I’ve never been one for rules. Spartan breaks societal rules daily (one being that we should aim to be comfortable). We are a community that does what others don’t. We go above and beyond, seeking discomfort while others do the bare minimum. This is the kind of rule breaking that I encourage.
There are some rules, however, that we should live by because they elevate us. These 15 rules are simple, yet powerful. Adhering to them quietly keeps you above the fray in every facet of life, from business to parenting to your health (and so much more).
Rule #1: Say Thank You
It’s easy. It takes less than 1 second, and it matters to the people around you. Whether it’s someone on your team, your spouse, or the person at the store that bags your groceries, take a moment to say thank you.
Rule #2: Don’t Forget the H20
If there’s one thing you can do daily for your body to help it function properly, it's hydrating. Forget the single-use plastic bottles. Buy a good water bottle, fill it with H20, and never let it out of your sight.
Rule #3: Always Take the Stairs
You could say that my Spartan journey began with a staircase. Back when I worked on Wall Street, I ran into a guy doing barbell lifts up and down the stairs. It caught my attention. He asked if I wanted to join him and before I knew it, I was hitting the stairs with him. From that moment, my interest in fitness skyrocketed, and I learned that great ideas come when you move your body. So, yeah, I’ll take the stairs whenever I can — and you should, too.
Rule #4: Look People in the Eye
Checking your phone is tempting when you're having a conversation — especially when you're slammed with work — but eye contact is the best way to tell someone that you’re listening. Put the device down, keep your head up, and show some respect and attention.
Rule #5: On Time Is Late — and Early Is on Time
Time is one of the worst things that you can steal from someone. Show up early, and be ready to work when you get there. It’s that simple.
Rule #6: Order for a Friend
Meeting someone for lunch or coffee? Order for them before they get there. That way you’re ready to dive into whatever you’re working on and can spend less time waiting.
Rule #7: Your Barber Always Knows More Than You. Ask Questions.
Think about it: Your barber or hairstylist sees interesting people every day. They hear it all. Instead of talking the next time you’re sitting in the chair, ask questions. You’ll learn a lot. I always do.
Rule #8: Never Be Afraid to Ask for Clarification
Don’t leave a conversation or a meeting not knowing what was just said. If you missed something or don’t understand, ask for clarification. It saves you the time and energy required to circle back later.
Rule #9: Be the Last One to Board the Plane__
First of all, there’s typically other seats available, besides just the one you’ve been assigned (especially on international flights). Head in last and snag one of the extra seats, rather than the middle seat that’s on your ticket. More importantly, who wants to spend an extra 30 to 50 minutes sitting? Not a Spartan.
Rule #10: Teach Your Kids Basic Manners
Bratty kids are the worst. They don’t say please or thank you, they interrupt, and they expect others to wait on them hand and foot. Teach your kids the basics when it comes to manners: Say please and thank you, clear your own plate, make your bed, and look someone in the eye when you meet them. Easy, but extraordinarily important.
Rule #11: Don’t Ever Let Weather Be the Reason You Skip a Workout
Rain? Ice? Snow? Sleet? Wind? None of those are excuses to skip a workout. Instead, think of inclement weather as nature’s gift, a free obstacle that will build resilience and mental grit.
Rule #12: Admit When You F*** Up, and Then Apologize
It’s not always easy to say the following two words: I’m sorry. But it IS necessary. Biting back an apology to save your ego just isn’t worth it. When you f*** up, you say sorry. Simple as that.
Rule #13: Return a Favor
If you’ve called in a favor from someone, pay them back with two of your own. They may never ask to cash in on what’s owed to them, but it’s always good practice to do something in kind, and with positive intent. When someone takes care of you, you take care of them.
Rule #14: Meet in Person Whenever You Can
I know that technology has made virtual meetings easy — and we're in an extremely strange time in history — but nothing beats an in-person meeting. You can learn a lot from the energy in the room, and showing up in person always sends a good message. It's worth the extra effort.
Rule #15a: Have a Great Story to Tell
I’ve had some crazy stuff happen in my life. As a result, I have some pretty incredible stories in my back pocket. I’ve learned that people connect to a story. It's how our brains are wired. A good story can save you from any awkward moment, which brings me to...
Rule #15b: Do Something Crazy Enough to Make Sure You Have a Great Story
You won’t be able to live by Rule #15a if you stay at home and sit on your couch. Make sure that your life includes an experience that’s out of the ordinary and awesome. Get out of your comfort zone and do something wild.