3 business lessons I’ve learnt from exercise
Exercise keeps you healthy, but it can also provide business lessons. Here are some tips I’ve learnt from my preferred exercise. What’ve you learnt from yours?
First up, I’m far from a fitness freak.
Throughout my life I’ve dipped in and out of different types of exercise, sometimes taking long breaks in between. The only exercise I’ve seriously committed to since childhood is weightlifting … bars of Cadbury chocolate to my mouth.
Despite my rocky relationship with fitness, I know I’m at my best when exercise and I are consistently coupled. Everything improves: my concentration, sleep patterns, stress levels, eating habits, overall mood, productivity, motivation and confidence. Given I’m a solopreneur, it stands to reason if I’m performing at my best, so too is my business. Indeed, exercise doesn’t just help me perform better, it teaches me important business lessons too. Here are three of them.
Infusing a task with fun removes boredom and ‘chore-dom’
For someone who classifies ‘laps’ as dog-paddling (open-mouthed) in a vat of melted Easter Eggs, you might wonder how I do any exercise at all. Yet, at least twice a week I break into a glorious sweat doing Zumba (a type of funky dancing to awesome music). My ‘dance’ moves are similar to the thrashings of a dying, possessed carpet snake, but I don’t care, I love it! And best of all, it doesn’t feel like exercise at all, it just feels like fun.
If we make tedious or difficult business tasks fun, they’ll be a source of joy rather than frustration.
"Nearly every person in the class is fitter and faster than me … I’m constantly pushing myself to be better rather than coasting along in a daydream, imagining everyone’s a Toblerone."
In my case I’ve never enjoyed sales techniques like cold calling, which is why I promote my business through content marketing (i.e. writing articles like this one!). I love it because there’s no overt selling, I’m just sharing information that hopefully makes people’s lives easier and better.
Become better by hanging around your heroes
I currently do one early morning circuit class a week. Nearly every person in the class is fitter and faster than me. As a result I’m constantly pushing myself to do better rather than coasting along in a daydream, imagining everyone’s a Toblerone.
Hang around people who inspire you to be better. If it’s not possible to be physically near them, immerse yourself in their world. Read their blogs. Follow them on social media. Join their online conversations. Expose yourself to their excellence and it will inspire you to be even more brilliant.
Tenacity leads to heavenly habits
About a year ago I started using a Yoga App to help with newly-experienced lower back pain. It was amazing. I’d do one session a day and within a few days or even a few hours, my back would feel better.
However, as soon as the discomfort left, so too did my desire to stretch. The back pain would return, and reactively, I’d start doing yoga again.
I decided to commit to yoga for at least 10-15 minutes every single day for a month. At first it was a chore and some days I really had to push through, but eventually it became a habit. Nowadays I crave the physical and mental release of daily stretching and feel bad if I miss a session.
There are many important daily tasks that fall by the wayside, but if we do them regularly and tenaciously, they can become business-boosting habits.
So you see, aside from making us feel fitter and healthier, exercise teaches us many profound life and business lessons. Together, let’s all sweat our way to success!
What’s your preferred exercise? Has it taught you any life or business lessons?