Monday Productive is a weekly interview format, featuring peak-performers from my network, who share 5 ideas on how to boost your productivity and stay at the top of your game.
Today’s guest is Simon Skipper Christiansen. Simon is an award-winning documentary photographer, entrepreneur and Emographics coach. He’s also co-owner of the skateboard company Jazz Skate Co. and Visual Director in the impact-oriented NGO SamfundsTanken. After traveling across four continents on his own in the beginning of his 20’s, he founded Skipper Photography from the attic of his father’s home and grew to become a major influencer in his field. Simon is a light-hearted spirit, determined to help mankind understand one another and for each of us to reclaim our true voice.
1. I’ve met you for the first time at Samodiva Mastermind Retreat this summer – and I immediately felt you have such an abundant mindset. Have you always been like that? Can one build a mindset of growth?
Indeed we met there, let me first take a moment to thank our mutual friend Ditte Ernst for helping manifest that opportunity! It’s a great question. In my experience, we grow from contrast, adversity and from taking responsibility for our lives. I’ve definitely had my share of challenges in my childhood, from being bullied regularly to doing petty crimes. Yet on the inside, I always knew I was straying from my true path. After a teenage breakup left me lost without any identity worth mentioning, I’d had enough of compromise and limitations. I started searching frantically, borrowing every single library book on personal growth, development and inquiry I could get my hands on. I began educating my mindset from my inner strength and wisdom rather than the external circumstances I’d let define me until then. And ever since, I’ve learnt, explored, failed and grown, and now more than 10 years later, it just keeps getting better and better, realizing how much I still don’t know and have yet to experience. So to reiterate; one can indeed cultivate a growth mindset! I encourage everyone I meet including you reading this, ask yourself – am I focusing on what I can appreciate, control and learn from, or am I setting myself up for suffering?
2. You are someone who invests “heavily” in himself. (coaching, seminars, retreats, trainings..). Which were some of the programs that impacted you most this year and can you share 1 key takeaways from each of them?
Uh. Indeed, as you know it’s pretty addictive to be on this path of personal growth! Glad you asked, as this year has had more programs and experiences for me than any other time of my life. Some major events I’ve been at this year have been the Samodiva Masterminds in Bulgaria with you, Tony Robbins Life and Wealth Mastery in Tenerife and PHX Rising in Amsterdam. Three main takeaways are:
1) Be unapologetic. You do not do anybody a service by compromising your integrity, your authenticity or your heart’s desire. If you want to sing, sing, if you want to dance, dance! Investigate whatever fear holds you back from being that sincere, that vulnerable, and find a way to go beyond it. I don’t know about you, but the individuals who inspire me the most have one thing in common: they don’t allow anything or anyone to compromise their integrity.
2) Health comes first. No matter what you want in life, it’s all redundant if your body hurts, your relationships are falling apart, your emotions are in pieces and you feel no connection to your creator. I’ve seen plenty of high achievers and peak performers put their business and their ‘success’ before their health. But isn’t true success to be at peace and in a state of well-being regardless of whatever life brings you?
3) There has never been a more exciting time to be alive. We’re experiencing massive disruption in ways greater than mankind has ever before seen. One might feel like a deer caught in the headlights in the midst of this constant stream of change, yet I see so many opportunities coming up. I have so much faith in humanity and in our development. I believe we’ll see several of the old systems of our world transform, especially as millenials mature to obtain positions of power. So I say: see opportunities, not drawbacks. Surrender to the universe, it does not make mistakes.
3. You are a professional photographer (a very busy one). As a creative pro, how do you plan your time so you keep your focus on what matters most? Do you have your own system or a method?
Good one. I like to analyse what I do using the 80/20-method that I got from Tim Ferriss. E.g. assess the year of 2019, looking through your calendar. Which ≈20 % of your projects, assignments, appointments, decisions, experiences and relationships have given you ≈80 % of the joy or progress? That’s what to expand. I use an app called SmartBreak on my computer, ‘forcing’ me to take breaks so I remember to breathe between tasks. Also, I’m a big fan of leverage. Whatever isn’t my main task or primary objective, I like to delegate. Even if the person I give it to takes nearly my hourly wage, delegating it means that I can focus on The One Thing that matters most. I also use a handful of mentors and coaches regularly to help me in being critical towards my thinking and my blind spots. It can hurt my ego in the moment, but it’s always worth it. Haha.
