We all have one worst critic in life: our inner self, also known as the ego. Human nature is to feed the ego, and how good or bad we feel about ourselves impacts our mental ability to go after what we want. So if we want to find greater career satisfaction, we must consider improving how we feel about ourselves.
I’m not suggesting everyone run out and get an extreme makeover and tons of plastic surgery. Instead, I challenge you to consider using one of the most basic activities in life to help you create a shift in your mind-set that will inspire you to pursue the career satisfaction you want and deserve: exercise.
Experts believe one of the smartest ways to enhance our self-efficacy is to exercise regularly. There’s no denying exercise improves our mental and physical selves. But this is easier said than done, right?
Most folks hate exercise, making it easy for them to put it off. But, what if you saw exercising regularly as proof you’re capable of more in your life, and specifically, your career?
Alden Mills, a former Navy SEAL commander and the author of the book Be Unstoppable, was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child. The diagnosis was so acute, the doctor said, “Teach him to play chess,” claiming Mills would never run, jump, or be as athletic as other children. He was only 12 years old at the time.
Mills says his mother grabbed him by the shoulders outside the medical office and told him to ignore the doctor’s comment and to never, ever give up on his dream of playing outdoors with his friends. Mills took her advice and over time learned the fitter he became, the more he believed he could achieve his goals, no matter how ambitious.
Since then, Mills went on to become a champion rower, successfully led two tours of duty for the Navy SEALs, and in 2009 started one of the fastest-growing fitness product companies in America. Mills says exercise, or more importantly exercising mind over matter, was a huge confidence booster in his career.
“When you exercise, the endorphins make you feel better about yourself immediately. You are naturally more confident because your thoughts are positive. Over time, as you see yourself getting stronger via exercise, your confidence soars even higher. Exercise becomes addictive because you realize the power you have over what you can do.”
In short, if you can master adding exercise to your life, you can go after that new job, promotion, major account, etc., because you’ll have the energy, positive mind-set, and confidence to make it happen.
If you can agree incorporating regular exercise into your routine could be what you need to pursue greater career satisfaction, the next step is to find more ways to get it done. That being said, what you choose to do could also offer some valuable skill building that could help your career at the same time. Check out the professional development power of these five fitness options:
Find a charity-sponsored fitness event (i.e., road race or triathlon) to complete. Doing good for others can be a powerful motivator to exercise. You can do something the less fortunate than you cannot. And, as you ask friends, family, and coworkers to sponsor you, they’ll be aware of your fitness focus. This will make you want to be fit enough to complete the race so you don’t let the charity or you donors down.
This type of exercise activity drives personal accountability, an important skill to develop if we want to take our careers to new heights.
One of the best ways to break limiting beliefs about our abilities is to study a subject until we are proficient. When it comes to being better at exercise, why not study to become a fitness instructor? It doesn’t mean you have to go on to actually teach classes. But studying the subject could help you get inspired to implement what you learn. You could find yourself wanting to act the part of the person who knows enough about a subject to guide others.
Learning something new also helps us expand our perspective and opens our minds to new ways of thinking. In our careers, we always need to be learning and growing. This will remind us of the importance to be a lifelong student.
Everyone needs help from time to time. This doesn’t make us weak. Performance coaching is designed to take us to new heights of greatness. Pro athletes and executives all use personal trainers, so why shouldn’t you?
Working with a trainer will help you push yourself to new levels of fitness that you wouldn’t do on your own. They’ll make the exercise more interesting, too. But most importantly, they’ll reinforce the need to ask for help so you can unlock your potential.
Coaches and mentors are a vital component to success. Sadly, most people don’t seek them out as much as they should.
Get several friends together and put up a sizable chunk of money into a winners’ fund. It should be enough to motivate you not to want to lose it. Everyone then sets a personal fitness goal that must be completed by an agreed-upon date. Each person that reaches their goal by this date gets their money back. Those that don’t achieve their goal lose their money to the winners who split it.
This strategy helps us develop our ability to deliver on our goals in a team setting. The competitive nature inspires us to not fail in front of our peers. A good skill to develop for the workplace!
Try to find a form of fitness that doesn’t feel like working out. Dancing, walking the dog, etc. Anytime we can trick ourselves to do something healthy without feeling like it’s a chore, we win. There are a lot of interesting and unique group fitness classes designed to make working out feel fun. Many clubs let you try a class for free. Set out to find one that works for you. At the very least, you’ll get some exercise in exploring new ways to have fun.
The key is to realize there are ways to enjoy work, but only if you proactively seek them out. The same applies to our careers. We need to search for what works for us. Nobody is going to hand us the career of our dreams–we need to define it and pursue it on our own terms!
If reaching new levels of career success and satisfaction is your goal for the coming year, then remember the only person you need to impress is yourself. Only you can motivate yourself to achieve your goals. Nobody else can do it for you, so consider leveraging the power of exercise to help increase your confidence, stamina, and motivation so you can look in the mirror and hear the voice of a winner!