Marathons are all about endurance, the ability to keep going for a long time in the midst of difficult conditions. We’ve all needed the endurance to work and live through the pandemic. The endurance to adapt, run a business, and overcome unexpected challenges. You have to pace yourself again and again. We still do. How can we keep doing all this?
From the get go, I saw my clients rise to the occasion and tackle their most urgent challenges--figuring out how to keep everyone safe, transitioning to virtual workspaces, experimenting with hybrid work models. I also saw them learn and develop new skills. They’ve kept going.
We all need the stamina to keep going. One way to build stamina is through exercise. My sports training already had taught me how to endure, so I knew how important it was to keep up with my training regimen. And I did it with support from my coach, Rob at Colburn Concepts http://colburnbodyconcepts.com, with the schedule he created for me this last year in https://www.trainingpeaks.com. My focus was indoor cycling, outside runs, some swims, yoga, weights, and some surfing jumps. The focus and commitment learned from exercise can translate to other areas of life.
Another way is meditation. My Headspace https://www.headspace.com meditation training of 20 minute a day also helped me stay grounded and stay the course. A few of the series I did (level I, II and III) were dealing with change, creativity, focus, and prioritizing.
Some research has even shown that music can have positive effects on your heart (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948383/). Using music throughout the year and into 2021 was central to motivating me: Spotify, Apple Music, and Fit Radio all served as inspiration, upping my energy and helping me stay the course.
Staying the Course
One of the most challenging aspects of this last year for clients has been how to keep digging deeper internally to stay the course.
While running marathons over the last years I would find it hard to keep going around the 19th to 20th mile. I would hit a wall and would have to come up with ways to keep going.
This last year has very much felt that way. We are not out of the water yet with COVID-19, even with vaccines. For many, 2020 and 2021 have meant the loss of loved ones and coping with big changes at work and at home. These experiences are changing us.
Clients are emerging from this pandemic year changed as well. They worked hard and had to mine energy, spirit, and endurance to make it through. Some were really successful at creating, designing, and implementing new business programs that were and are successful and profitable.
Others made it a mission to ensure their employees had the support they needed and offered new work/life balance options, with better ways to support those dealing with sickness and loss. In fact, some clients learned to work together with even more tolerance and understanding, and through the crisis, built more alignment and empathy.
Reaching out for help when you need it is vital. Some clients have needed a little extra support periodically. I’ve added calls with a few key clients. I’ve also helped them strategize on next steps, next projects and helped them come up with new ways to deliver projects. Different things have kept them going: family, wanting to help, excitement about a specific program or creating new products, strengthening there internal partnerships with peers, and external partnerships with clients.
What kept you going last year, and what is keeping you going this year?
Using Setbacks To Propel You into the Future
Persisting in the face of setbacks is key. Runner Sara Hall’s inspiring story of perseverance is told in the New York Times article She Turned 2020 Misery into a Breakthrough https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/26/opinion/Sara-Hall-marathon-runner-united-states.html?action=click&module=card&pageType=theWeekenderLink The article talks about long-term benefits that can come from losing. It also talks about using sports to fuel your ambition. Better yet, it talks about how we are all the same, all equal, all human. And that became so clear last year with the pandemic.
Like Sara Hall said: “No matter your speed and regardless of your gender, there’s something universal and authentic about the look of determination when you’re trying your best.”
That is exactly what it feels like in your last marathon miles. This is what it feels like when you are trying to rebuild from the ground up or have to reinvent your organization, change strategy, and adapt to this complex and changing world.
I think my clients would agree with Sara Hall’s insight: “The pandemic drew something out of me I didn’t know I had.”
Moving Out of Our Comfort Zones
Endurance has been the name of the game since the pandemic started. It’s about pushing past what’s comfortable, boosting confidence and feelings of well-being, enhancing the mind and body connection, and building physical endurance to support emotional resilience. It’s also about being capable of more than we think we can handle.
2021 for me means, hopefully, a gradual increase in training and bringing more swimming into my practice soon. It also means becoming savvy about virtual environments and continuing to adapt to this complex, wonderful world.
What did the pandemic draw from you? How are you now different? How is that going to inform your future? What will keep you going at mile 19: music, dancing, friends, family, support, a new project, a new course, sport... or…?
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