Boot Camp Business:

Sarah Eisenman

Associate Design Director

Thursday, August 27, 2015

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I have a confession. When I started my workout training over a year ago, I didn’t exactly love it. Let’s be real... I hated it. I was the master procrastinator, filling my time with other very high priority engagements (watching multiple seasons of Mad Men, while eating a container of black raspberry chip ice cream). So, how did this hate for boot camp turn to love and a deeper understanding of self-discipline that helped fuel my career?

Well, first there were a few painstaking lessons I had to learn…

1. Baby steps, my friends (one tiny step at a time)

Baby steps to the gym, baby steps to 5 p.m. I quickly learned not to focus on the one and a half hours I was going to be spending in the gym. Instead, I began focusing on just the first step: yep, getting to the gym! The rest tends to follow, whether you like it or not. I started to apply this thinking to my approach in the office. On Monday morning when creating that long, daunting to-do list, I didn’t focus on every detail of each item. Instead, I realized I just had to get the dang list made! Next, while in the gym doing the dreaded countdown of sit-ups, instead of counting down from the unbearable number, I broke it down into increments of five. Eventually, I reached my goal before even realizing it. I also applied this to my Monday to-do list – starting with, and only focusing on, the first item until its completion, and then moving on. Breaking things down into tiny increments makes them attainable, and somehow tricked me into thinking, "Wow, the first five were easy. I'm sure the next 200 will be a breeze!"

2. No ifs, ands or buts (OK, maybe butts)

There is no good excuse for missing a workout. It’s about having a set schedule and, rain or shine, getting your butt there! There must be repetition in order for progress to be made. So, how did I take this lesson to the office? I refused to miss my standing meetings. Yes, you may be busy with other projects and those annoying standing meetings may not seem of high importance, but they do serve a greater purpose that only works if you are present. Project updates, team communication and status progression all get a gut check during these meetings and it's the regularity that keeps things running smoothly. It keeps small issues at bay and miscommunications from festering. Trim that fat away by following through!

3. Go ahead and celebrate! (Yes, I am fabulous. Thanks for noticing.)

With each accomplishment in the gym, whether it’s adding five more pounds a week to the weights, running an extra five minutes a day or tracking progress on the scale, I found that celebrating each milestone fueled me to not only push harder, but to exceed expectations and continuously raise my own bar. Each day, I'm competing with myself, only comparing to what I did the day before. This works in the office, too. Set aside time to celebrate your accomplishments (and maybe even brag a little). With each work accomplishment, reward yourself. Whether it's a 20-minute sunshine break, a lunch out with coworkers or an inspirational wandering through town. This will refuel and renew your energy, while allowing you time to reflect and reevaluate your goals for the next big project. Also, make a visual representation of your wins (OK, maybe not a gold star chart, but hey, why not?). This way, you can visually see your progress mounting and it will motivate you to keep your bar moving, fabulous you!

Yes, these are all easy practices that we often hear about, but it's much harder to put your money where your mouth is and put up or shut up. So as your newly appointed boot camp instructor, "Get out there and kick some ass!"

How do you whip your business practice into shape? Let us know on Twitter via @IntrinzicSays.