Fit for Purpose: Transfer Your Workout Skills to the Workplace

You don’t need us to tell you that working out is good for you. But do you know how much it can benefit your career too?

The skills that you naturally employ in your fitness routines are also some of the most sought-after skills in the office. It’s simply a matter of transferring them from one place to the other…

 

Self-motivation

The skill of self-motivation means you can be counted on to do the things you’ve said you’ll do, even when you don’t feel like doing them. A self-motivated employee is an engaged employee, and 71% of executives believe that employee engagement is critical to an organisation’s success.

Set the right goals and you’ll automatically trigger your self-motivation. Just like your ambition to post a PB at your next triathlon might get you out of bed to go for a swim on a cold, dark January morning, so can an appropriate work goal. Take a moment to ask yourself: what would excite you to achieve at work? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pay rise, an invitation to work on a particular project, or a new job title, the key is that it must excite you if you want to remain motivated.

If you need a quick blast of motivation, music is another workout hack worth borrowing. Music can trick the mind into thinking you are exerting less intensity than you really are, trigger the feel-good hormone dopamine, and activate cognitive activity. Research by the University of Miami suggests personal choice is crucial; if music puts you in a good mood, you’re more likely to have better ideas and complete tasks more quickly. This is one feature of the current WFH culture you can really make the most of!

Problem-solving

You already employ your problem-solving skills when you work out; you are currently at X but want to get to Y. Whether Y is more muscle definition, a particular marathon time, or a target weight to lift, you know you have to complete a series of steps to get there.

This is also the definition of a career! You start off where you are, work out where you want to be, then figure out how to get to there.

Treating your work tasks as stepping stones to your desired destination will help you develop a methodical, efficient approach (as well as helping to keep you motivated). You can break the journey down into hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly steps, and thus reframe what can seem like a daunting process into a workable series of achievable, logical steps.

Patience

Patience is all about steady, consistent progress, which, ironically is the quickest way to achieve your goals. (If you’ve ever suddenly attempted a big workout without the warm-up and got the injury to show for it, you’ll know what we mean!)

Patience isn’t something we automatically practise in our need-everything-now-culture, but it is a highly appreciated workplace skill. It shows reliability, professionalism, maturity, and perseverance. It also generally leads to a better quality of work.

It pays to play the long game. Research by Stanford University found that the maxim ‘develop your passion’ was more useful than ‘find your passion’ when it comes to career fulfilment. “My undergraduates, at first, get all starry-eyed about the idea of finding their passion, but over time they get far more excited about developing their passion and seeing it through,” shares Carol Dweck, one of the study’s researchers. “They come to understand that that’s how they and their futures will be shaped, and how they will ultimately make their contributions.”

Accountability

Accountability is another of those workplace skills that might not seem particularly thrilling. But the ability to take responsibility for yourself and your work is hugely significant. In fact, 91% of respondents in one study said that accountability was their organisation’s top development need.

If you have a workout or gym buddy you’ll already know how effective accountability can be. Not just in terms of getting you to show up in the first place, but also to push you further than you would have gone alone; how many times has a little friendly competition boosted your performance?!

So find an accountability buddy for your career (Reddit has a group of over 54,000 people, looking for accountability buddies across all areas of life). Knowing that you have someone there to support you, and keep you going, is a brilliant way of keeping yourself on track. And, as you might have guessed by now, we believe the track, field or gym, is a great place to start!