From the comments on my last article, 5 things you can do when you feel overwhelmed, the most popular thing to do were going for a run, followed by a cup of tea, flap about, write a list and play the ukulele (not necessarily in that order)!
Motivated by these positive comments on running, I decided to do a half marathon at the weekend. I should clarify at this point, that I’m not a great runner – think Labrador rather than Greyhound. But I am keen (Labrador again), and I do love a challenge.
During the long kilometres of the run, I had time to think, and several similarities between running and work came up:
1. Fuel up Having not yet mastered the art of running and drinking without choking, I had to stop a couple of times during the race to fuel up with water and isotonic drink, but ultimately it helped me go the distance, feel and perform better. In work, training and learning act as a fuel for performance, for the next steps and the inputs needed to keep delivering. Just like having to stop to fuel up, take time out for the training courses and learning periods.
2. Enjoy the moment. Along the run I saw the snow topped mountains, some lambs jumping, I could smell the fresh water of the lake. In work there may be opportunities arising which you can miss if you don’t look around. It is also important to maintain a perspective on what is going on so that you can enjoy the moment while not getting bogged down on the enormity of a task or challenge.
3. People want to support you. On every corner, from bridges and balconies, waving from buses, and popping out from attic windows, there were groups of people cheering and encouraging with ‘hop, hop, hop!’ People want to support, seek them out and let them help you. Encouragement will make you go faster (even when you think you can’t).
4. Steady yourself when the going gets tough. My legs were getting weak and shaky at around 17km, so I eased off a little and just focused on one kilometre at a time, even just one foot in front of the other. Doubts and painful times can threaten to derail efforts, but taking it steady and narrowing the focus can bridge the gap until it gets easier.
5. Keep going because you want to. I wanted to do this run because I want to stay healthy and active now and, in the future, and I like to push my limits from time to time. However, if I would have sensed along the way that my body wasn’t okay, then I would have listened to myself and have had no hesitation to stop. I often hear the phrase ‘never quit’ strongly advocated, whereas my view is keep going if you are doing what you want to do, but if you find you are on a track which is not what you expected or wanted, stop, rethink and change direction. Persist in the things you want to do, what feel right and what works for you. Tenacity is fantastic, as long as it is taking you in the right direction.
What activities have taught you the most about yourself, your work and your life? Please do share your experiences which have had the biggest influence on your approach to work, I would love to hear them.
©2019 Amy Jones
I am a certified and accredited Associate Executive Coach with the Academy of Executive Coaching.
I have over 20 years’ experience in Procurement/Supply Chain and Finance, and I now work full time in my own business as a Supply Chain / Procurement Consultant and Trainer and Coach.