01:57 – Play for adults
06:14 – Just 20 minutes a day
07:20 – Play is life
09:47 – Pick three things
11:58 – When working the 12-hour grind
15:17 – Has sleep anything to do with it?
16:19 – How it affects business
17:39 – Looking at the options
21:46 – Has it not worked?
23:16 – Surprising results
24:45 – Post-school education
Grow a business that funds your lifestyle with James’s personal coaching
James: James Schramko here, welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today is Episode 594, and I’m chatting with Dale Sidebottom from Energetic.education. That’s actually the name of the website. Welcome, Dale.
Dale: Thanks, James. Thanks for having me, mate. Yeah, that’s the name of my brand and the website, correct.
James: Is it possible you have one of the most fun jobs you could ever invent?
Dale: By listening to your podcast, I reckon yours is pretty good, surfing a couple of times a day. But, you know, I’m quite fortunate that my job is basically all play, go around and get people moving and try and bring the fun to every situation.
James: So you got introduced to me from our mutual friend Jarrod Robinson, who has appeared on our show before as a case study, and he’s also been talking about automated webinars and applications through TheAppMatch.com. And he was a PE teacher, and that’s where you met. Is it way back in the PE education system?
Dale: Yeah, so we actually grew up together and I’m a really good friend of Jarrod. We both taught PE together, and Jarrod was actually the one that said to me, “Right mate, you need to…” (I’ve got a couple other businesses), and he goes, “It’s time that you quit teaching and really focus on the two sort of passions you have. And it was a big call and I’m pretty sure that you were the one who sort of told him to do a similar thing back in the day. And yeah, so since then, mate, going on leaps and bounds and very fortunate to love what I’m doing, and be able to sort of provide play opportunities for adults, teachers, students all around the world.
Play for adults
James: Okay, so let’s just get the brief version of what it is that you’re actually doing with these businesses and students all around the world.
James: Yeah, so what I found was, and as a teacher you see students all day. All they do is play. They don’t have a care in the world, they’re present, they’re so happy, nothing to worry about. And what I found was, I also run a boot camp business as well, and what I found is that adults would come to me and I would start using play games in my boot camps.
“The older we get, things take over life.”
And these were just experiences that these adults were not getting in any other part of their life, because the older we get, James, things take over life. We got mortgages, we got kids, we got jobs. You know, we’re working a lot of hours. The last thing we actually do is schedule time to play.
So I was able to find ways to get that play benefit for people, and then also get the exercise benefit as well. And the results are amazing. People were not only enjoying what they were doing, they were getting fit and healthy a bit. But they were actually getting, like, really those childhood memories of what it was like playing on the playground or similar things like that. Probably similar to you now when you’re surfing, mate. I’ll throw a question back at you – what’s the feeling that you get when you’re surfing?
James: You know, when you were talking about play and exercise, I was just quietly thinking to myself, I wonder if Dale’s been listening to any of my podcasts, because you would know that that’s the most joyous activity that I do. And it definitely combines exercise with fun. I mean, just take today for an example. It’s perfect conditions. It’s winter here, but it’s sunny, we’re up in Sydney. And the water was crystal clear, the waves were five feet, which means they’re a little overhead, and I paddled around for 3.6 kilometers.
James: And I actually traveled over four kilometers on this surf in an hour and four minutes. I caught eight waves, the longest wave was 135 meters. And for our American friends, that’s probably over 300 feet. And I was traveling up to 24 kilometers an hour, so probably 16, seventeen miles an hour. And I had the biggest smile on my face. The wave is coming, I get that anticipation. I paddle for it, I aim slightly off to the side, the waves are starting to pick me up. And I stand on my feet. And I just scream down the face of the wave. And then right up to the top. And then I looked down, and it’s like you’re standing on the top of your house. And I looked down, and I just bend my knees a bit. And I just, it’s like snowboarding in a way, just absolutely flying down the wave face again, in this speed burst. And it’s exhilarating.
