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Valuable Management Lessons From My Daily Run

Updated on March 26, 2010

Getting Inspired!

Get Motivated - Get Started!

Self Improvement Lessons From A Management Guru

Let me clarify at the outset. I am not one of those fitness freaks who spend half their lives trying to achieve the ideal BMI and fret at every morsel of food they eat. I am a foodie to the core, who got a bit worried when I the slight bulge around my middle resulted in most of my trousers straining at the leash. Despite belonging to an organization that requires me to remain physically very fit I have never been very keen on physicals.

Well, to try and silence the constant bickering of my better half, I decided to step out and do something. A new year’s resolution to reduce at least two sizes from new purchases followed, and I found myself on the road early on in the year. Running shoes, track suit, et all were all pulled out of their respective resting places and I summoned all my willpower to get up early in the morning and go for a run, come what may.

Having pre-decided to go for a standard distance of five km a day(about four miles), I found it not to be such a bad thing after all. Apart from the bountiful physical benefits, I found my daily run actually giving me a head start in my dealing with life itself.

I am not your regular high achiever who has his goals set for life and will do everything under the sun to achieve those lofty pedestals. In fact I was snug and comfortable government job with assured pension just a little while ago, happily cruising along the path to organization glory. The news that I had been passed by for promotion came as a bolt from the blue and forced me to do a retake on whatever vague plans I had for life.

Enter my daily run. Never had I thought it would be so useful in giving me a direction to my entire life and the way I think. Well, here’s how I benefit from this regular half hour or so.

Set And Achieve Targets.    

I had been reading about this great habit that is so essential to success in life, but like a lot of us I guess, never took it beyond the reading room and dreaming about glory without actually doing anything about. The management books have a beautiful term for this attitude – its called procrastination.

When I started off, my legs ached and I could barely do the entire run at a stretch. The very first target I set for myself was to do the entire stretch running, irrespective of the time taken and the speed at which I could step out. A week and some improving body aches later I was able to do this. This taught me that simple goals set were actually achievable, and familiarized me with the satisfaction of having actually achieved what you set out to achieve.

Break Down The Goals.

Over a month of intermittent running when I kept skipping on days that I couldn’t muster the willpower to get up at six in the morning after a late night, I decided to go for the next goal. Just like that. No advance planning like the experts do. This time I planned to cut down my time from thirty to twenty five minutes and left the detailed planning to my running time.

So when I stepped out on this day, initially I concentrated on just stepping out a bit on the first stretch of down-slope that I hit a short distance from my home. Lo behold – I wasn’t too tired after all after this, so I followed the same strategy over the next such stretch. In between there are minor up-slopes on my route as well, and all I managed to do was to do my regular speed on these without putting in too much of extra effort. Of course the regular egging myself not to start walking helped as well. Sure enough, that day I ran up the stairs of my home and saw the watch – twenty five minutes precisely! I had cut down sixteen percent by breaking down my plans into small parts at a time. Rule number two of achieving bigger goals had been met – get the satisfaction of achieving small victories. They will lead you to the bigger picture in the end.

Clarity Of Thought.

Muddled with the daily rigmarole of balancing family with the job hardly gives us any time to sit and give a clear thought to ourselves. We tend to get so busy in our daily schedules that we hardly get any time to sit back and think ahead. Enter my daily run again!

What started off as a way to take my mind off the physical discomfort of paining muscles and aching legs turned out to have a very positive side effects.

It is well known that diverting the mind is a good way of tiding over immediate physical discomfort. A lot of people turn to the modern day gadgets of iPods and multipurpose cell phones to keep themselves distracted, but I prefer thinking.

In the process it gives me a clear twenty-five to thirty minutes of reflecting on what is going on at the professional and the personal front. At various times I have used this period to -

·         Examine all aspects of an important business proposition and determine my response to it.

·         Reflect problems facing my parents and family sitting hundreds of miles away.

·         Mentally determine the framework of an essay for admission into a top management institute.

·         Draw the outline of this article in my mind.

·         Set certain goals and plan on how to achieve them.

·         Pursue some idle thought to its logical conclusion. Remember ideas that keep popping up in the head also need some direction or they end up dead.

Pursue Hobbies.

I am a nature lover but the daily routine offers me little time to pursue my favorite pastime – watching nature. This is why I chose road running over the more popular but enclosed gyms with their beautiful treadmills and multitudes of weight training machines.

Luckily for me I live in a nice lush green hamlet that has trees of all varieties lining my route unlike the concrete jungles a large number of us are forced to live in. Thanks to this the area is also popular with a number of fitness enthusiasts who can be seen practicing yoga or simply taking a walk with their partners. All this adds to the color and my enjoyment of course.

En-route I also come across a few monkeys that reside in the trees and get time to reflect on the cute babies and protectionist mothers (I don’t run too fast, remember).

Over a period of time I have discovered that tamarind tress bear fruit for a major part of the year and have had occasion to keenly observe the activities of a fruit gatherer getting the fruits of his labor from the most inaccessible of branches.

Thus I have got time to enjoy what I love most without compromising on anything and without so much as spending a penny.

Physical Benefits.

For those who have not read this yet – running is proven to be the best exercise for all parts of the body, second only to swimming. The ease with which it can be pursued perhaps makes it even better.

·         My tummy now bears a comparatively flat look, though I have yet to get anywhere near my avowed aim. A definite improvement in confidence has resulted when it comes to trying out newer and smarter clothes.

·         I feel better almost immediately after the run, having achieved some minor goal almost daily early in the morning.

·         Waking up the kids no longer seems a chore.

·         My persistent backache that was a legacy of my long hours working on the computer is a story of the past.

·         In general I feel more invigorated and active through the day till the time I hit the sack.

·         I can eat my favorite foods without feeling too conscious of the likely results and possible effects.

Notice the physical benefits of my exercise regime have only been listed at the end since the aim of this article is not to inspire anyone towards a life of punishing physical exercise. I for one have started and left innumerable such exercise programs over several experiments in my life. Somehow I always end up returning to the stage of hibernation after a while.

I hope this one lasts. I certainly have better motivation this time around!

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