Hailing from London in the United Kingdom, William Clegg is a well-respected mindfulness and wellness trainer and exercise scientist.
When William was a child, he found that he had a propensity for athletics. While in school, he engaged in many sports and physical activities, including tennis, squash, and track and field. Upon entering university to study exercise science, he came across a bulletin advertising the institution’s gymnastics association and decided to give it a shot. After a single introductory training session, he fell in love with the sport and practiced it throughout his university years, even competing in a few meets organized by the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUSC)—the governing body of all amateur post-secondary athletics in the Great Britain. Although he never won a spot on the podium during these competitions, William has maintained an avid interest in gymnastics ever since, occasionally dusting off his leotard, limbering up, and practicing some fundamentals. William Clegg graduated with a degree in exercise science in the early 1980s.
Upon entering the professional world, William took a series a of odd jobs to support himself, all with an eye to one day achieving his dream of becoming a professional mindfulness and wellness trainer. Eventually, after obtaining the necessary licensing and saving enough startup money, he opened his own mindfulness and wellness consulting practice. For more than 20 years now, William Clegg has offered his services counselling people on matters of diet, exercise, and all areas pertaining to physical health. William has also integrated elements of mental health and wellness into his work with his clientele over the years, strenuously advocating that psychological factors be given the same weighty consideration as biological and biochemical factors. He feels that once all the research data is taken into account, it cannot be understated how important mental health is to personal and physical fitness, and how inextricably linked it is to the achievement of overall well-being.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I’ve always been interested in physical fitness. I suppose the sports I played as a youth really mainly contributed to that. My interest in mental health came later on, as I read certain texts while in university. Somewhere along the way—in my early twenties, I think—I had the idea to combine the two aspects and open a consulting firm that deals with a unified practice of overall health. So, to answer your question, I suppose the idea for my business came to me gradually, as I became more informed about the connection between physical health and mental wellness.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day begins with a little ritual of reminding myself about all the good people and things in my life and giving thanks for them. I believe that is a very important exercise, and it helps me to start the day off right. After that, I eat breakfast, stretch, and then review my calendar to see what lies ahead of me. If it’s a weekday, I’ll then head into my practice and begin taking appointments. If it’s a weekend, I’ll often spend time with family and friends, or engage in some unstructured free time. I love unstructured free time—it’s when my best ideas come to me.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m a big believer in visualization. Somehow, I think taking a few moments to envision the desired end result of an idea that I intend to implement actually helps to make it a reality. Some people might call that New Age hokum, but I believe it is grounded in reality because it helps me to clarify what the goal I’m aiming for is. From there, I can work backwards to figure out how best to accomplish it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Mindfulness is finally emerging from the fringe outskirts of healthcare and gaining recognition as a crucial element to overall well-being. It has taken decades for the medical establishment to warm up to it, but it is happening now in an undeniable way. That excites me more than anything else. I think practicing mindfulness will help so many more people now that it is mainstream.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Productive? Well, I find that putting my smartphone away during office hours greatly reduces the amount of time I spend on frivolous pursuits. That probably increases my productivity more than I realize. I will admit to checking it during lunch, though.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to stretch more. I wish I had begun a thorough stretching regimen in my mid-to-late teenage years—back when I was playing tennis and squash. I think it would have made me a much better athlete by the time I started practicing gymnastics competitively in university, and rewarded me with a greater range of motion later in life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Simone Biles is a more impressive athlete than Usain Bolt.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Begin every morning by acknowledging what is good in your life and being grateful. Starting the day by reminding yourself of all the positive things going for you will temper your attitude and cause you to look at things from a hopeful perspective. Ultimately, it increases productivity, too.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think just being empathetic and understanding with my clients has yielded the best results. It’s not hard to understand why. People seek out my services because they feel unhealthy in some way, and hence they feel a bit vulnerable, and sometimes ashamed. Taking the approach of a heartless drill sergeant is not helpful with these people. You have to listen to them in order to figure out how to really solve their problems. I think this approach has helped me to grow my practice over the years—actually, I know it has, because I get new referrals from existing clients all the time who cite it as the number one reason they decided to seek me out.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early in my career, I didn’t look after the business side of my consulting practice as well as a I should have. I will freely admit that I was more than a bit disorganized when it came to billings, accounting, keeping track of work expenses, and things of that nature. About two years into my practice, I received a very difficult lesson courtesy of the tax man. I overcame the problem by paying the fine, resolving to maintain better records, and sticking to that pledge. Sometimes a rude awakening can be ultimately beneficial, and for me, that was one of those times.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always thought that it would be great if someone could find a way to better monetize competitive gymnastics. I love watching gymnastics, and I know others would too, if only the sport could get some better exposure.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased tickets to a wonderful stage play in the West End. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, the theatre was one of the sectors hardest hit by the government-mandated public health shutdowns, so I felt it was important to give them some support. I also enjoyed the production immensely. I believe it’s important to incorporate aspects of culture and the fine arts into one’s life. That plays a role in mental health and overall well-being, too.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
This is a bit of a boring answer, but I would be lost without Google Calendar. I use it to keep track of all my client appointments, as well as various aspects of my personal life. I’m really bad about remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and things like that, so the little reminders from Google Calendar have come in very handy in that respect, as well.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I wholeheartedly recommend the book Mindfulness for Health: A Practical Guide to Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress and Restoring Wellbeing by Vidyamala Burch, Danny Penman, and J. Mark G. Williams. This work contains a series of simple exercises that anyone can easily incorporate into their day-to-day lives in order to improve their overall health. It focuses heavily on meditation and other ancient and well-established practices as non-pharmaceutical-based methods for treating anxiety, exhaustion, insomnia, and other unfortunate conditions. I’ve endorsed the book to many of my clients.
What is your favorite quote?
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” ― Mother Teresa
- By acknowledging and showing gratitude for all the good people and things in your life, you start the day off on a positive note, ultimately helping with productivity.
- Sometimes a rude awakening can be beneficial, but only if you learn your lesson and change your behaviour for the better.
- Stay grounded in the present. Be happy in the moment.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.