It’s pretty clear that the coming months are going to explore the endurance of business leaders, both physically and mentally. Endurance will give you the capacity to persevere with demanding work for long periods of time; enable you to make good decisions when physically and mentally tired; and find those additional reserves of energy if the going gets tough (didn’t we mention Billy Ocean when we sent you an invitation recently?).
So, are you fit to perform or fit to drop?
There is some good news about endurance. First, it is very trainable. If you want more stamina then you can have it, if you work at it in the right way. Second, you can develop endurance while in the thick of performing, if you use your intelligence and approach things in the right way…
There are four relevant key principles to developing endurance…
- Specificity: Your training needs to be specific. If you want to train for a marathon, then you’ll need to do some running. So, if you want to get fit to cope with the demands of work, then the best way to do it is to face the challenges of work with the attitude that any increased workload provides an opportunity to test your endurance, stretch it a little and see how good you can be.
- Transferability: If you’re fit for running, then some of that fitness will transfer to cycling. Likewise, if you are physically fit, then some of this endurance will transfer into your work performance. Don’t get me started on this one… there’s so much data to support this that we’d need a whole new blog to cope with how training and improving fitness are directly linked with improved cognitive performance and emotional well-being!
- Overload: To get fitter, you benefit from pushing yourself beyond comfortable limits. However, overdo the overload and predictable problems can start to occur. With a sports person they’ll start to suffer from injuries and illness. In business, lack of concentration, insomnia, chronic fatigue and susceptibility to illness are some of the signs of getting the balance wrong.
- Recovery: So, in order to prevent “over training” it is as vital to pay as much attention to the quality and quantity of your rest as you do to the quality and quantity of your work. You will gain endurance while you are resting and recovering. So, make sure you intersperse periods of hard work, with periods of high quality recovery. The better you get at recovering quickly, by using good sleep practices and energising nutrition, the harder you will be able to work and the greater your capacity to endure will become.
So, what’s your energy management strategy? How are you ensuring that you get good rest and proper nutrition? Are you preparing for the demands you face and then planning effectively to get enough rest and the right foods to be able to deliver the performances you need, when you need them most? Are you making the time to train so that you enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of improved fitness?
What barriers are you hitting to managing your energy effectively and developing your endurance? Post any barriers and challenges as a comment here and we’ll see if the inhabitants of planet K2 can help.