And when I pack up, like I come back in, take off my leg rope and pull out my earplugs and, and take the top part of my wetsuit off. And I just look back to the ocean. And I just think, wow, like, what a life. This is, on a weekday too, you know? This is just a Wednesday and I’m living my dream. It was just amazing. It was probably one of the best waves that I’ve ever caught. And I do this every day. And I can’t imagine life not doing that. And it’s most definitely built in. It is a mandatory activity, unless there’s no waves or I’m landlocked somewhere, in a conference somewhere. But soon wave pools will rescue me with that one. So I’m a huge convert. And that’s why I wanted to get you here to talk about it.
But I guess we should cover like, what could we do if we’re not a surfer? We certainly can’t all become a surfer because of geographic locations. And because frankly, it’d just get a bit too crowded. So what are our options?
Dale: Yeah, and just listening to your voice there, I can guarantee when you’re on that wave, you know, five foot, that you weren’t thinking about you had a podcast to be made today, or you had to reply to an email or anything like that. You’re present, and I think that’s the biggest powerful thing about play, you know, that you’re in the moment. And today, with so many issues, and social media, and our lives are so busy, that’s a really hard thing to find. And surfing ticks both boxes for me, because it’s playful, but you’re also getting exercise.
So for a lot of people out there, you know, going to the gym can be a routine, or going to a class, you know, it can be a circuit session or something like that. And it’s not actually getting that play benefits. You’re getting the exercise benefits, but you’re not getting the benefits of play. So if you are not in a position where you’ve got a sport you play like basketball, cricket, or football or something like that, then yes, you need to be able to find something where you can set aside time in your day.
Just 20 minutes a day
And what I’ve found, James, is that just 20 minutes a day of play, and that is exercise play, I call it. So I have designed games where the objective is to have fun and play the game, so you’re present, but you also have to do certain movements to progress in the game. So I’ve found really good results with those. And what ends up happening is people are having so much fun, like you were on your wave, that you forget that you’re doing push ups or sit ups, or you’re doing a squat or so forth like that.
So I think if you can incorporate both into your day, and you know, we’re really busy, so you might need to schedule time in your diary. Set aside 20 minutes like you did today, set aside an hour and four minutes so you can go and get that exhilaration of riding those waves.
James: You know, I actually stagger my morning and afternoon appointments apart so that I can go for a surf just after the morning block or before the afternoon block. Or if that’s not going to work conditions wise, I’ll go before the early morning block. And I try and schedule appointments after dark. So I maximize the time. My afternoon sessions are, you know, they start at five o’clock and go till six because I know that that’s going to be pitch black and I’m not wasting valuable surf time.
Dale: I like that.
Play is life
James: Now you’ve actually got an app that people can download and get into this habit. It’s called Jugar.life. Is that right? Jugar.life. What does that mean?
Dale: So that’s the name of our website. But “jugar” means “play” in Spanish. And so my mantra is that play is life, you know, and that we need to have it every day. So I wanted to create an app. And I played around with a lot of these different apps. And I think each day, James, you need to incorporate four different things. And I’ve already mentioned two of those. So play and exercise, I think, are crucial. And if you are not getting both of those in your day-to-day life, you’re probably not as happy as you possibly could be.
“Play and exercise are crucial.”
And then I also found by practicing simple gratitude, you need to do that daily. And also kindness, where putting other people forward and thinking of them before yourself is something that, I know it sounds a little bit silly, but if you actually start doing it, it makes you feel so much better yourself.
So we’ve created this app, basically, where the first thing in the morning, you wake up and you answer three questions. And it’s like daily goals, daily habits, setting your day up to be a really successful one. And those questions are, what are you looking forward to today? So let’s use you for example, two surfing would probably be what you’re looking forward to.
What might challenge you? is the next question. So I always like to reflect on this and set it up in the day so you’re aware of probably your biggest hurdle for the day, whatever that might be.
And then the last question in the morning is, How can I do something kind for somebody else today? So that might be a random act of kindness. It might be buying them a coffee, might be something like that.
So what I find is that it gives you clear goals for the day. So then you go about your day, and in the evening, there’s just another three questions where you reflect. And these vary. One’s on gratitude, one’s on play, and another one might be like, What’s one word to describe the day? Or, who’s someone I’m grateful for? It could be anything like that. And what I find by doing those questions at night is that it’s a really positive way to reflect before you go to bed, and also use to hold yourself accountable. Did I play today? Did I exercise? Because if you didn’t, you can’t write it down and go from there.
