After a few weeks of Cross-fitting, there are some substantial carry-over lessons to be had in our professional lives

A client of mine sent along an article by a man named Joshua Newman from here in NYC, titled “Tabata My Job“.   The article’s premise is that if you mimic the cadence of a popular workout called “Tabata” in CrossFit world, and bring that into your day-job, you would be incorporating an intense session of high concentrated work and effort, and then a small amount of downtime.  The effectiveness in the workout approach, is that you allow your body to exert maximum energy and effort, knowing that there’s a break close by.  Huge gains and strides are seen in the CrossFit world, and the same is applicable to working.

In the article, Newman explains how he integrated that philosophy into his work day; separating certain periods of the day for intense sessions of attention and focus on getting things knocked out, and then a small window of downtime to clear his mind for the next “set”.   He didn’t allow himself to “lift small” either, as he routinely placed his hardest tasks in his “on” cadences, so that he could use his maximum attention and energy into clearing that task of his plate.  Much like how in CrossFit you can use heavier weights during the small 20 second windows, because of the short amount of time spent on the excercise.

I started thinking about the article more today, and here are some other analogies / lessons you can steal from CrossFit and bring into the workplace.

Learn the fundamentals, and build on them everyday

In CrossFit beginner classes, they teach you all of the techniques you will be learning as you progress through the program.  They show you how to lift properly, get the maximum effort expended per rep, and also offer encouragement to new participants.   This is extremely applicable to on-boarding of new new clients for freelancers.  Going over the details, preparing them to succeed by giving them a plan and tract to navigate down, and not giving them too much weight to lift on day-one allows them to get comfortable and settled into their new program / role.  Having the ability to read their current comfort level, and slowly guide them down complex processes without fatiguing them and/or having them quit the program (or your job).

Fight through the pain

Getting into shape (or back into shape) is hard.  You’re fighting habits (most of them bad) and the combination of change and increase activity level takes a substantial mental concentration on getting through the parts that hurt.  This fits well into something like a website redesign, or even a company getting a social media presence off the ground.  It’s uncomfortable, there’s a cost associated, and there’s also habits being changed so that your online identity and presence is more appropriate to the times.  With social media, growing hurts sometimes.  You learn what to tweet and what not to tweet.  You practice with posting on Facebook and finding the comfort zone between reaching people at a personal level, but not being too relaxed in your voice and presentation.  You just have to fight through the pain, and the results will be worth it.

Get yourself a good team for accountability

Being in a good team atmosphere is a key component to being successful with CrossFit.  Encouragement, accountability, and group momentum are all building blocks to making the CrossFit experience more beneficial and meaningful.  With Freelancing (or even within a workspace) having a team around you that encourages each other, understands goals and responsibilities (both shared and individual) and can build each other up so that the team output is much greater than any individual output.  That’s really where you see incredible win’s with customers.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help or bring on an expert to help you steer your customer down the right path.  It can sometimes make all the difference in the world.