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Five Lessons the Stepathlon Challenge has taught me: 

by Shayamal Vallabhjee  – MD of The HEAL Institute (@shayamalv on Twitter)

 

Its been merely ten days since I embarked on the Stepathlon Challenge, an initiative by a friend and colleague, Ravi Krishnan – CEO of Stepathlon.

This isn’t the first challenge I’ve embarked on. As other ultra marathon runners would know, we seek our thrills from “pushing the limits’ and embracing the challenges most others shy away from. However, the Stepathlon Challenge has opened my eyes to a whole new set of learnings. Having worked with professional sportspeople all my life, I can confidently say that the ‘motivation to train’ is never an issue. In fact, we generally quantify the success of a session based on how long we spend ‘out of our comfort zone’  as opposed to the length of a training session.

When I registered my company into the Stepathlon Challenge (Team Healers), I initially thought it would be a walk in the park (literally & figuratively) After all, I’m fit and I run daily. How hard could 10000 steps a day be?

With only 10% of the challenge complete, I’ve already learnt so many important lessons that I’m convinced the Stepathlon Challenge will go down as one of the most important learning curves in my life.

Here are five important lessons I’ve already learnt:

1. Its amazing how little we move: Its common knowledge, and highlighted by books like Born to Run, The Lore of Running & Eat and Run, that movement is essential to life. When you register for the challenge, you are given a pedometer to track your steps. Two days into the challenge, I realized that if I remove my morning and afternoon workout sessions from my daily activity tracker, my movement patterns in the day are abysmal. In fact to quantify it, I average between 14 000 & 17 000 steps daily. If you remove my workouts, I barely make a 1000 in the day. Scarily, I was under the impression that I was active.

2. Its not about me: This is one of the most important lessons that entrepreneurs learn quickly. It had barely been a week into the challenge. I was flying and loving it. But when I logged onto the team tracker on the Stepathlon site, I had noticed that that others weren’t finding it that easy. Some of them barely touched 10 000 and that was at the back end of a busy day which included a workout. Their struggle was represented in the team average, which forced me to not only appreciate the fact that the Stepathlon Challenge isn’t only about me, but more importantly, it made empathetic towards their struggle. Needless to say, this opened the channels of communication between us and has now resulted in a rejuvenated organization.

3. Like anything, its best to plan: In a 100 day Challenge, its important to pace yourself. I think the most common mistake that most participants make, is that they are over-eager in the beginning. Lets face it. You cannot train for 100 days in a row. So if you rely on training to hit your 10 000 steps, you going to burnout very soon. The Stepathlon Challenge has taught me to bring structure into my day. How am I going to complete my 10 000 steps without a work out & more importantly, how am I going to break down this challenge over the course of a day?

4. Share your story and watch the support pour in: Everyone likes to put forth a persona of perfection. After all, no one likes to publicize their failures and struggles. But the truth is that, we are human – Being human means that failure is part of life and life is a string of challenges. When we create this persona of perfection, we alienate ourselves at a time when we need support the most. The Stepathlon Challenge taught me that by being honest about the struggle, we humanize ourselves. And their is no more a gospel truth than this… Humanity will respond to the plight of someone struggling. They will offer support and help which will make your journey attainable and that much more enjoyable.

5. Raise The Bar: For everyone who is actively participating in the challenge, you would have noticed that 10 000 steps a day isn’t going to cut it if you want to feature in the Top 10 Corporates. Thats the bare minimum. If you are as competitive as I am, you will have to ‘Raise The Bar’ – but remember:

  • Dont leave your team mates behind
  • Consistency is still the key to success, &
  • Nothing worth winning is ever easy