So it’s a free app, and it’s recently just come out, so if anybody’s out and would like to give it a go, it’s available on iTunes and you can get out there and just start doing it. And I think, as I said, you start and finish your day in a positive way and keep yourself accountable. And it’s really amazing what starts to happen.
Pick three things
James: Is there a list of the most popular activities that people choose when they can start combining fun and exercise?
Dales: So what I always do in workshops I’m running or when I’m with dealing with clients online is, I always get people just to write down the three most favorable things they like to do. So any play thing they like to do. So for example, let’s do yours, James. Obviously surfing is number one. And what would be the two?
James: I’d say, ferrying my surfboards up and down between the garage and the house, rotating the quiver, maybe skating on my carver board. Land surfing.
Dale: Cool. I’d say, there you go. And you’ve got those written down. And I always get people to pick them. So you’re quite fortunate though, that you do schedule surfing in each day. And then if you can do a couple of different ones, you can go land surfing or you can get your surfboards out. It’s really beneficial just to write these down.
So if you are listening along in the car, or if you’re listening along at home, and you can actually write something down, think about the three things that maybe you loved doing as a kid or three things that you haven’t done for a while, but they give you real pleasure. And I guarantee, if you start incorporating those into your day, your outlook and your happiness will change. And if you can incorporate play movements and exercise together, that’s when the magic happens, James, that’s when your life will do a 360 degree and you’ll just be loving every single day.
“Adults are just humans who have had the kid beaten out of them.”
James: I remember hearing someone say a quote along the lines of, “Adults are just humans who have had the kid beaten out of them.” And it really connects with me, because I know when I’m out there surfing, at school holidays at the moment, too, so I’m sharing the lineup with these bleached-haired, like, 16-year-old groms who are there during the middle of the day. It’s an absolute outrage. But you know, they’re smiling and hooting and hollering and I really do, the surf shop tells me that I’m probably at sort of surfing age of maybe 16 to 18 in terms of grom level, or froth level, they call it, excitement factor.
When I caught my best wave today, and I was paddling back out, the other people, they held their hands up and were hooting, like, “Wooh!” And that was an act of kindness. It made an old man like me feel like I’d just scored a really good one. And sharing the stoke is a big part of the culture. Between strangers, I might add, which is, it’s a lovely human interaction.
When working the 12-hour grind
So we write down the things that we’re doing, and we schedule it. Now, I know someone might be listening to this thinking, ‘What about the person grinding it out 12 hours a day? They’re not having a whole lot of fun. Is it even possible for them?’
Dale: Well, I think that’s the big issue. The days get crazy, and I do work a few different jobs. But I get up at 4:20 each morning. And I go up and go about my day, but I do allow myself now to have scheduled play breaks. And the reason being is, I found the harder I worked, the less happy I was. The more I achieved, the less… I just felt empty. I’ll be happier when I get a house… I’ll be happier when I buy this… It didn’t make me happy.
So if people are listening along at home, and you’ll be able to really resonate with this. If you’re listening and you’re like, well, maybe these items or these things I’m striving towards actually aren’t exciting me, or they’re not bringing happiness to my day, then I would recommend just trying this, try it for 10 days. That’s what I say to people is, I say, give this a go for 10 days. If it doesn’t work, you go back to doing what you do. You’ll have nothing to lose. And that’s why the people I coach online, it is just 20 minutes a day, and I set them a playful game activity where they might play it in a group, they might play it individually, they can do it at the office. It doesn’t require a lot of planning or anything like that. And they simply go about it. And I’ve found some really good results from it.
And people are generally happier that they can incorporate this into other work colleagues. I’ve had people take it home, and when their kids go to bed, they play with these games with their partner. So it’s a really nice interaction, instead of just going home and sitting on the couch and sitting on your phone or whatever, or just talking about a stressful day. You actually schedule playing with your partner, and it’s a really positive interaction to finish up the day.
