It’s an uber-busy world we live in these days as our domain continually becomes more global and time zones less of an obstacle. Work/life seems less like a balance and more like an awkward blend, and we’re always pressed for time.
In The Office: We’re constantly responding to emails while bouncing from meeting to meeting or relentlessly attacking the latest fire drill. We eat from our desks; rarely take any breaks and then chant “Goose-fra-bah” all the way home as we battle thru traffic.
At Home: Kids are maniacs! They need more attention than a Jack Russell and if it’s not undivided attention, it won’t suffice. Combine that with dinner, dishes, bedtime stories, some quality time with the better half and before you know it… bedtime… repeat… repeat.
In this chaotic life it’s easy to unknowingly shrivel into task-oriented doing rather than results-oriented thinking. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality gets us by but doesn’t make us better. Ironically, all this nonstop activity leaves little time to stay in shape. And that could be killing us! According to one study, lack of exercise causes as many as 1 in 10 premature deaths around the world each year. My solution is just as paradoxical as the problem: slow down and start running. But the sheer thought of running for an hour on a weekend can be quite terrifying. So think less… in fact, don’t even think about running at all!
The greatest difficulty in a long run is cerebral because let’s face it… running is boring! Instead, focus those brain waves on what you’re not doing in the office rather than what you are doing on the trail. Here are 6 quick thoughts – one for every mile – that popped into my head during my last run in the sand:
Mile 1: Initial thought of the serene views of Brigantine Beach quickly overcome by the thought of running 6 miles – instantly making me feel tired.
Breakdown: Focusing on the end goal can be overwhelming at times; instead concentrate on the “quick wins” or baby steps needed to best achieve that goal beyond the horizon.
Mile 2: Keep brain occupied on anything but this run, let your body tackle that task. This is the point in the run where I decided to write this blog.
Breakdown: Exercising your brain through creative thought is a great way to stay sharp, uncover new solutions and increase efficiency. Not to mention, it’ll increase your workout results – this is one of the reasons why it’s good to run with music.
Mile 3: Just keep striding to the ½ way point, it’s easy to turn around early and still feel accomplished, but you can do better! Once you’re ½ way, all you have to do is run back.
Breakdown: Don’t be lazy and don’t settle. Partially achieving goals can be beneficial, but if the goal is 6 and you run 5.5 –guess what, you failed! Laziness is a secret ingredient for failure. Work Hard, Play Hard >>> simultaneously.
Mile 4: Finally made the turn and I can see the footsteps taken to get this far; perfect time for some self-reflection.
Breakdown: “Walking the walk” is a big part of leadership.There is a natural tendency to attribute all our successes to ourselves and all our failures to forces beyond our control; when in fact it’s our job to understand how our experiences shape the way we see the world. Ensure your actions are leaving a positive footprint.
Mile 5: Soldier On! By now the ankle is a bit sore; maybe even the knees and the lower back too. This mile, focus on embracing the suck!
Breakdown: Making the best of bad situations is what separates success from failure. Use this as an exercise for mental toughness and resiliency. Now it’s time to redeploy your thoughts back to the run, about how awful you feel and about how easy it would be to rest for just a few seconds. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, projects rarely go according to plan and the fog of war affects us all.
Mile 6: It’s the home stretch and everything is falling into place. No matter how tired you are, sprint the last 20 or 30 yards and finish this run faster than you started it.
Breakdown: You’ve heard this before, but the world is full of good starters, we need more good finishers. Quarters 1-3 in the office or the court required massive amounts of effort for success, don’t negate it all by failing to show up at crunch time in Q4 when your team needs you most.
Now get out there and Run Like Never Before, no one ever drowned from a little sweat. And follow me @airsomers – I’d be glad to run with you. Also, I’d love to hear feedback on your strategy to rack up the miles.
“Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow.” – Henry David Thoreau