My Linkedin Post – Why I like to work with Endurance Sport athletes
No doubt you have seen some great Linkedin ‘Influencer’ posts go up in the last few weeks as the business network continues its journey to a publishing platform. With such a large database/network I think LinkedIn could really lead the way for ‘blogging’ in the next 12 months, so alongside my own application to be one of the exclusive 25,000 (initial) writers, I thought ‘My wall can be a start, lets do a trial run’. So I hope you enjoy, please share and most importantly comment – Am I damn wrong? Why would I bring sport into a business network?
Well I tell you why I would bring sport onto a business platform and I will do it in the half an hour lunch break allocated to me – keeping with the theme.
Many people think of endurance sport as a kind of torture. Why would you pay your hard-earned cash to go and flog yourself up & down a road (or mountain) for hours on end, only to suffer exhaustion, injury and let’s face it the risk of a heart attack? I mean I used to think that. Well as many of you know in the post-college days, you get that dream (or any job going) position and you sit at your desk and begin the 9-5 of the next 40 years. Whereas before your goals were the next exam or getting into a good university, or hopefully to just squeeze through the exams through late night cramming, now (generally) all you have to do is be competent, enthusiastic, and work hard. Yes you can have targets. That promotion, that big cheque, that new office, that power. But really come on, look in the mirror, is that really important? Certainly from all these facebook shared articles covering patients on their death beds, the one thing that really stood out is – why did I work so much?
Now of course I am not trying to stir the pot. We are talking about LinkedIn here. We want to be successful. We want to have a nice house, car, fancy dinners, provide for our family. I absolutely agree. But this is why, for at least some people, why endurance sport is so important.
I think it would not be rash to say that as human beings we have a primitive need for challenges – much of which manifests itself in sport. Endurance sport allows us – even in old age (you will have noted the 90 something years olds in marathons. In fact I meet a 87 year old 2 nights ago from the Boston marathon) – to exert ourselves, push ourselves, which means when we return to the office we are refreshed and focused.
Endurance sport also teaches you in your professional career some of these key attributes – and working with these people is extremely satisfying, both personally and professionally:
1. How to pick hard goals
When you set out to do endurance sport, by its very nature you are testing your limits or many athletes describe ‘redefining’ them. You are picking goals that you can barely imagine accomplishing. You are exploring a new world. You are learning new ways to train, plan, compete.
This whole outlook makes you a little hungrier than you were, and in the work place that makes you an extremely dedicated worker. Soon you will find yourself setting big goals, goals that your team, your boss might not even think possible. And of course as you aim for the stars you hit the moon. The hard goals are the ones to aim for.
You certainly won’t be lazy.
2. Pleasure in effort and success
Endurance racing means you have put huge amounts of effort for just ONE day – or two or three if you are a little more hardcore. You can’t compare competitive endurance racing with trying to be ‘fit’. Going to the gym to make yourself healthy is a long-term decision, this is a life goal. Training for a marathon might be part of that life goal, but if you are aiming for a PB all that effort/build-up/smashing sessions is for a dedicated, one goal.
You want your office team to focus on making a sales target? These are the men and women you want on your team.
3. The value of delayed fulfillment
Promotions don’t come easy. Many workers will start off confident, full of ideas and dedicated, but slowly as the months go by and they are not getting their ‘reward’, well you might receive a resignation.
Endurance athletes are not only used to effort but they ‘learn’ to get satisfaction from a long-term goal. They train for ‘moments’, i.e. crossing the finish line. They work for moments.
4. Thinking out of the box
Ever struggled up a mountain, alone, in the middle of the night, after running 76 miles? Yeah endurance athletes do that for fun. But naturally they do struggle and the long hours on the road mean they have to keep thinking about nutrition, pace, even how to stay motivated. That, ladies and gentlemen, is thinking outside of the box in difficult circumstances.
I will always remember the story I heard from a Deca Ironman (thats 10 Ironman triathlons in ten days people). One of the greatest ever runners, Yiannis Kouros, used to take perfume on his long-distance events and when after 2 days of running (this guy has the world record for 100 mile races) he used to stimulate his senses by smelling the fragrance. Basically he was so exhausted after 40 hours on his legs, he could only get his mind going by using the ‘scent of a woman’.
Puts things in perspective when you ask that interview question – ‘How have you conquered a difficult situation in work by thinking outside of the box’?
The community spirit in endurance sport is legendary. Yes for vast quantities of time you are on your own but as athletes you know what each & every one of you are going through. If someone gets injured, without doubt you will stop to help them, even sacrificing the event which had months in preparation.
Thats a worker I want on my team.
Right that is a quick overview on why I want to work with endurance athletes. I hope you enjoyed and please leave your comments below. Back to work!