Free yourself, success will follow

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I believe in a holistic approach to athleticism and management. For me, the power of the mind-body connection has been as undeniable as the effectiveness of a diverse training regimen.

Too often athletes and managers embrace a known comfort zone. They run and ride the same route, hold the same meetings with agendas updated from last week, go through the same gym routine with the same weights, handle the same disciplinary issues again and again until a policy is developed to formalize their now mundane response.

If this is you, you’re losing fitness, effectiveness, and your mind is becoming stale.

Now wait George, I work hard and my mind’s engaged. That workout I do after work keeps me in shape and helps me unwind. I’m on the go all day long and hardly have enough hours to get everything done.

I’d be more impressed if I didn’t have higher expectations for you. Others can be mediocre or good, you can be great.

Never mistake activity for productivity.

So, here’s the secret; it’s the difference between a To Do list and measuring your progress. A To Do list is a treadmill that keeps turning…forever; items on the list, off the list, on, off…Measurements graph our progress on our journey from good to great, motivating us to keep going, change our course, and respond to challenges.

A few great measures are:

  • Use your favorite ride or run course as a test once a month. Perhaps you want to see if you can go faster within the same distance, or maybe you want to go a mile more. Document your progress so you can see how you’re doing and make plans to keep improving.
  • Invest in an employee satisfaction survey, or enter your workplace in a Best Places to Work competition, find the sample questionnaire and make sure you’re hitting all the bases. Measuring employee satisfaction makes it a business priority.
  • Explore new approaches to your athletic and professional life. Take risks and get outside of your comfort zone by venturing into the weight room, volunteering to chair a task force, or hiring a coach to take a look at your form. Commit to one outside-the-box effort a month, then make it a way of life.

Our minds and bodies adapt to routines, which is why we must change things up regularly. Remember, stale is stale, whether it feels like hard work or not. You’re capable of so much more.

People vs. Pods

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Let’s talk about headphones…

Training alone? Put em on! Crank up that sweaty soundtrack. I’m a fan who acutely understands music’s powerful influence on exercise.

Add people to the equation and you lose me.

When training with others or racing, headphones are great dividers. Your ‘leave me alone’ statement resonates, even though it may be unintentional.

The advent of ‘get off your butt and train for something’ apps has been awesome. Thousands have downloaded training plans and begun a healthier journey without the intimidation of joining a group. I get that. Comes a time, though, when the crutch must be hung up, when pods bow to people.

There’s a moment in every group training session or race when a comment is appropriate, even helpful. I’m not advocating a 10K long conversation, but there’s something comforting about briefly commiserating about that upcoming hill or encouraging someone to keep going strong.

Now, let’s talk about telephones…

My first suit and tie position was in marketing with United Way of Dutchess County. Our President and CEO was Jack Durkin, a master in schmoozing the powers-that-were to benefit a slew of local non-profits. My first day produced my first meeting with Jack. He’s about to make a point when we’re interrupted by a buzz on his phone.

“Mr. Durkin, Mr. Mack is on the phone.”

“Thanks, please tell him I’ll call him back, I’m in here with George. Also, no more interruptions please.”

I was more important to Jack Durkin than the President and CEO of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

The message was loud and clear; I mattered. I was pumped, honored, and engaged.

When you’re with an employee:

  • Don’t answer the phone – don’t even look at it if it rings.
  • If you have room set up a place to sit and talk separate from your desk.
  • Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact…

When you’re with an employee there is nothing more important than that person, right there, in front of you. If anything less than a fire distracts you, you’re simply being disrespectful, even if it is unintentional.

Like headphones in a race…