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“Competitive and has an insatiable desire to win”, Rob Butler of Naturally Slim and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

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“Competitive and has an insatiable desire to win”, Rob Butler of Naturally Slim and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Apr 12, 2021
Thrive Global « Back to The Skinny

Thrive Global: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory? What or who inspired you to pursue your career?

Rob Butler: Now, I don’t want to be cliché, but I would have to say my dad has inspired me throughout my career. This is primarily based on his love of sports, as he instilled an insatiable desire in me to put the work in, to compete, and to win. His philosophy was that if you worked harder than everyone else, it would overcome any God-given talent gaps.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Once again, I’d have to say my dad and my mom. Together, they provided a foundational structure at an early age that instilled a very strong work ethic and the desire to win in everything I undertook.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I’ll share something funny, as it is counter-intuitive to what I grew up with! My biggest mistake was “seriously coasting” at one point early in my career. I didn’t put the time in, I cut corners, and I was very distracted. During this time, I went from a top ranked manager to bottom, and it was 100% correlated to the time I was putting into the job.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

The advice I would give to a young person looking to follow in my footsteps is to play the cards you get. You have to play them as best you can versus yearning to get a new hand dealt. Over the course of your career, circumstances will always be difficult, you have to make them irrelevant and win with the hand you are dealt.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you?

Absolutely! The book “Unbroken” made a significant impact on me. It is the true story of the life of Louis Zamperini, a classic and inspirational story about someone who was dealt “horrific cards.” He was captured by the Japanese during World War II and he overcame insurmountable odds to survive in gruesome prisoner of war camps.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

My favorite life lesson quote is: Adversity is inevitable; stress is optional.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

As the CEO of Naturally Slim, it’s an honor to be helping people build resiliency and stronger immunity to survive the pandemic, while also improving their mental and emotional outlook on life.

Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Good, sustainable habits that stick are critical to our success because they last a lifetime, instead of the emotional highs that fizzle over time from quick actions. For example, diets around the new year are fads and are mostly accelerated on an emotional high brought on by the desire for a fresh start, but they rarely last.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

My most important habit I’ve honed over the years is to take time to think. Most people are bombarded with meetings, emails, texts, slack, zoom etc. That’s why I have always set aside time to “think” alone and in quiet during the business day. I believe “you are what you think,” and that’s why you need to build your thinking skills to be successful.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop a healthy habit is to break it down into small steps, practice consistently, link it to already established habits — like how flossing links to brushing — and stay connected to the big WHY behind your habit. If you connect your habit to your most deeply held values, you’re more likely to hang onto it in the face of daily distractions. Now, when it comes to unhealthy habits, look for healthier ones to replace them, and make sure they are equally as satisfying. If you eat cookies to de-stress, carrots probably won’t cut it — but maybe daily walks with a friend or time with family and friends will.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each. Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

For mindful eating, I’d say to tune into your hunger and satisfaction cues, savor the taste of your food and you’ll be more likely eat less and enjoy the food more. Also, focus on the foods that are more filling — fruits, vegetables, whole grains — that way you’ll be managing calories for a healthy weight with the bonus benefit of foods that reduce risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Now, to build habits for regular physical activity, first think of where you are in your journey. If you’re new to activity, build it up in short bouts, choosing activities that work for your goals and preferences — whether that’s to increase your energy, reduce stress, improve your strength, or just perform everyday functional activities with confidence — and keep it relevant. If you’re already active, stretching and core work will balance out what you’re already doing. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to just get up and move more during the day to lower the health risks associated with all of the sitting we do every day.

Research shows that sleep deprivation increases your risk for diabetes and high blood pressure and reduces your immunity. So, to build adequate sleep and renewal habits, it can be as easy as going to bed one hour earlier than you usually do and aim for the recommended 7–8 hours a night. Also, find ways to regenerate — go out in nature, journal, practice meditation — do the things that let you connect with that larger perspective.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each. Healthy Eating, Regular Physical Activity, Adequate Rest/Renewal

For healthy eating, I don’t think that there are good or bad foods, but it’s important to be mindful of how sugar and alcohol can ultimately sap your energy and impact the quality of your output.

Studies show exercise protects memory and improves thinking, with as little as 120 minutes per week. So, just taking a 25-minute walk 5 times a week is a great physical habit to form.

Finally, for rest and renewal, consider sleep deprivation impacts memory and mood, which in turn, impacts your ability to perform under pressure. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine later in the day are two ways to improve both the quantity and quality of your sleep so you can perform better at work or in sports. Besides rest, it’s critical to create a space in your day/week — for quiet, reflection, introspection — and see how creativity/productivity arise after.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I’d say to practice more mindful eating, setting time aside to get outside and take walks and to limit intake of alcohol and caffeine later in the day to improve sleep.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

It all comes back to the same three habits — healthy eating, regular physical activity and rest/renewal with an added factor — that’s mindfulness. Mindful eating, mindful movement and even meditation are all practices in focus. The more you are actually present for these /other activities throughout your day, the more you strengthen your brain’s ability to focus — and you can call on that skill when you need it– and in fact becomes more automatic, through practice, on its own.

The bottom line is that healthy eating, active lifestyle and sleep all work in synergy to improve wellness, performance and focus. Together, they all optimize mind-body health, fuel physical and mental performance and provides the ongoing energy you need for focus and concentration. One thing to add is that the habit of thinking brings you into these practices — keep it curious and compassionate. It isn’t about practicing any habit to perfection, it’s about making progress, step and step, learning from mistakes and growing in the process. That is what makes it not just a habit, but a resilient habit.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

The way I achieve the state of flow, and how you can to, is to take time to really think and build thinking skillsets, assume there will be adversity and tough circumstances in every endeavor, develop empathy muscles and realize there are always two sides to the story and people interpret messages differently, and to laugh and have a sense of humor.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be?

This may be self-promotional, but I truly believe that having people try the Naturally Slim program will bring the most good to the greatest number of people. It improves a person’s holistic health and teaches them the skills they need to be successful in anything they do.

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