I completed my first Adventure Race last weekend. Twenty five plus kilometres of running, mountain biking, orienteering and kayaking. To say it was a challenge is an understatement and the body was a bit worst for wear for a couple of days after too. Whilst I did get through it, after the race I was a little disappointed with my overall performance.
After having time to reflect though and looking through my preparation leading up to the race, I realised that I could not expect much more. You see like many of us my life is busy, especially when it comes to my business, and the first thing that gets sacrificed is exercise. The problem is sacrificing my training makes me less productive, less focussed and less healthy; all very good reasons to ensure I prioritise my training.
In reality, clients pay me to help them set goals or actions and ensure they achieve them through prioritising and staying on track. I do this in my own business so why should it be any different with important things in life like my training? What is important to you that you continue to sacrifice in your life and more than likely your business???
1. Establish your goal or what you are trying to achieve
It is important to have something to aim for, something to motivate you in to action. I have my race but you could have a financial sales target or to be able to take extended periods of leave without your business suffering. It doesn’t matter what it is but it needs to be important and desirable to you. Give yourself a timeframe to achieve it and don’t be scared to share it with others; your team, your friends, your peers. This will create accountability as the easiest person to negotiate with is yourself! These factors will make it easier to achieve and assess how well you have gone.
2. Set a plan
Once you have what you are aiming for you need to establish how you are going to get there. What resources do you need? Who needs to do what? What do you need to change or do more of?
In preparing properly for my next race I need to work out how many times per week that I need to train, the types of training I need to do, the equipment I need and what needs to be removed from my diary, delegated or reset in order for my training to happen. What do you need to do in your business?
Remember though a plan is not much without implementation. Revisit your plan regularly and assess your progress or have others, independent to you or your goal, help you to assess.
3. Sacrifices are required
There will be times in the lead up to my next race when I would prefer to watch TV than train, I may have niggles or small injuries but I must push on. In order to achieve your goal you will be required to sacrifice.
To become business fit you will need to sacrifice. Maybe it is running a lean team or maybe it is working that extra hour a day. Determine what you can do without, prioritise other aspects and maintain focus on what you set out to achieve. What could you sacrifice in your business?
4. Not everything will go your way
With anything we try to achieve in life, there are often setbacks. When training for my race I could have a bad run of weather preventing my training or I could incur an injury; generally set backs will be things outside of my control. It is the same with your business.
You could lose a key employee, your equipment could fail or you could simply have a lesser sales month. Whatever the reason it is a setback, that is all. Work out what you need to do or change to get past it and don’t give up. Another great reason to share your goals and progress with people you trust is that they can support you through setbacks.
5. Celebrate your wins
No matter how small, when we achieve a milestone or a win we need to recognise it and celebrate it so that we maintain our motivation or that of the people we have involved such as your team in your business.
Vary the way you celebrate and obviously make sure it is in line with the goal you are working towards. For instance if your goal is to reduce debt within your business then using the overdraft to fund a celebration or reward is not real helpful!
6. You need your recovery
I need to ensure I allow enough recovery time in between training sessions in order for my body to handle the load. Without recovery, soreness will creep in and more than likely the result will be injury. Likewise once I have achieved my goal and completed my race, I need to allow enough recovery time before trying again.
This is no different in your business. To be business fit you need to ensure you operate efficiently and effectively. This cannot be achieved without recovery. Once you have achieved your goal take some time before going again.
7. Start the process again!
Once I have completed a race, I look for my next physical challenge (after I celebrate and recover of course). Something else to work towards. It is the same in your business, once you have achieved what you were aiming for set another target to work on and go get it.
It is one thing for me to get through a race, but to complete it at the best level I possibly can and sustain that performance I need to keep up the process. Maintaining your business fitness is an ongoing commitment and an ongoing process but one that can have very worthwhile rewards and fulfilment.