RE/MAX CEO Adam Cantos On Self-Care

Marco Nunez, Freelance Copywriter at Trainual

Marco Nunez

November 22, 2021

You’d probably do just about anything to see your small business succeed – putting in 60+ hour workweeks, missing family functions, and pushing through burnout included.

But RE/MAX CEO Adam Cantos learned a long time ago that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your business. That’s how he was able to step into RE/MAX 20 years ago as an independent contractor and eventually become the real estate company’s CEO.

In his conversation with our CEO Chris Ronzio, Adam shared his insights into what it really means to practice self-care. And how taking care of yourself can better prepare you for the obstacles that come with being a business leader.

👉 Interested in hearing Adam’s full story? Check out his episode on Organize Chaos – available wherever you get your podcasts.

Focus on your brain

Just like how devices have operating systems (OS) that let you use apps or surf the web, our minds work similarly. Your Macbook uses macOS. This system allows you to use Safari, check your calendar, and run all the apps you need during the day. 

Similarly, your mind is the operating system that allows you to do what you do. It helps you run your business, hire employees, and speak with your customers. 

When your OS has spam, gets cluttered, or isn’t properly maintained, then those functions can slow significantly. That same idea also applies to our brains. In other words, overworking your mind can be quite detrimental to how you perform

The stress of having a cluttered mind can leave us exhausted and detached from our lives. But how do you set up your mind to do your best? 

According to Adam, “you’ve got to be happy as a human being.”

Adam Cantos, CEO of RE/MAX - sitting on steps with dogs

Happiness comes from a variety of sources. You’re happy when you find purpose in your life and work. You’re happy when you spend time with your friends and family. And you’re happy when you indulge in small pleasures.

Our minds excel when we’re happy – happiness strengthens our minds’ resilience to challenges and improves our problem-solving skills. And studies show that a happy worker is 13% more productive.

But with the demands of work and everyday life, it can be easy to neglect our minds and mental health. Consistently neglecting your self-care can lead to a downward spiral in your well-being – this spiral will negatively affect your work and daily life. 

So make sure you set aside the personal time you need to protect your mind and indulge in the activities that make you happy. Invest time in your relationships with friends and family, and save time for the hobbies that you enjoy.

Listen to your body

Adam also put emphasis on taking care of your physical health. Part of taking care of your mind includes taking care of your body. 

Your body’s health can directly affect how your mind functions. Regularly exercising can positively impact depression, anxiety, and stress levels. Making sure you’re hydrated can also affect your general mood and anxiety.

The reverse is also true. Mental issues can begin to negatively affect your body. Constantly being too stressed can cause you to develop headaches, muscle tension, and stomach pains. 

And as your mental and physical health continue to feed off each other, the negative effects of accumulated stress and poor physical well-being will build on top of each other. 

So, for Adam, taking care of your body comes down to the basics: are you exercising? Are you eating healthy and drinking water? How are you protecting your immune system?

But, most importantly, Adam emphasized the need for intentionality in taking care of your physical health. Meaning, you’re setting aside the time to actively concentrate on your body. 

Cooking a nutritious meal or working out can be time-consuming. And having to fit another 30-minute task into your busy day can be difficult. But the benefits of taking care of yourself outweigh the time spent.

Start simple. Try getting up earlier in the morning so you have time to make a more nutritious breakfast. Take a 15-minute walk in the evenings or early mornings. Try standing more at work or using a break during your workday to walk around. 

And if you become sick, make sure you give yourself some time off to rest. The last thing your body needs while fighting off the cold or flu is the added stressors of work.

Challenge your fears

The purpose of taking care of your body and mind is to prepare you for the difficulties that come with running your business. One obstacle you have to be prepared for is fear.

We’ve all felt fear, or what Adam dubs “the beast.” And as a small business leader, you probably feel fear more often than others. Your job involves having a lot of responsibility – for your business, your customers, and your employees.

That fear can stop you from taking chances or making changes that could improve your business. The failures that can come from taking risks are scary to think about, especially when you’re responsible for your employees’ jobs and income. 

Adam harkens the concept of fear to getting invited to a party – you think about going. It may even seem like a great idea at first. But then the fearful thoughts set in. 

What if no one at the party likes you? What if something embarrassing happens? “The beast” is there at the party – and not going sounds like a much better option. 

Adam’s advice? Learn to embrace fear and make it a challenge to conquer. Or as he put it, “are you going to go in and party with the beast?” 

Adam Cantos, CEO of RE/MAX - playing with dog

Maybe you’ve been wanting to implement a new procedure to help streamline processes at your business. But you’re afraid some employees might not like it. Or you’re afraid you might break a system that doesn’t need fixing. 

Recognize that feeling and turn it into a challenge. 

Start an open discussion with employees. See how they feel about the current procedures. Ask where they think the process could improve.

Give your new procedure a trial period to see how your business improves. And

invite your employees to give feedback. Have them fill out a survey or have a team meeting with an open discussion about the changed procedure. 

From that, you’ll gain valuable insight on how to change processes at your business. And if it seems like the changes won’t work, that’s okay. There’s no harm in trying out an idea.

Set yourself up for success

So, how can you start prioritizing your mental and physical well-being? And prepare your mind to handle the obstacles that come from running your business? Adam shared a few of his tips on how he centers himself to find success.

Journal

Adam writes down his thoughts and feelings every single day. Because being able to see your thoughts written down will help you feel accountable for what’s happening day-to-day. 

Daily journaling also helps with stress levels and self-reflection. So make time to write about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. If you’re not sure where to start, try writing down what you’re grateful for. Celebrating the small joys in your life provides a great mental boost.

Make a plan

Create a plan that will help you take care of your mental health, body, and business. Set goals for what you want to accomplish for each topic.

You want to make actionable goals. Meaning, you are doing something regularly to reach your goal. That way, you build good habits that will contribute to your well-being. 

For example, if your goal is to “eat healthy,” you need to break your goal down into actionable paths. Habits that you can do daily, like “make a nutritious breakfast.”

From there, think about how you’ll interact with obstacles. If your goal is to “exercise daily,” you need to plan for what you’ll do when your schedule makes your day too busy. Either make your exercise something easy like taking a short walk. Or make your goal more accessible, like “exercise 4 times a week.”

Schedule

Plan out your day as much as possible. From the moment you wake up, to the second your head hits your pillow at the end of the day. As a business leader, you have so many responsibilities that your time needs to be organized. That way, there is little room for distractions. 

And don’t just schedule time for work and personal goals. Schedule time for family, friends, and personal hobbies. Your time is a precious commodity, but scheduling time for your well-being involves the aspects of your life that bring you happiness.

As Adam learned, taking care of yourself is also taking care of the things you love most. And that includes your business. 

There is nothing better for your business than making sure you are in tip-top shape. You want to be ready for the challenges and stresses that come with running your business. So you can meet them head-on with a can-do attitude. 

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