James: Yeah, I think most people who say they don’t have time are burning hours a day on Netflix, or Instagram, or Facebook. And the time is there. Twenty minutes. I mean, let’s get real – 20 minutes?
And at my highest level of coaching, when I start with somebody on a diagnostic audit of what they’re up to, I ask them to rate out of 10, several factors. And a couple of them are fun and exercise. And it almost always comes back a low digit, like, you know, one or two or three. And I’ve actually assigned people, I want them to play PlayStation for an hour a day, or whatever, just to break them out of it. Or go and see a movie during the week, like they used to go and watch movies before they got all serious business mode.
And these days, I’ve got some fantastic results. One of them, Peter Moriarty, is now surfing, and he lost a whole stack of weight, and he looks chilled. And he’s just really geared his business up and leveraged it beautifully. And another one, Charley, he’s now cycling every day. And he’s just getting such tremendous results by taking that time to do what he absolutely loves. And he’s actually going to get back into competition.
I love these success stories. And you often think about business coaching, like what’s that even got to do with it? But I do contend that the happy, relaxed, healthy, fit person is in a better position to maneuver their business than the strung-out, overworked, exhausted, unhealthy heart-attack-waiting-to-happen type person. And I’ve been playing both roles before. I was that person working too hard and being a little bit unhealthy and feeling it, and just driving along with a bit of a caffeine boost here and there and not getting enough sleep.
Has sleep anything to do with it?
I haven’t heard you talk about sleep, but is that part of the thing? I mean, obviously, if you exercise, you’re probably going to sleep with more ease than if you’re not. But is it something you’ve done any research on? Or you have a passion for?
“The benefits of sleep are insane.”
Dale: Yeah, well, there’s a lot of evidence out there, and I’m sure you’re the same, that you really need six-plus hours every night. And people that say they don’t need that much sleep, well, I think there’s a small minority that they can get away with it. But the benefits of sleep are insane. And you sleep so much better when you have exercise, or you’ve done some form of activity. And unfortunately, these days, people don’t see the benefits of that. They’re like, well, that could be time I could be allocating to work.
But what will end up happening, if you just allocate 20 minutes a day, have a little fun activity where you’re doing a little bit of movement, you’re playing a little bit of game that might incorporate some teamwork, some socializing, so you’re getting all these other benefits. So yes, your sleep patterns will work better, you’ll probably be in a deeper sleep, which means when your day starts again, you’re fresher, you’re less stressed, and you’re ready to tackle the day.
How it affects business
So by all means, I really believe, and I’ve seen it with the clients that I work with, that if you just really stick to playing once a day, and you allocate this time, that all aspects of your life will come better. And what ends up happening is, your business becomes better and everything is just amazing. So for me, James, and you can speak probably highly of this more than anyone that since you’ve been surfing, how’s your business going?
James: It’s great. Actually, I worked out just at the end of our financial year, which is in the end of June, last year, I made more profit than the year before, and more revenue, but I actually worked 50% as much. So it was a massive milestone. And I’m always wondering, how far can I push it? And also, I’m surfing a lot better, just out of interest…
Dale: Well, that’s great, mate.
And there are times where I know I’m going to do more work. I’m not saying the goal is to work the least possible. I am saying we don’t have to grind and hustle and become a walking zombie. And that’s my sort of mission, I believe you can make significant change without having to compromise on your health. And, you know, I probably prefer eight hours’ sleep if anything, and I make that a priority. But it’s like the most amazing rejuvenation technique on the planet. It’s when your body heals, that’s when you can properly dream, it’s when you let go of tension. I think you can even lose weight sleeping, I read somewhere.
Dale: Wow, there you go.
Looking at the options
James: So that’s pretty cool. I’m still looking for some tangible examples. Like, let’s say that I’ve been sitting at a desk all day. And it’s time for my play. Like practically, what are my options? Am I going to walk out to the yard with a cricket bat and a ball? Or am I grabbing a bicycle or skipping rope? Like what do people actually do?
Dale: Well, and as I said, when you write down your three ideal examples, if they’re possible, you know, if you’re at your office, then probably going for a surf may not be something you can do for 20 minutes. But if you’re fortunate to have a common area with a pool table or table tennis table, or something like that, then by all means, go and play that.