4. Productivity is about getting things done, but it’s also about recharging and recreation. What are your strategies for sustaining an #OptimalEnergy state?
Indeed. I listen to my body as much as I can, our bodies are so intelligent, and I acknowledge how crucial it is to be in a state of well-being first and foremost. From an energetic standpoint, whatever action you’ve got ahead of you, you MUST feel good before doing it, and this can be hard to remember for us ambitious beings. Nothing good ever comes from stress, fear or worry, because where focus goes, energy flows, and that stuff grows. Personally, I meditate daily, from 20-60 minutes every morning. This is my single most important habit!! Sometimes guided, sometimes walking, sometimes with visualisation or incantations, sometimes without any external stimulation at all, depending on what I feel I need or where I’m at in that moment, what I want to manifest. This allows me to get out of my mind and out of the way, to move into my breath and and do amazing energy/healing work, as well as to surrender rather than ruminate. Sometimes it’s hard for me to focus, but I always give what I’ve got. I’m continuously awestruck by the power of energy work and meditation! Spending time in nature is also so healing, luckily I’ve got a lush oasis of a cemetery next to my flat (believe it or not, cemeteries are recreational spaces in Denmark). I spend as much time as possible with positive people who are on my team, in my tribe, beloved friends and family. I feed my mind with inspiring books and audios. Yet this can put me under more stress at times, where I’ll rather go for funny podcasts like Car Talk or reading Calvin & Hobbes which makes me laugh out loud. We’re not supposed to perform all the time, cut yourself some slack when you’ve earnt it. Recently, I’ve also virtually cut out coffee, sugar and alcohol, and I eat as plant based as possible, as few white carbs as possible, as I feel they make me tired and gluten/dairy is hard on the digestive system, and we each need to keep our body in an alkaline (as opposed to acidic) state for it to heal and grow. Since turning vegetarian about a year ago, I’ve cut about an hour off my sleep needs daily(!) And I have very few food cravings. That’s also way better for our animals and the climate too. So, be f*cking mindful of what you eat, because the cliché is true, we are what we eat, every cell and bone in your body came from what you stuffed your face with. Anyway, besides my food rant there, I just purchased a rebounder trampoline, and I like to jump on it a few times a day while repeating my favorite affirmations. For recreation, I spend a lot of time being physical. I go skateboarding of course, I bike around Copenhagen, I love doing yoga or working out in my awesome gym The Rehab which also cures a lot of the stress I put my body under from skateboarding. Mentally/emotionally, I often get therapy/coaching from Emographics where I graduated as a coach. I remember to stimulate myself, e.g. using my other hand for brushing my teeth or biking a different way to work. Travel is also great for stimulation. And lastly, I spend time in gratitude daily with my beloved fiancé Ewa (bless her heart), drink lots of water and breathe deeply! I’m pushing myself too hard at times, let‘s be honest, but luckily I’m getting better at listening to my body and my emotions before things get out of hand.
5. What habits and routines have you acquired in the past 24 months that had a huge impact on your well-being?
I mentioned several in your previous questions! Being unapologetic and vulnerable. Being way more healthy (alkaline > acidic diet). Raising the bar regarding what I tolerate. Being more mindful about who I spend time with and who I let influence me. Leverage! Surrendering, letting go of control. That ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results. Going where opportunities are concentrated (events, workshops etc.) Religiously putting aside 30 % of my income for investing it and paying off expensive loans. And I gotta tell you, a major shift happened during all these deep immersion events of the past 1-2 years, I’m starting to love myself more unconditionally, and as a result I can focus on contributing to making the world somewhat of a better place rather than picking my own old B.S. out of my navel. 🙂
[BONUS] Name one to three books that helped you to become a better leader?
21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Harari
Start with Why – Simon Sinek
Tongue Fu! How to Deflect, Defuse and Disarm any Verbal Conflict – Sam Horn
If you have any questions to Simon, leave your comment below.
To connect with Simon:
Thank you for reading.
Tag someone to nominate them to be my next guest!
#MondayProductive #perform #productivity #motivation #personalgrowth