How do you stay in shape? How do leaders stay fit for their positions? You may have heard that a manager may not be fit to serve.
While reading the blogs of fellow endurance athletes, I noticed a recent pattern. In the face of deprivation or deficiency, some have expressed their need to salvage their fitness or sustain it. When you perform badly, you want to regain it. When you cannot race, you want to hold on to it for the next event.
Staying in peak condition is a transient state. You can peak for a race, or a few times a year. However, it would be highly challenging to stay in peak shape throughout the year. Now, how true is this paradigm? Can you continue in a heightened state of performance and fitness?
You can maintain your base fitness; base is vital to future peak performance. Your long runs, swims and rides allow you to go faster eventually when you focus on speed and power on the shorter distances. The long mileage builds your endurance for the races you may participate in. However, the long duration work also saps your body of resources, and fatigues it. If you work long hours without adequate rest, you may experience burnout, dysfunctional relationships and erratic behaviors. That is a price to pay for working for an organization focused on its business and developmental goals.
After a promotion or a delegation of new role and responsibilities, how do you stay in peak performance? Naturally, candidates slated for promotion tend to perform well leading to, and right after the promotion. Then, their performance slides to a new, homeostatic state until the next round of possibilities emerges. How do you stay true to yourself? Do you continue to push the threshold of your abilities and engage your capabilities? Do you adopt the wait and see, as a strategic approach?
My next three-month cycle begins this week as I prepare for the Berlin Marathon. I have both confident and realistic targets. Between the race and today, I will have intermediate goals and races: two half-marathons and a buildup of my swim and riding fitness. I will experience bodily discomfort as I build up my racing fitness. My road ahead will be tough, but a joyful one. Reading about Steve Prefontaine and Coach Bill Bowerman (co-founder of Nike), I know I can race with my head and my heart. Effort matters as much as strategy. Only specific and intense training, a focused mind and a razor-sharp vision will lead me to my results.