At Cerno, we dish on a lot of data, share a lot of insight, and occasionally even wax philosophical about how the intersection of adventure and professional performance leads to a life without limits. But, with minds set on high levels of achievement, we’re about much more than talking the talk. We love working with individuals who walk the talk and bring our mission to life. There is no shortage of inspiring individuals who showcase what it means to rock the Cerno lifestyle, so we want to bring those people to you. Here we learn how a healthy lifestyle helps support a healthy business.
This is Robin Ihnfeldt, President and CEO of General Engineering and Research. Through her entirely self-funded company she’s worked with nanomaterials to create technologies that could help cure certain types of cancer, make hydrogen-run cars a possibility, and help out the Department of Defense. On top of that, she’s run Ironmans, 50-mile races and 100-mile races. To her, there’s no way one branch of her life could be successful without the others.
“Being physically strong gives you that stamina to do those late nights when you have deadlines or I’ll be doing these experiments, and with some of them if I stop in the middle it’ll ruin my data,” she said. “You can’t do those things if you’re not healthy. To be able to achieve these goals you can’t just have one or the other you have to have this whole well-rounded outlook on things.”
The Limitless Mindset
Robin holds a PhD in chemical engineering, and developed a special interest in nanomaterials when she realized the many industries she could span working with them. But of course, her love for her business runs deeper than that, and feeds into the kind of mental habits that make for a life without limits.
“When people tell you you can’t do something, you are one of two people, you either hang your head and believe them or you get fire in your belly and it makes you more motivated to go out there and make it happen,” she said. “I’m the fire in your belly kind of girl.”
In that same vein, defying the odds and proving possibilities keeps her motivated when it gets tough. “The unique part about nanomaterials is that they don’t often behave according to naturally known physical phenomena. Every idea I’ve had I’ve had 20 people, experts in the area tell me that’s never going to work and I go into the lab and I can make it work. It’s almost like these little miracles happen so it’s about seeing that and being able to create something that nobody ever thought could be done, and changing people’s perspective,” she said.
Running a company with 7 employees and a lot of big, important projects certainly fills up her schedule, but it doesn’t derail her from prioritizing fitness in her life, because she knows what suffers when that area of her life slides. In fact, she bikes 20 miles to work and 20 back at the end of the day to make sure she gets her heart pumping, and even installed a shower at the lab to encourage her employees to do the same.
“I think the strength that you have physically translates into your stamina. Running a business is kind of an endurance event, and you have to survive the valleys,” she said. “If you can handle it physically, you can handle it emotionally and make good decisions and not get freaked out with every little thing. It’s easy to lose your perspective if you get stuck in your work and that’s all you do. That’s why I think it’s so important to incorporate exercise and other challenges to keep your perspective,” Robin said.
To rock it out like Robin, it’s all about priorities. Make time where you don’t think you have any, get up an hour earlier to facilitate habits that will help you achieve more, and do those things every day. Understand deeply that pushing your personal limits, on all fronts, is intricately connected to success and make a concerted effort to bring a healthy amount of adventure into your life to help fuel and bolster your success. Who knows? When you shift your priorities, you might just find yourself in our next Limitless feature.
Know someone who should be featured in Cerno’s Limitless Profiles? Nominate them now.