Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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My business mentor wants to motivate me through exercise! What for?

It was a great few hours last Sunday evening. A packed Jerusalem coffee house listened to two lecturers, explaining the connection between working out and improving your work environment.

(Side bar: To cut the technical jargon, there are four chemicals in the brain that do good things for us, when we activate them through exercise).

A business coach and mentor myself, I have spent much time over the past 15 years ensuring that I have to buy new running shoes every six months. It was only once I had started to train regularly that I realised how badly I missed it, when pesky things like holidays with the family began to get in the way.

And I will never forget the morning after my first full session at the gym. The body tingled for a whole day, and I am not the only one to remark like this. A very special feeling.

Daniel H. Pink is well known on the motivating circuit, A recent video of his asks how we can motivate ourselves to go out and to exercise regularly.

Basing his observations on the work of others, he argues that the ability to run (or swim or cycle or whatever) can be seen as a “gift”. It is not something we have to do, but we can choose to accept the option, or not.

For Pink, the question of whether to exercise or not can become an autonomous decision. We can control what we do. This approach helps to shake off the pressure of not being bothered with going out in the rain.

As if to prove the point, yesterday’s 9.30am client turned up straight from the gym. Shortly after our previous session, when they had very cautiously listened to me preaching about the virtues of getting off their backside, they had met a friend. That person was looking for a gym partner. To their surprise, my client immediately took up the suggestion and started to go.

My client now trains five times a week and he said:

Working out has added two hours of thinking time to my day.

But what for? I am often asked this by people. What is the benefit from all that extra effort?

Last week, I was part of a very interesting chat with friends. Each had learnt to run and each had completed a personal milestone. And we all agreed. Once you cross that finishing line, you almost automatically think to yourself: “What next?”.

And then you understand: You are not just looking for the next physical challenge. You wonder what else you can achieve at home and in the work environment.

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