What we think

This is where you can peer into our minds and learn a bit more about us as recruiters, consultants and humans. Expect plenty of insight into Consumer, Retail, Recruitment, and life in our Leeds and London spaces. Some tips from the top and the odd guest appearance. Enjoy and please feel free to leave us a comment!

Mind-set in the time of Corona: Running

19th May 2020

About half of the team at Seven are runners of some sort. We have couch-to-5km newbies, casual joggers, half marathon fans and an ultra-marathon runner so we cover the full spectrum and it’s probably the most commonly performed exercise across the whole team.

A lot of people have been running more as part of lockdown life; some have more time to get outdoors, some find a run is more achievable with the pressures of work removed or re-framed. I was out for a run in my local woods today, attempting to cover the 5km daily target I’ve set myself. The various challenges and ups and downs of my route made me think about work and the parallels in my approaches to running and work.

I take to the woods because the view is more varied, the terrain is changeable, it transforms with the weather and the seasons and there are always new routes to find. The main challenge with this is the hills in these woods are hard work! There are some parts where I am practically climbing, not running and it’s hard to feel a sense of progression in my fitness or speed when the route changes every time I do it. I’ve noticed it adds to a sense of deflation after my run; instead of being pleased I’ve conquered the woods, I’m annoyed it’s not getting faster or easier!

With work being slower these last few weeks I’ve had time to think about the way I approach things and there are so many similarities between the two. Let’s start with the beginning. I approach the run feeling optimistic, excited, ‘I can do this! Listen to the birds! Feel the wind in my face! Life is GREAT!’ Just like the way many of us approach project planning.

Then there’s the way I feel when things start getting hard on the hill: ‘Why am I doing this again? What am I achieving?  Why did I think this was a good idea? Walking would be totally fine at this point.’ Mirrored at work when we are deep into a project; you start to lose sight of the end, and forget who you were at the beginning. You tell yourself you’re bored, things need to change; you’ve had enough.

Towards the top of the hill: ‘Nearly there, the end in sight, you can do this! You are great at this!’ Here is when I find myself speeding up in work and on my runs, but it’s often a time that in the past has seen me make mistakes and nearly throw the whole project off course – that excitement of the end is so distracting! If the aim is to keep going when I get to the top rather than collapsing, then a sprint finish on a steep hill isn’t going to help me. This is the time to pace oneself and think of the bigger goal.

Then at the top: ‘Phew. That was good. Not as hard as I thought. What’s next?!’ And just like that the focus shifts back to the bigger goal and away from the quick, tough episode.

To take it even further, last week I was doing really well for pace then got stuck behind someone. She had her headphones in and was out for a leisurely walk, she wasn’t being deliberately obstructive. It was a narrow path and I couldn’t pass her at a ‘safe’ (currently 2 metre) distance, so I slowed down and walked for a minute until the path widened and I could overtake. Sometimes we can’t help the things that hold us back, we’ve just got to sit with it. People don’t always mean to get in your way.

The rest of my run after this interruption resulted in a personal best on my 500m and I even chose to run a bit further as I felt so confident and refreshed. Sometimes, the things that hold us back are actually doing us a favour.

To wrap this up (because I set myself the target of finishing this article before I head out on today’s run!), the big goal is important – you have to visualise yourself at the end to make it happen. But it’s the small steps we take that will really get us there; a successful mind-set is formed in the way we handle the little steep hills, not just the marathons. Further to that, if you can appreciate (not necessarily enjoy!) the hills, the sprints AND the steady jogs; that’s the winning combination that might just get you to where you want to be!


Image via Unsplash.com

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