What’s at your neighborhood gym?
Treadmills, free weights, Zumba classes.
And Trainers who provide guidance on nutrition, fitness, and….careers?
Career Advice In Spin Class
You betcha. Meet Tom, my spin instructor.
And while he may not intend to provide career advice, I recently realized that the verbal boosts Tom uses to kick his spin classes into high gear can also help you create great results in your career.
Here are just 6 phrases of encouragement he shares with us:
“Get your money’s worth!”
Metaphorically speaking, of course. He means that although we put our time and effort into things, sometimes we’re just going through the motions.
But unless we can enthusiastically participate in spin class, Tom would rather see us pop in our earbuds and just hit the treadmill.
Same goes at work.
Sure, we all have down periods, but if day after day we’re just going through the motions on the job, are we really getting our “money’s” worth? Instead, consider something that makes you want to get out of bed each morning.
“One minute down, one minute to go!”
During the most intense point in a virtual hill climb, Tom always tells us where we are.
And where we’ve been.
While I might grumble or worry about getting through the next minute of hill-climb, I’m grateful to know I’m halfway there.
In your career, sometimes staying motivated means looking back at what you’ve accomplished, in order to make progress on what’s ahead.
In many fast-paced work environments, big accomplishments can get forgotten within just a couple months. Keeping track of them in a file, notebook, or your LinkedIn profile – along with ‘fan mail’ you receive from peers or leaders at work – can give you a boost when you need it.
“Push, push, push!”
Some days at the gym, I’m merely showing up. Which is better than not showing up, right?
Well, that’s when Tom’s reminder to take it to the next level hits me hardest. So I groan loudly – to ensure he hears me hear him – and then I push just a little more.
And you know what happens? I get better results. Heck, you should see my…calves.
So I adopted that same approach at work.
I’m asked for one idea and I submit three. We need to courier something to a client? It’s on my way home. Sort of.
And guess what? Better results have ensued. Sometimes I even have more fun in the process.
“I said 95RPMs, that doesn’t mean 94 or 93….”
So when Tom says to shoot for 95-100RPMs on the bike, my natural inclination is to focus on 95. And – not surprisingly – I hit 95.
But because it’s hard to keep the bike on an exact RPM setting, I often drop a few notches below it. 94, 93, maybe even 90, if we’re near the end of the workout. At which point I feel like a slacker, because I’m the one choosing the speed. But it’s hard to make myself work harder when I don’t really have to.
In the workplace, having some autonomy can be a good thing. But allowing yourself to slack within that range of autonomy does you a disservice. Even if your team or employer is oblivious to your slacking, YOU aren’t.
Trust me: focus instead on 100RPMs. You’ll feel better. In more ways than one.
“You’re stronger than you think you are!”
When I hear Tom say another of his favorites, “You can do it,” I’m initially resistant. But he follows it up by telling me I’m stronger than I think I am. And he’s right.
It’s only when he increases the speed or the resistance during a workout that I try harder. And prove that I can do it.
And it’s the same in our workplace.
The key to an always-advancing career is to put yourself in situations where you have to push past what you think you can accomplish. Beyond what you think you can actually do.
That’s when you prove you’re stronger than you think you are. To yourself, and to everyone else.
“High-five your neighbor, they’re working hard, too!”
So I do what he says and I congratulate her, even if she is barely breaking a sweat while I’m about to puke.
And yes, I’m a bit resentful of what appears effortless for her, especially when she was exceeding both my speed AND resistance settings the entire class.
But the reality is that she’s been coming to this class 3 times a week for the past year, and I’m a newbie.
So here’s the takeaway: just because your co-workers make their day-to-day look easy, while you’re floundering under a giant load, it doesn’t mean they haven’t put in long hours of training before you came along.
They likely need that high-five just as much as you do. So be a team player and slap it high. Someday you’ll need a boost from a newbie, too.
Just try not to mind if she’s sweaty and gasping for oxygen, like me.
Have you ever received career advice from the strangest of sources? Tell us all about it in the comments!