In the latest episode of the Evolve to Succeed podcast—available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn—Simon Jeffries, former Special Forces soldier and co-founder of The Natural Edge—an online academy providing a simple blueprint for health and fitness, as well as coaching for teams and individuals—talks about what he learned in the Special Forces and reveals his journey from being unemployed and living back with his parents to starting his own successful business.
Here are some highlights from the podcast.
A lot of people in business, business leaders, have that mentality of always looking for the next challenge instead of just stopping, reflecting and enjoying the moment. Would you agree that sometimes, by not being present enough, we don’t enjoy our own success?
Yes. And on reflection what I’ve come to realise is that, although the event is great, for me, it’s the process [that’s important]; if you don’t enjoy the process, I’d say you probably have to question the path you’re on. So, with regards to [passing training for the SAS] I enjoyed the undertaking of that challenge to get there as much as passing and doing that job. And I’ve found the same thing with business—if it was easy, then, to me [there’s no point]. It’s like most things in life, we get the most gratitude when we’ve done something that’s challenged us, whereas when life is easy you can quickly become complacent and things can become a bit dull.
Would you agree that most people underestimate themselves in terms of their mental and physical resilience?
Yeah, completely. One of the things we talk about a lot on The Natural Edge is that we’ve all got health built into our DNA and by that I mean as a species we are inherently robust and resilient. However, modern life, for all of its benefits, it can also have a negative impact in the sense that we stop doing some of the things that make us healthy. But once you start focusing on those areas [that are healthy] you start unlocking some of that health that’s built within us.
It really comes back to the overriding point, which is a big part of The Natural Edge’s ethos, which is that it really is a concentration on the basics and fundamentals of fitness, and not these fads that you see so much of. I think sleep is a classic example of this. Everyone is looking for those quick fixes, thinking about fine-tuning their diet or exercise, but most of the time if you ask someone what they’re doing to optimise their sleep, they look at you like you’re a bit mad … but sleep is the biggest performance enhancer that we have access to. It’s so, so critical and it really forms the bedrock of everything else.
How would compare some of the challenges you’ve had in your business journey to the challenges you faced in your military career?
The common theme in both things—whether it’s starting a business or passing courses in the military—is that they’re both very tough, but once you know that’s the path you want to take and you truly believe that’s what you should be doing, it makes things a hell of a lot easier. It makes it easier to suffer bad times because you know that’s the path you’re on, whether you’re in the jungle with hardly any sleep and completely worn down and you’ve still got another three and half weeks to go, or you’ve moved back into your parents’ house at 34 years old, with your mate who’s also your business partner, sharing a car that costs less than 400 quid, and paying yourselves literally nothing—both are incredibly taxing.
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