When Matt Cunliffe turned 34, he noticed something remarkable. The Mortgage Choice franchisee felt younger than he did the previous year – something he attributes to CrossFit. While high intensity gym training may not be everybody’s cup of tea, Cunliffe said CrossFit has been a game changer in the way he functions both in his personal life and in the way he runs his business.
MPA spoke with the Brisbane broker about the importance of staying fit within the demanding world of mortgage broking and why regular exercise is now a non-negotiable in his day.
Growing muscles and building business
Finding time to exercise can be a challenge for any small business owner, but it can also be a catalyst for growth. According to Cunliffe, both his performance and his persona improved dramatically once he built CrossFit into his day as a “non-negotiable.”
“The need to have fitness within the day is imperative for keeping the brain functioning,” he said.
But how did he make this commitment one that was unbreakable?
“It’s literally in my calendar,” he said.
He creates blocks of time every day devoted purely to physical fitness. He doesn’t always stick with the same time each day, but changes things around to avoid blacklisting himself and others at set times.
“Once the routine is in place, from a personal side of things, it becomes easy to keep,” he said.
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You aren’t going to upset anyone
Broking being such a customer-focused profession, it can be challenging not to get caught up in the rhythm of the day and continue working through any scheduled breaks – something Cunliffe has fallen foul to a few times. But mindset is the best antidote to this, he said.
“Once you get past the fact that taking an hour and a half out of the day for yourself isn’t going to upset anybody it’s much easier to keep it going,” he said.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t answer your emails for an hour and a half people aren’t going to hate you. If you’re open and honest and explain to people I’m going to work my ass off for you but I do take time off four out of seven days of the week, people aren’t going to ask you to stop doing that.”
Cunliffe’s wife now does CrossFit at the same gym; the couple tag-teaming the kids to make it work for them.
He also encourages his team to take time out of their calendar to exercise regularly too.
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Tips for improving work/life balance
To brokers who want to improve their fitness and work/life balance, Cunliffe offers some simple advice.
“Hire staff,” he said. “Even taking on a virtual assistant can be a game changer - you just need to put the time into training them.”
Spending money on someone taking away some of your workload so that you can focus on the things in your business that make you money and the things that improve you personally is money well-spent, he said.