I used the athlete mind-set a lot these last few years. “Embrace the Suck” is a phrase that got me through Ironman and bad work situations. I read this article today and it hit home. Endurance sports training, Ironman and ultra running, taught me to deal with monotony, time management and failure in the workplace. I like how MB writes about “perceived” failure, and that sometimes these failures are out of your control; I always forget that. Every single time I failed in a race or a job I learned something about myself and I did everything to get better.
And it’s true, every failure is a learning opportunity. I try to never make the same mistake twice. I’m always working to the next goal and past failures fade over time.
How can an athlete’s mind-set be useful in the office?
MB: Training teaches you lots of things, including time and stress management. It’s always hard in the moment to get past something you perceive as a failure, so I think it’s important to frame the conversation that way: failure versus “perceived” failure. Most of the time, there is some reason that things didn’t go well, and sometimes that thing was out of your control. It takes time and perspective to realize that each disappointment is a learning moment, and something that will make you stronger in the future. Viewing it as lesson instead of a failure will help keep you positive, motivated, and working hard to the next goal.