Exercise Your Potential

March 23, 2020
Examining the lessons a leader can learn while on the treadmill.

Last month, I wrote about my recent pursuit of hobbies, and my journey to become a better golfer and tennis player. But, I neglected to mention another pursuit I’ve started—one that was far more difficult to start, but proved borderline life changing. Frankly, I hesitate to even write about it, but we’re all friends here, so let’s get into it.  

If you know me at all, you know I’m a string bean. I actually come from a long line of string beans—my family on both sides are all limbs, with knobby knees and giant wing spans. So, I was pretty much born with these puny chicken arms. I played soccer and tennis when I was a kid but stopped as a teenager and then I just … never really exercised again. Like, ever. Sure, I’d do yoga for a month here and there and I took walks, but certainly nothing that raised my heart rate.

Luckily, I was physically healthy enough, but, mentally, I was unknowingly creating a damaging mindset. See, that idea that I didn’t exercise? Over time, that became part of my identity. I could never do a push-up! I’ll never be one of those people who enjoys working out. Gyms just aren’t for me. I’m just not a strong person.

It’s embarrassing to even admit that, but it’s true. If you tell yourself something often enough, you really do start to believe it. A couple years ago, I even set a five-year goal to start working out. That’s right: I thought five years was the realistic amount of time it would take for me to gather the courage to start exercising. 

I was pretty much on pace for that goal until last year when, for a lot of reasons, I grew tired of listening to my own excuses, threw in the towel, and signed up for a gym membership. That first visit was pure anxiety—I was certain that I would fly off the treadmill or embarrass myself by not knowing how to use a machine—but flash forward six months, and I love it. It’s become a cornerstone of my routine and something I genuinely look forward to doing. 

Enjoying exercise is perhaps one of the biggest surprises of my life thus far. Does that sound ridiculous? Well, that should give you an idea of just how deeply ingrained that belief of mine was. The reason I called this “life-changing” is not just because I’ve gotten physically stronger, but because it’s cracked open the beliefs I’ve had about myself and my potential.

Everyone knows the Wayne Gretzky quote, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” but when was the last time you really thought about all the shots you’re not taking? One of my favorite articles this month is Kelly Beaton’s strategy story on work-life balance. Beyond being full of practical advice, it also addresses many limiting beliefs I’ve heard time and again from shop owners:

  • I’m just not an early bird!
  • I don’t have time to leave my shop and join a 20 Group.
  • I’ll never be someone who’s hands-off in their business.
  • I don’t need a structured schedule; I remember everything in my head.

Does any of that sound familiar to you? I encourage you to not only read the article, but even more so, I encourage you to start examining those beliefs and whether they’re really true. I can tell you firsthand that they’re probably not, they’re probably wreaking more havoc than you realize, and, most importantly, that you’re completely capable of changing it.

Anna Zeck
Editorial Director

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