It’s Monday again and it’s time to start the week with a good energy!
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 Dimi Cholakov. Dimi is a performance coach and self-mastery strategist. He helps high-achievers and go-getters to unlock their potential for consistent peak performance.
1. Dimi one of your biggest strengths is consistency. Recently you did a challenge: 66 days in a row of waking up at 5:00 am. What was the reason you did that? What were the 3 main lessons from this experience?
Yes, I would like to think that I am pretty consistent. I always have been like this. I think everyone is consistent with something, just some people are consistent with their inconsistency – which can be a strength sometimes. For me, everything changed after I was introduced to the idea of habits. I quickly realised that if I want to get successful, I need to learn how to be consistent with my constructive habits and as much as inconsistent with the destructive ones. The game of habits became my adventure. I realised that initially, every new habit feels unnatural but later becomes my true nature, I just need to be consistent.
The newest research states that in order to create a habit, we need to repeat it every single day for 66 days, and if we want to make it our true nature – 6 months. I wanted to try this hypothesis. I decided to start a challenge for 66 days. I had to find where to start. My sister had suggested the new book by Robin Sharma – The 5 AM Club. I read it for several days. I got fired up and that was the beginning. Then I decided to make it public. I felt that I can inspire more people to join the challenge or at least to get some inspiration. Actually I am currently on with my next challenge “Eating Vegan/Plant-based food” for 66 days.
There were many great lessons I’ve got, but here are three:
✅ 1. Creating one key habit influences everything else in our life, because we develop universal traits like discipline, confidence, and will power.
✅ 2. Discipline is the key to everything. Being consistent with something is the best training for discipline.
✅ 3. Waking up at 5 AM gives us so much more time for ourselves, which we can use for personal growth, reflection and harnessing our well being.
2. Stress is the epidemy of 21st century. Many people struggle with anxiety, imbalance and feelings of “Not-Good-Enough”. What do you advise your clients, who are ambitious and driven, but have a challenge to find their inner peace?
First of all, let’s make it clear that in general stress is beneficial. It gives us the needed boost to start moving and have a sharp focus. We can get a lot of work done, because we have stress.
Stress becomes harmful when we can’t recover from it. Then it turns into distress. This is the form of stress, which is detrimental to our health and well-being.
I believe that the biggest reason for distress is hidden in one, and only one thing, and you already mentioned it – “I feel that I am not good enough”. We try all the time to prove our worth to someone: father, mother, boss, our neighbor and so on.
I do a lot of deep work with my clients to uncover their root of self-confidence and give back the lead in their hands. Once this happens, everything else changes. Then they can relax into their lives and can use stress as their tool, not their master.
3. Achievement vs Fulfilment? Is it possible to have both? How does one find their own balance, their own “sweet spot” of living a meaningful and productive life?
It is 100 % possible. The problem comes when we try to prove our worth with our achievements. We believe that by achieving something, for the sole sake of achievement, we will get fulfilment in life.
Everything changes, when we focus on knowing who we truly are. Once we know and accept ourselves, we can commit to something, which fully encompasses our true nature – our mission. Then our fulfilment comes from the constant expression of our true nature and the feeling of having a worthy impact by living our mission. And as a bonus, we become unstoppable towards achieving what we are after.
4. What do you do when you get overwhelmed and out of balance and your mind starts that negative chattering? Can you share 3 quick practical strategies how to get back on track?
That’s a great question. Let’s first clarify what is happening in our body when we are into the hole of negative thought patterns.
After it gets the message from the mind, our body starts releasing stress chemicals – adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare it for fight and flight – face frowning, shoulders constricted, chest facing down, legs and arms crossed and constricted.
So our job is to change the pattern, we need to counteract the stress hormones by first acknowledge them and second by filling our body with positive hormones – dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and so on.
Here is a simple process I use with myself and my clients:
✅ 1. Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths, as you are taking the breaths you need to focus on your belly.
✅ 2. Say mentally or imagine in your head a STOP sign (this helps to interrupt your thought pattern).
✅ 3. Stand up and start laughing uncontrollably (endorphine). Initially it will be hard but after that will feel natural.
✅ 4. Think of three things you are grateful for (serotonin), proud of achieving (dopamine) or of something you really love (it can be your partner, child, pet or something else (oxytocin).
✅ 5. Stand still and enjoy the feelings you have triggered by the previous steps.
5. In the last 24 months – what habit or belief have you acquired, that was a game-changer for you?
I think the habit of waking up at 5 AM is the one. It gave me the needed time to focus on what is important in life.
[BONUS] Name one to three books that helped you to become a better leader?
If you have any questions to Dimi, please leave your comment below!
Stoyan Yankov is a serial entrepreneur, productivity & performance coach, professional speaker and startup mentor. Stoyan is also a co-founder & managing director at Samodiva Masterminds, a company with a focus on high-end mastermind experiences and corporate offsites. Prior to that, Stoyan worked in film & video production, digital marketing and advertising.
Hundreds of startup teams around the world have applied successfully the #perform methodology, to boost their productivity and team cultures, which Stoyan co-developed with Cristobal Alonso (CEO, Startup Wise Guys). Today they are finishing their book: ‘#perform – The Unsexy Truth of (Startup) Success‘, including cases and examples from the founders of some of the most successful startup teams in Europe.
P.S. Tag someone in the comments, to nominate them to be my next guest!