Spinning into our new culture: Lessons from the gym
Recently, I stopped at the gym to take a spinning class. It’s always energizing to get some exercise, and I enjoy the classes because the instructor’s enthusiasm motivates me to work harder. As I listened to some of her common rallying cries, it struck me how spin class can serve as motivation for our culture transformation.
- Keep your core tight. In spinning, your power comes from your core – your abdominals and back give you strength and support, and help you keep your form and prevent injury. The same is true in life – if I use our values to guide my decisions and actions, I will reach my end goal without harming myself or others.
- Air before water. You get done with a tough track, and your throat is dry. The first instinct is to grab the water bottle. But if you catch your breath first, you’ll recover more quickly, and be able to ride that much farther and longer. The same is true at work – if I tackle my blue chips first, I will be able to do more, and achieve better results.
- Nothing changes unless you change it. As much as the person at the front of the room changes up things and encourages the class to try and add a little more resistance, it’s up to each person to work a little harder each week to build endurance and strength. At work, I can’t look to other people to shift their thinking or try new things before I will – I have to take responsibility and do what I can to change our culture.
- Being uncomfortable lets you know you're making progress. It’s pretty easy to figure out how much resistance you can take and for how long, and it’s easy to get stuck at that level because it’s comfortable; but you won’t see progress. It’s when you’re uncomfortable – breathless and muscles burning – that you build strength and burn calories. Discomfort is also a sign of progress at work – while it’s uncomfortable to hear strengthening feedback, shift my perspective, and change the way I work with others, it helps me improve my performance and results.
Transforming the way we think and work is just like transforming our bodies - we have to have a strong foundation, focus on what's important, work at it, and expect a few growing pains if we expect to see results.