The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Seven Secrets Move Workouts into the Workplace

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, May 29, 2017
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“Where do you get all your energy?” That’s a question many of us are asked as we finish leading an intense management retreat, conducting a training session, or keynoting a major conference. My answer, after I jokingly say, “Drugs!” is “Exercise”.

I’ve realized that some of the lessons learned in a physical fitness program are appropriate for our personal and professional growth and have also have application in the training room.

Cross train. It’s essential for continual improvement. We all get into our ruts, doing the same routines over and over again and wondering why we don’t see any improvement.The body (as well as the mind) slips into neutral. Cross-training challenges different parts of our physical structure. We have to learn a new way of holding weights, of balancing, of breathing. We gain a new appreciation for a different skill set.The parallels in organizational behavior are immediate.

Hydrate. The body demands water when it is being physically taxed. So too does the brain. Notice I didn’t say “coffee”.Just plain old clear water. Water might not be our favorite beverage but hydration actually helps our endurance. No wonder we want pitchers of water in our training rooms and by our desks!

Push beyond your barriers. There are two kinds of barriers; those imposed by others and those imposed by ourselves. The latter are the most restrictive.I finally took a spin class where I found myself on a stationery bike. One minute I was pedaling up Mt. Everest and the next, racing at breakneck speed down the mountain. I thought I would die. But I went back to prove to myself that my MIND can triumph over my body. No, I’m NOT going to challenge Lance Armstrong. My body DOES know its limits.But what a thrill to push beyond my own imposed barrier.

End performance anxiety. Walk into a gym and you see jocks who grunt as they lift huge weights and compete with their buddies for the most repetitions. Go to a class and you’ll see the double-stepping, dance-twirling footwork of some double-jointed exerciser. If you try that move, you’ll twist your knee and land in surgery.We are not built alike. While pushing beyond barriers, also know that each one of us has specific abilities. To demand that I hop and dance like the knee-torking guy in the front row is ludicrous. I am here to improve my body—not resemble theirs! We perform best when we bring our own special talents into the workplace.

Talk is cheating. At my gym, there are members who spend most of their time swapping war stories and giving updates on current sport matches. Instead of working out, they talk. And then, they’ll ALSO talk about how hard they worked out. I call that cheating. Stick to the task at hand. Action ALWAYS is louder than words.

Get a trainer. We can’t see our postures with free weights. We don’t know what different exercise might improve a specific problem area. And we don’t always stick to a regimen unless we’re accountable to someone besides ourselves. Call it a coach, an advisor, a mentor—whatever. But all of us can benefit from the advice and new eyes of someone outside of ourselves.

Celebrate your success. I admit: I despised exercise when I started.But I KNEW that I had to begin. I set a goal of 3 exercise times per week—30 minutes to start. Every time I exercised, I put a sticker in my appointment book. Yes—a fun sticker: animal, cartoon face, flower, you name it. Amazing but my appointment book began to blossom with crazy kid stickers. I could literally see progress every week. When beginning any new behavior, we all know that rewards are important. Stickers are cheap and visual. Whatever the reward, it’s the consistency of the giving that matters.

Workplace workouts—in the context of learning—can promise growth, stamina, productivity, AND ultimately profitable performance.

To hire Eileen McDargh as your workplace trainer/consultant call 949-496-8640.


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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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