Spring Challenge

A few weeks ago a potential client told me she was training to climb Mount Everest and that got me thinking…. so this blog is about climbing Everest. Your own personal Everest, that is. It’s about reaching for the goal you want to achieve but haven’t got around to, or haven’t been game to try. And it’s also a challenge, to join us in achieving that goal and enjoying the journey along the way.

It’s been kicked into action by spring, of course, by the days getting longer, the sky bluer, the smell of jasmine in the air. Spring’s when everything seems possible. It’s the time to try new things. This blog sticks to the physical but your Everest could be anything at all, in any sphere of life.

There are of course impediments to starting new things. Such as fear of death. Or of looking like a fool. Or, and more seriously, of failing. Basically, if it’s not in the comfort zone, it’s scary.

I challenge you to step out of that comfort zone and here’s my three-step strategy for success:

First, commit. You need a clear goal, and a deadline for that goal. If you want to walk the Camino in Spain, for example, and you don’t set a date, you have less motivation to work towards it. The temptation to put off walking training, or to spend your airfare on something else, becomes strong.

Second, plan. What do you need to achieve your goal? How much does a trip to Cuba cost? How should you prepare to swim the Channel? Once you know that, you can break down your plan into smaller milestone goals within the time you’ve got. Sensibly, of course. You don’t want to schedule the Channel swim next week if you can’t swim at all….

Third, measure. Tracking your progress, and achieving milestones, is a wonderful way to keep motivated.

Got it? And just to give you some examples, here are the goals for our whole Springday team, and what we’re doing about them:

  • Georgia, our Marketing Director, is preparing for her wedding in November. She wants to look fabulous so she’s taken up salsa dancing with her fiance and Xtend Barre (a mixture of dance, ballet and Pilates). She’s measuring her progress by her next dress fitting.
  • George, our Project Manager, ran his first marathon last weekend and based on his huge success (42k in 3hrs 26 mins) he’s started planning for an ultra marathon next year. He’s been preparing by running four times a week, strength work in the gym and eating like a horse. He’s measuring his progress by his split times and pace per minute.

  • Dave, our lawyer, is back country skiing in Japan in January next year. As part of his plan, he’s just done a survival in the snow course with his son in Perisher – safety first, people!

  • Kieren, our Kung Fu Panda (aka our developer), is training for his black belt, which he’ll go for in December. This involves training four times a week and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Nat, our editor, wants to do an 8-km ocean swim at the end of 2017. She’s starting small – in February next year she plans to swim the 2k Cole Classic. After a winter of chocolate she’s getting up her laps (in the pool, until the sea gets warmer).

  • And me? As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I plan to enter this year’s Sydney to Hobart, with my father. So I’ve just done a survival at sea course and also my first offshore race. I’ll be beefing up my racing practice and sailing skills.

And this brings us back to my earlier comment on failure, and on Everest. Only 55% of those who make it to base camp successfully summit. So while I have the goal and the plan, I’m struggling with seasickness. Unless I get my sea legs, and soon, I might not be allowed on the boat and might have to accept there won’t be a Hobart on Boxing Day for me. And that, I guess, is another lesson about going for your goal – sometimes you just realistically have to say goodbye to it.

So that’s us. Now what about you? Research suggests that if you want to make your goal a reality, sharing it helps. So if you want to commit to something, email me and I’ll share it with the Springday team. What we’ll do from time to time is check in with you, both about how we are going and how you’re doing as well. And then we’ll publish our successes.

If you need some inspiration or don’t know how to plan for your Everest goal, or just want to talk about it, don’t worry. Contact us and we’ll have a walking meeting and help you work it out.

So, do you want to join our spring challenge? Let me know. Here’s to Springing out of our comfort zones together.

What’s going on

Serious games: Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast has introduced a bachelor’s degree course in Serious Games Development, first of its kind in the world. The three-year undergraduate course centres on how games are used for education, marketing and solving real world problems. Interested? They’re taking enrolments for 2016.

Gamify your life: going through some bad stuff? A new book by Jane McGonigal, titledSuperBetter (Penguin) argues that by turning challenges into games and by what she calls ‘living gamefully’, you can fix almost anything.

Are your employees pretending to be overworked? They may be exaggerating. Research shows that about a third of workers fake it and, as we know, hours worked don’t always equal productivity. Here’s what to do about it.

The many (many, many) things you should say no to at work: now this is an inspirational piece. Kristen Muhlner, CEO of BrandAnalytics, teaches us the difficult art of saying no.

The year of saving ourselves from ourselves: finally, some good news about climate change. NYMag shows how, this year, we’re starting to make a difference.

Tony Abbott’s departure – the HR perspective: HR managers aren’t usually political. But this piece, written shortly after Tony Abbott lost the prime ministership to Malcolm Turnbull, reminds us of the sensitive nature of high-level terminations and points out how, if handled wrongly, they can cause a world of pain.

How much harm can sugar do? Finally, a sensible article that dissects current arguments about whether or not to cut out sugar entirely.

Seven signs you need more sleep: you know how you feel after one bad night’s sleep. But when you chronically under-sleep, you don’t appreciate how tired you really are, and how lack of sleep can affect your mind and body. These signs indicate you need some shuteye.

Government vs Apple: right now, there’s a standoff between Apple and the American government over access to iPhone texts. The battle, which looks like going to court, highlights a new and growing dilemma. How much should tech companies allow governments access to customer data? The companies are relying on increased encryption. The government’s fighting back.

Tech tips

Technology, to coin a cliché, can be a blessing or a curse. It seems to call for instant and constant response and it can drive us crazy, especially at work where competing demands fight for attention.

On the other hand, we can harness technology to help with work stress. This article from the Harvard Business Review is titled Five Work Stresses You Can Alleviate With Tech. It names the five work stresses as distraction, the demanding boss, the draining commute, the fear of missing out and sleeplessness. It lists strategies for coping with each stress, including examples of apps and technical fixes to help get you balanced again. Well worth investigating.

And another thing

How positive thinking can really change your life: it sounds new-age and fuzzy, but it’s true. Your mind is powerful and according to this, you can focus your thoughts to help achieve your goals.

SWooZie on school bullying: SWooZie, the YouTube animator and gamer, describes himself among other things as a professional cuddler. So you won’t be surprised that his terrific animated clip is anti-bullying.

Thought of the day

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.

This short poem takes us back to our everest goals.
It’s by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 – 1918)