Those of us in the business world are constantly hearing and using sports metaphors applied to business contexts. Some common ones include: "he's a team player," "you can't drop the ball," "we don't pull any punches." Locker room metaphors are dropped frequently in business settings, often at the corporate board level. Dr. Don R. Powell, a psychologist and President of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine in Farmington Hills, Michigan says that "sports and business reward hard work, dedication, competitiveness, and success. Sports clichés provide a kind of shorthand. They communicate ideas quickly and clearly." Just as sports concepts can be used in business settings, business concepts can be used in a sports and exercise context.
Here are 3 Ways to Treat Your Body like a Business:
1. "Change before you have to." – Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
When an industry is on the brink of disruption by technological changes or competitors, it's important for incumbents to proactively adjust their strategies and tactics, and not wait until it's too late. Think Blockbuster as Netflix entered the market.
Similarly, our bodies are constantly evolving as we mature, and we need to preemptively prepare them for the new challenges that will arise. Father Time is undefeated. As we grow old, our metabolism slows down, our ability to build muscle mass diminishes, and our vulnerability to injury increases. The best athletes get ahead of the aging curve and adjust their regimens to prepare for these inevitable changes. When we're 25, skipping a stretch before a work out, guzzling high-calorie soda, and drinking an excessive amount of alcohol don't often have the immediate consequences on our bodies as they do when we're 50, 60, or 70. Adapting our lifestyle helps us take on Father Time and exercise effectively.
2. "If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old." – Peter Drucker, a world-renowned management consultant and author
In business, it's just as important what a company chooses not to do as it is what it chooses to do. When Steve Jobs returned to the helm of Apple after his comeback in 1997, he discontinued many products in order to double-down on those that were succeeding and lay the groundwork for future expansion. He killed Apple's version of the PDA, The Newton, and a game console called The Pippin. A few years later came the iPod and the rest is history.
When we seek the mind and body transformation that comes through fitness, it is critical to identify which habits and behaviors do not serve us well. Minimizing or eliminating these actions will help us on our journey to improve our fitness. If lifting heavy weights hasn't been effective, we can try a new lifting technique, or move to body-weight exercises may be the answer. If that low carb diet makes us feel low on energy, adding more complex carbs to our meals may help. Cautious and deliberate experimentation is fantastic, as we only know what will work once we try.
3. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” - Henry Ford
The best companies embrace risk-taking and the mistakes that come along with it. When Thomas Watson was leading IBM, as the story goes, he recounted being asked if he would fire an employee who had made a mistake that cost the company thousands. "No," Watson replied. "How can I fire you when I just spent $10,000 educating you?"
We all make mistakes, and we are more likely to err when we try something new. Anyone who's just taken up gold can certainly attest to this. Whether it's perfecting form for a CrossFit set, positioning our body to block a boxer's punch, or trying a new piece of fitness equipment, we will fail. What makes us strong is persevering and moving forward as we learn from our past shortcomings.
We'd love to hear from you. What business tactics or strategies do you employ when you work out? Comment on our Facebook page at facebook.com/flytefitness or tweet us at @flytefitness.
Be Flyte Fit,
Co-Founder & CEO