis which is a free website that helps you keep track of what you’ve done each day. This helps me plan out my days the night before because I can figure out whats next. I don’t have to spend my time during the day planning what I’m going to do, I just do it.
Something that’s not talked about a lot when it comes to productivity it managing your energy. There’s a great book called The Power of Full Engagement, by Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr. One thing thats in the book is that as humans, we are only designed to focus for a maximum of 2 hours at a time. That’s all our brains can take before they need a break, whether it be exercising, eating, napping, social engagement, whatever. I’ve installed a program on my computer called Time Out which is a free program from Mac that allows you to set up micro and macro breaks it’ll bring up a screen that tells you to take a time out. I have it set up to take a one minute break every 20 minutes and a 20-30 minute break about every 2 hours.
One of the biggest concepts I remember learning is the speed of implementation. When you look at really successful business people, they are very fast to implement good ideas. That doesn’t mean they stick with them forever, but by implementing quickly they can figure out what they need to tweak and if it works and is sustainable for them. A lot of people hear a good idea and think it out and six months later still haven’t done anything.
I’d love to talk about your health habits and start with meditation. Any resource or info you would recommend?
There are a lot of connotations around meditation and what it means to meditate and its really very simple. If you look at going to the gym as a way of strengthening your body, meditation is a way to strengthen your mind.
There are three things you need, and these are things I’ve learned from Relaxation Revolution by Herbert Benson.
- A Point of Focus – This is something that your mind will come back to when thoughts come in and your mind drifts. It could be a word, it could be a mantra, it could be something as simple as concentrating on your breath going into and out of your body.
- You’re going to have thoughts and this is why so many people give up on meditating because they think they can’t do it. You can’t beat yourself up about letting your mind wander and have thoughts. Just when you recognize that you’re thinking about something you just need to let it go and get back to your point of focus.
- You want to have a substantial amount of time to do this. You can start small and gradually add more time which will make it a lot easier.
So there are the three things that are required – if you can do that, you’re meditating. If you can do that for the next year for just thirty seconds I guarantee it’ll change the quality of your life.
What I use personally are meditation tracks that have binaural beats designed to slow down your brainwaves a little bit with my mantras in my voice layered in subliminally at a low frequency. I did this by using Blissitations from En*Theos. The tracks are great because they block out other sounds and I don’t have to worry about time. When the track is done, it’s been 30 minutes and I’m done.
Let’s talk about food. You have what looks like an awesome show. Tell us about your own experiences with food. How do we eat and thrive?
That’s a fantastic question and one I’m excited to continue to explore. This show came out of what I’ve been doing. I’m very fortunate that early on in my travels I was able to live and work on an organic farm in Hawaii for a month growing things in the front yard that we would bring in the house and make into food. By doing that I was able to experience this very high quality of food and I knew that when I left I didn’t want it to end. I had learned too much about what good quality food could do for me.
I experimented a lot with the paleo diet and still do a lot that is very similar to that. There is also a nutritarian diet developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman focuses on looking at nutrient-dense foods. I find myself between those two. I see nutrition as a very personal topic along the lines of talking about someone’s religion and its not for me to tell anyone what to eat or not to eat.
I wanted to see, when traveling the world, the places that are serving really great quality good for you food because all of the food and travel shows out there are really decadent and indulgent things. They are foods we should probably only eat once or twice a month, but based on how much its in our media, you’d think we would want to eat it everyday. We’re learning so much more about food these days than ever before – and on a budget standpoint you want to find stuff that’s affordable so where are these places? To take it a step further, how do you make these meals in your own kitchen so you’re doing it for a fraction of the cost? For me, the vision is doing it all through someone locally. I don’t want to just go somewhere and make a meal – I like the idea of someone who is interested going to different places and letting them try things and then learn how to recreate something in their own kitchens.
Be sure to visit Travel Eat Thrive and catch the first episode October 15th.
Let’s talk a moment about hotels – for most people when they travel, that’s where they’re stuck so they don’t have a full kitchen. Do you have any recommendations from your experience of simple things we can do to eat healthier when staying in hotels?
The first thing – get out of the hotel. I rarely stay in hotels because I don’t enjoy them. If you have to, that’s fine, but look at AirBNB rentals or even check Craigslist. These are easy ways to get access to a kitchen and probably have a nicer time.
Regardless, wherever you’re staying – pack your own snacks. Talk to the people at the front desk and find out where the local grocery stores are. If you’re eating at the hotel, definitely try to avoid the buffet. If there’s a restaurant in the hotel, look for things that are grilled, steamed, broiled, or raw. These are things that are typically cooked with less oils.
If there’s a small fridge in your hotel, pack it with foods you know make you feel good. In fact, if you visit Travel Eat Thrive, there’s a free handout with 24 tips for healthier eating, and they apply to going out to restaurants but you can certainly apply them to going to hotels and being on vacation.
To learn more about Nathan, tune into his outstanding new show – Travel Eat Thrive. There’s even time to enter his amazing meals giveaway.
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