Work as a Race Day

ironmanThis week, I will be attempting to complete my second Ironman Triathlon. For those not familiar with the race, it is a 2.4 mile swim in the Tennessee river, following by 116 miles (4 more than normal) of a bike ride across Tennesee and Georgia, and then a 26.2 mile run (marathon) in the downtown Chattanooga district. All of this starts around 740AM on Sunday September 28th, and has to be completed by midnight. The central premise of my last book ( was that these endurance events are as much an emotional endurance test as they are a physical endurance test. How might this be connected to what you do at work this week?
During the race, I only have three resources: (1) what I know (2) what I am carrying with me and (3) what is around me. The last resource is one that is grossly underutilized and can often be the game-changer especially in tough times. In a race, an athlete is only allowed to use nutrition and hydration that is provided by the course at stations set up on the bike and the run. But that is not what I am talking about. Think of ALL the OTHER resources like music, wind, beautful weather, a scenic farm or hill or home, people cheering you and volunteers there helping you, to name just a few. All these resources are there and I try to engage with them using my five senses but also by actively engaging with them. I do not know this for sure, but I am fairly certain I have the world record for saying “Thank You” to volunteers in a Triathlon. In fact, I often point my finger at each person I say thank you to and look them in the eye. Sometimes there are many volunteers at a station and even kids handing out water and I will purposefully slow down to engage with them. Almost 100% of them time, the response from the volunteer is a positive one. Acknowledgements like “you’re welcome” or “you’re looking great” or “you got this” and they are always smiling back to me. I know that those comments were directly and specifically for me. The hormonal impact on by body watching those smiles and hearing those responses for me I can literally feel all over my body. This in turn keeps my negative thoughts away, and still allows me access to my brain where all race-day decisions will be made.
Your career is an endurance race. An important day at work could be your metaphoric race. Or it might just be a tough day. What if on this day, instead of you expecting people to come to you to cheer you, you proactively went and found compliments to give out to those around you. like my “thank you?”  All the people around you and all the places around you are no different that those on my race. They are underutilized. This week, make it a point to notice everything great about your trip to work, about the people around you and the geography of your workplace. Then use your 5 senses to engage with one in each category. See you feel after – specifically if you feel more empowered to tackle your day. Oh by the way, if you want to track me on Sunday – go to and insert my bib# 775! Thank you!

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