But what I find is that a lot of people I work with are entrepreneurs or sole business owners that maybe work by themselves. And that’s where allocating a set aside game – so, these fitness games I call them, but they’re fitness play games. So really simple. A lot of them just use a dice, there’s a score sheet, really easy to keep track of, you can get a score. So then if you want to obviously, play the game, you’ve got a challenge.
Like you, when you’re out there surfing, James, it’s nice to know how far you’ve paddled or how many waves you’ve caught. So then next time, you can try and beat that. Like you just mentioned with your financial year, trying to obviously work less and be better off in the end. So very similar with your play games, or fitness movement games like I’ve created, is that they don’t require much, normally, just a dice, a little bit of space, and you can go about applying them by yourself and get a score. So then the next time you go and play them, you’ve got something to challenge yourself. And if you want to play them by yourself, you can, or you can incorporate people in your office. And you can make it like a daily sort of routine, where at a certain time you all come into one area and you set time aside to play together. And then the social side of things come into it.
I don’t know if I really answered your question there. But I think there’s just so many benefits. So like, it’s, you know, for you talking about these things, just people listening to how positive your experience of surfing is and the people in the wave today when they clapped you in, these are things that you can get in your office by playing these little games. You don’t need to be outside. But you can all work together to get the benefits of playing exercise.
James: But I think the overwhelming majority of people listening to this show will be sitting at a desk somewhere in a quiet part of their house all by themselves. You know, one of the challenges we have in this business is isolation. And it is a real solo game in many ways. I mean, the rest of my team are in another country to start with. So we’re not playing exercise games at lunchtime, if you know what I mean.
Dale: I do, Yep.
James: It’s up to me. So normally, kids will be at school, and it’s just me or me and my wife at home. And I think most people listening to this, they’re just doing this thing by themselves. And that’s why my SuperFastBusiness membership has been such a great community, where they can come together. So they meet together in a virtual online space.
Dale: But that that’s exactly what I do. So it’s because people are isolated, and I’m like yourself, James, I’ve got my team is in the Philippines, which I’m sure yours is as well, and so I’m stuck at home by myself, majority of the time when I don’t have clients, or I’m not running workshops. So to have other like-minded people that, you know, I post a challenge, I say how to go about it. And then it’s really about keeping each other accountable, and going from it. If you are fortunate enough to work with other people, you can obviously play these games as a group. But at the end of the day, sometimes it is quite lonely, as you mentioned. And if you are part of a community like yours, or anybody else’s, then you really get in there, and you can still have those play benefits without being in person with these other people.
James: Yeah, I can just imagine how that’s going to wash when I was at the Mercedes-Benz dealership, saying, Okay, guys, let’s do a fitness challenge. I’d be laughed out of the building, you know, I’d be concerned about how they might feel about me.
So it’s such a challenge, I think. And I did go through this massive transformation. So that’s why I’m looking for actual practical things that people could do. Thankfully, you know, some people might be able to ride a horse or do a bike ride or whip down to the basketball court, or they’ve got a gym nearby or something, there will be things that you could do. I just wanted to really push you on the ropes a little bit for some of that.
Has it not worked?
Would you say there’s ever a chance that someone might not benefit from doing this? Have you ever seen it not work?
Dale: Some people, it’s like everything in life, you know, that some people, it may not work, or they may really lack the motivation. And then it’s probably the one area I’ve found that because I’m not actually able to be there and deliver these sessions to everybody in person that, yeah, some people find that tricky. But as a whole, I think we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible, and the games engaging. So people actually look forward to the new game, because it’s not like anything else they get. It’s not like going riding a horse. It’s not like going to the basketball stadium. These are unique games that are sort of designed for people like myself, that work at home by myself, that we want to find different ways to get them engaged. And most entrepreneurs are pretty competitive sort of people, so these games are sort of aimed at that. So I think that they’ve worked pretty well, I’d say probably 90% of the time, we’ve got some really good results. And the other 10% is just generally because of the isolation, or that’s what we’ve come and put it down to.
James: Do you rank the players against each other on the app?
