There’s a very counterintuitive but powerful connection between the principles of intermittent fasting, your mindset at work, and your spirit.
How in the hell are we going to connect these three very different things on the surface?
Let’s take a step back and first realize that these three things are actually three different levels within us. It’s our body, our mindset, and our spirit or soul.
Level 1 – Your Body
Let’s start with the body, with intermittent fasting. So why is intermittent fasting if you’re doing it so powerful?
At a basic level, if you haven’t heard about it, it’s typically something like a 16 hour period of fasting and an eight hour period of feasting or some variation of that every week.
There are tailwind periods and headwind periods.
Feasting & Fasting – Tailwinds & Headwinds
The tailwinds in that experience of fasting are really the easy times. It’s the times when you’re eating carbs or refined sugars that are really, really simple and easy and low energy expenditure to transform into glucose and the energy your body needs.
Those are like the really happy, easy days for your body in terms of energy expenditure.
And then you have the headwind periods, the challenging periods. This is the 16 hour or whatever period of fasting where your body is forced to dig deep because you’re not eating carbs or you’re not eating anything during this period.
Your body is forced to say, “Okay, let’s dig into our fat reserves. Let’s dig into any kind of glycogen store we have.” It takes more energy, but the result is you’re able to have this really clean, effective burning fuel source, that you can use to drive the output you need in your body.
There’s a ton of benefits, from longevity to how you’re feeling, to sleep, to weight loss, to skin quality, a whole bunch of stuff. But the whole purpose of this is really training your body to say any kind of condition, an easy time or a challenging time, “We’ve built the system. We have the ketones. We have the wiring in place internally to transform that into the energy output that we need.”
Level 2 – Your Mindset at Work
Now, let’s jump over to the next level up, to your mindset at work, your startup mindset. And in this world, in this realm, it’s really saying, “Let’s take any experience that comes our way, running a startup or in your job, and let’s transform that into the results we need at work.”
So the tailwinds, the easy examples are super fun and easy. In a time where things are going well, it’s very easy to take that good energy and transform that into getting your team excited, going out there and fundraising, whatever it might be.
Those are the easy times, when your partnerships are closing, when your rounds are closing very quickly, when you’re crushing your metrics, when you have that big public company earnings release that’s awesome. Whatever it might be, it’s easy to have that dinner with your team to go get people reinvigorated and go out there and just set your goals even higher and go and crush it. That’s easy.
The real depth of challenge and the opportunity here is taking the challenging times, the headwinds, when things aren’t going “well” and using that energy as well into the same level of intensity towards the results you need.
It’s when your partnerships aren’t closing, when you’re having a challenge closing your round, when you’re running a publicly traded company and you’ve got that really challenging earnings release.
Whatever it might be, using all the pain and the energy and all the challenge that comes up from that experience and saying, “Let’s use this too as a way to go and get the results we need.”
So make that big decision that you’ve been holding off. Hire that person or fire the person you’ve needed to fire. Go into that new market or cut off some part of your strategy.
Use that the same way that Steve Jobs came in with 30 to 90 days left of cash for Apple and said, “We’re going to drastically slash our product lines. We’re going to focus.”
Use that energy of the challenge itself to make these really difficult decisions and train your mindset to be able to burn in any kind of condition, to really burn effectively and create results in any kind of weather condition.
If you can do that, you are going to be in an entirely different league than anyone else in the industry, any of your competitors, because you’ve really trained your mind to do the same thing you’ve trained your body to do when you’re intermittent fasting.
Whatever comes your way, the good times, the challenging times, you are trained to take that in you, use that energy and transform that into massive results.
You’re going to be on an entirely different level, and you’re going to be operating in a very equanimous, awesome way that the vast majority of humanity just hasn’t learned or trained themselves to do.
Level 3 – Spirit
Lastly, there’s a really exciting and highest level to this game, in my opinion, if you’re pulled to the spiritual path or you want to work on your motivation or your soul, whatever you might call it.
I think about a quote from Ram Dass.
Ram Dass is this famous former Harvard professor of psychology who famously left Harvard and pursued the spiritual path of being a guru.
He has this really beautiful quote, which is, “Take anything that life throws at you and use it to go to God.” So whatever happens, use it to go to God.
And what does he mean by that? Well, you look at his life experience.
Ram Dass became this highly acclaimed speaker, super high energy, traveling all around the world. Very, very eloquent, a force of nature as a guru, as a thought leader in the world of spirituality.
And then one day, in the midst of his prime, he woke up and found himself in a nearly debilitating stroke. So this person who was high energy, traveling all over the world, suddenly found himself unable to even go to the bathroom on his own without assistance.
This person who was one of the most eloquent, sharpest minds in the world could barely utter a syllable or two. And he just really found this radical transformation.
And for a moment of time, he looked internally and had this real dark night of the soul moment where he said, essentially to God or his creator, and said, “Why have you punished me in this way? I’ve spent my whole life with this positive intention going out there looking to serve and now I can barely do that. Why am I being punished?”
This real dark night of the soul, this “Eli Eli lama sabachtani?” moment where he really doubted it all.
And then at some point it just clicked for him and he realized it’s all love. The core of everything is just love.
Even this, even this deeply challenging moment was actually for him as a blessing to deepen his resolve, to deepen his sense of love, to deepen how he shows up in the world, to deepen his understanding, to really test and challenge and sculpt the depth of his resolve and the depth of his spirit.
And when he had that mindset unlocked, he went to a whole other level.
There is a beautiful Netflix documentary on this if you’re curious to learn more (check it out here), but even that, even a debilitating stroke after a life of dedication and service, can be used, after a dark night of the soul, to transform his attitude towards life.
Bringing it all together
So that is the way that all these three things fit together, training your body in intermittent fasting to take any kind of condition and transform that into the physical energy you need.
Training your mindset to take any event that happens at work and transform that into the results you need.
And then thirdly, at the level of spirit, anything that enters your consciousness, using that to go deeper, using that to show up as your highest self, using that to strengthen your resolve.