Here’s a fun fact: I don’t love running.
I’ve competed in 13+ marathons, devote 5 or 6 days a week to running, and I average 6-10 miles per day. But I don’t actually enjoy it because the journey is grueling and some days it’s hard to push through. What I enjoy about running is the range of positive effects it has on my life, especially my career, which I’ll share more about today. Here are 4 ways running makes me a better consultant:
- Create everlasting rapport. The only thing better than running in Ireland (with the most amazing views of the islands and the sea) is running with a friend. I do this often with my colleagues in Cork. We step away from the office, go on a run, and come back refreshed from the time outside. I’ve built incredible bonds with teammates this way — holding each other accountable in running translates well to collaborating seamlessly on projects.
- Manage stress. Running increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical that helps strengthen the brain’s defense against stress. Using running as an outlet helps me be the best version of myself. I’m more patient with my kids, more considerate with others, more considerate with myself, and a better colleague.
- Practice discipline. What originally started as a hobby in college to give me a break from studying has turned into a core component of my life. At some point I stopped making plans to run and simply integrated it into my day to day. Ultimately, the goal is to build up that habit. There’s a myriad of ways to achieve this, like helping someone else run, running with friends and family, and my favorite, vocalizing the commitment. (When I tell people about an upcoming marathon or 5K, then I either have to follow through or suffer embarrassment. Works quite well!)
- Unlock creativity. Do you know what the hidden secret to problem-solving is? Nothing. Let me explain: a major part of my role at capSpire is problem-solving. There’s plenty of ways to help untangle a problem, like whiteboarding or joining forces with a teammate, but my secret weapon is the blank slate mind – the “nothingness” that appears once my running shoes hit the ground. I go for a jog, not even thinking about the solution, the clouds clearing from my head, and suddenly, halfway through my run, the solution reveals itself. This happens all the time and I’m continually amazed at how a meditative stream of consciousness can help produce elegant, creative solutions for my work.
Whether it’s running, swimming, biking, or another activity, I think most readers will see parallels between a physical exercise they love and the positive impact it has on their personal and professional life — what’s your outlet? And how has it changed you for the better? Feel free to share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.