Dale: No, we don’t do that. I used to do CrossFit, and that is one thing I really despised about the whole thing, that you would do a workout and then you’d get a grading, you’d all get a ranking. Our games are not about that. If anything, it’s about improving yourself, so you can record your own score. And then next time we play that game, you’ve got like a benchmark to try and beat yourself. It’s not a competition or going about who’s the best. That’s definitely not the way I go about play.
James: Can you share a couple of examples that you’ve seen where people have started it and been surprised by the results?
Dale: Yeah, so I’ve got, I’ve got a guy in New Zealand. I knew him before he started, and he was working massive hours and everything like that. And I sort of used the example before, but once the kids would go to bed at night, he would whip out the game that we played for the day, and he would play it with his partner. And what ended up happening was, instead of, as I said, sitting at home, on the couch, tired after a big day, they would have this 20-minute positive interaction. And it really changed their communication and their outlook on everything. And since then, the wife’s gone and started going back to the gym. And their relationship has really benefited from that. So little wins like that. I’ve had other clients have lost weight.
And what it is is, it’s just a really simple way that anybody can start out. It’s not allocating a big 45-minute or hour fitness session where general population that is not fit enough, they’re going to really struggle. Whereas with these gaming, you go at your own pace, and you know, you don’t feel threatened or anything like that, because there’s no mirrors, there’s no guys in singlets or anything like that. So it’s a nice easy, non-threatening way to get started. And it can really lead anywhere you want, you can play this games for five minutes at the start, if you want, or you can go for the 20 minutes, like we recommend.
But yeah, particularly a couple, that’s probably the biggest highlight I’ve seen so far. And that’s why I recommend, if you are fortunate enough to, you know, have a partner at home or work with somebody, it’s always a great thing to interact with each other.
James: Yeah, that sounds really cool. Now, I imagine when you did your physical education training, there was all sorts of science behind this. Have you continued your education since you left the school system?
Dale: So, since leaving the school system, I suppose my education has been in starting a number of little businesses. So I’ve created a number of little apps, boot camps. So I’ve gone off and studied to be like a personal trainer, and done research there. And then really, with play, it’s just been a lot of reading. So for people out there, if you want to really get stuck in and the one book that’s really hit on it for me is the book called Play by Dr. Stuart Brown, and that just goes, the benefits of play are just outrageous. Like, I already sort of knew this, James, from, obviously being a schoolteacher and seeing kids play all day. But it wasn’t till I read that book, and I’m like, wow, we need to continue this our full life. So I haven’t done any formal study on it mate, but a lot of reading, and like most of us learn, you know, through podcasts, reading, videos and so forth.
James: So, just in in finishing, if I’ve got this right, you’re advocating that 20 minutes of play each day, combined with some sort of exercise and having some gratitude and doing some kindness that you schedule into your routine is going to make you a happier, healthier individual. If the whole planet did this, maybe there’d be less war, right?
“Items and status aren’t going to make you happy.”
Dale: Yeah, well, and this has just come from, you know, my personal research and going through highs and lows of life and striving to be happy. And figuring out that, you know, items and status, the things aren’t going to make you happy. But actually working on yourself and scheduling time each day is the way that you’re going to achieve that. So if people are out there, they really don’t have anything to lose, you know? If you’d like to check out our programming, go to Jugar.life. And obviously that’s where we take recommendations and we go from there and so forth.
But my biggest advice, James, is when people write down on the list of three things they love doing, start doing that. Do that for a week, 10 days, and your outlook will dramatically change. And if you can add in the gratitude and kindness as well, the recipe is going to be amazing.
James: Dale, I can hear your positive enthusiasm and your character come through the tone in your voice, and it’s definitely working for you. And I just want to thank you for coming along and sharing this information. I take fun and play and exercise really seriously in all of the help that I’m doing with business owners. That’s why I want to create a library of resources and spread the message. So I appreciate you coming and sharing this so generously.
Dale: No worries, James, thanks for having me on, mate. I really appreciate your time.
James: All right, that was Dale Sidebottom from Energetic.education. He’s got an app you can go and grab, Jugar.life, and check it out. Let me know if it’s been working for you.
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