You don’t need a yogi or a million dollars to create years of happiness and joy .. you need 20 minutes.

I have struggled with many areas of my life — poor health, lack of impact on the world, love, and growth in my career. I always tackled these areas with herculean efforts, only to burn out and having no positive results. No matter how important these were — living a few extra years or winning that new market success, I couldn’t realize the goal.

Does this sound like you? If so .. how I began to see results I share below, and you can start them today — no membership, gear, or yogi required 😉

Life is a marathon

My early actions were all about sprints, and led to very acute lessons. Working furiously to see immediate gains — which I did. Unfortunately these gains were built on a poor foundation, and therefore didn’t last. 

  • I worked 80–100 hours a week and built data centers, trained thousands of people around the world, and was an acknowledged expert on 100s of technologies. While this serves me today, it was a pace unsustainable and thus I began to underperform in other areas. Relationships failed. Health failed. You know the stories.
  • To fix my health I ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. Achieving 1:29 half-marathons; 54k solo summits around volcanoes in New Zealand; and 16+ hour trail runs around the country… but again, all fire and passion without a foundation. My body broke. I had built no strength, no intensity training, no mobility attention, and a volume wins all mentality weakened all my joints. 

Sprints of efforts without a foundation cannot deliver life long happiness and success. Sustainable behaviors DO deliver those coveted results. I had to reframe my approach to one with a YEARS outlook, not a next month target. 

Shifting your mindset to long term growth and progress, allows for bumps in the road. It eases the mind of constant judgment, and puts you focused on the EFFORT vs the scale / salary / clock. 

#1 Shift from a short term “results” mindset to a “effort mindset” — put in the work

Work Smarter and not Harder — Ducktales

As I learned in my past, I am a HARD worker. I will summit any mountain, accomplish any project deliverable, and manifest the will power to complete a task. That however isn’t the secret to success.

If you are on the wrong road going the wrong direction, no matter how hard you work you will never succeed. Ever.

Prior to beginning your journey, spend 20 mins researching online; talking to a friend that is an expert (or one step ahead of you), and identify the smart path. 

A word of warning — do not bet the smart path on your intuition or dogma. History is littered with right proven wrong. Do your research, pull from current thinking, and be sure it makes logical sense for you. (i.e., if you followed the U.S. Gov guidance on food the past 40 years, you would have most likely gained diabetes, chronic illnesses, and obesity to show for it)

Smarter has the following characteristics:

  • Correct to achieve your complete goal
  • Achievable given your health and living situation
  • Sustainable

20 Minutes a day

Now you have to act, you have researched what is the smart path. You have the right mindset to get where you need to go, and you have the motivation.

To keep it simple begin with 20 minutes of FOCUSED time on your actions. This might mean a million things for you — but we are ONLY giving it 20 minutes for now. Over time, you are free to expand it.

Areas of focused attention:

  • Writing 20 minutes a day to finally realize that book you’ve dreamed about
  • 20 minutes documenting / researching your family tree for all generations
  • 20 minutes of stretching to finally touch your toes
  • 20 minutes of board games with your kids, because of love
  • 20 minutes of meditation, journaling, reflection, prayer
  • 20 minutes of a walk with your partner to just share emotionally
  • 20 minutes of strength training to gain a lifetime of capability
  • 20 minutes of reading
  • 20 minutes with your work team to bond and create a lasting culture
  • you get the idea…. no limits, but these are BIG GOALS with sustainable impact

The math is pretty powerful….

20 minutes * 365 days = 121 hours

121 hours in a year, or 5 days a year

Now think to all the things you give 20 minutes to a day that ARE NOT serving you… Such as…on average there are 24 minutes in an hour of TV programming. ← this alone shocked me out of my excuses.

Little moments add up

How about we start looking at the little moments in our normal day, and see if we can transform it into a joyful moment. Therefore creating YEARS of joy and success in our lives, as WE define them!

Yes, you can and will expand the 20 minute habit further as you get a routine. Yes this will lead to exponentially bigger returns, but remember that there is a limit. You are not trying to go from 20 mins to 200 mins a day to see faster returns. That isn’t sustainable or a marathon mindset. Seek that balance and sweet spot, and you’ll not only have greater joy, see more progress, be healthier, and achieve greater success.

Now make the list of what deserves your 20 minutes of concerted effort. Book time on your work and home calendars RESERVED for this time, and go for it. 

You got this!

About the author

  • Coach, Mentor, 3x author
  • 24 Year technology executive
  • Helped launch clouds for EMC and Cisco
  • GOOGLE, Microsoft FEDRAMP & ISO 27001 — Oversaw / Part of team deploying / Managed Cloud Compliance

James — executive to deliver products to market; author; inventor; speaker, and technologist with decades of experience across all technology and cybersecurity. (LinkedIN to connect and engage)

James is a leader that has balanced product market success with rapid regulations, cyber, customer demands, and supplier challenges at Honeywell, Google, and Microsoft in the recent past. Successful in building large teams and influence driven initiatives that have saved millions in new revenue and savings for Honeywell. Passionate about the product creation process; the value of intertwining privacy and quality together, and the opportunity present through branding and value.

James leads with the Senior Leadership across the globe and partners for critical priorities at Honeywell to identify new innovation opportunities through strategy and practical implementations within the Azure cloud, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and industrial products.

James has successfully grown from zero to $50MM business and brands as a founder, owner, and within the Fortune 200. A track record built with wins and losses, that are always building on his network across the globe with the best technologists and great peers to bring the best talent and resources to each project.

James began transforming the Honeywell supply chain strategy that have delivered efficiencies (reduction of idea to signature) and pragmatic development of partnerships that have expanded our market offerings across Honeywell.

James’ continues to lead and advise on their cloud strategy, cloud innovation, cost consolidation, cyber security, and compliance across the various businesses within Honeywell.

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