by Sue Aquila
As a business owner, I initially defined my success on the bottom line of my business. If my revenue exceeded my costs then I was profitable and successful. The business and I have matured enough to broaden my standards of success from the quantitative to the qualitative.
I know it has been a successful year when:
This past week I received a track workout from Gordo that involved the metric system. I love the metric system but it is not native to me and requires some translation. My first metric workout went fine but I was totally out of my element. Unfamiliar with the paces, confused by the distances and wondering why I just didn’t convert everything to statute.
About half way through the workout it hit me that changing how we measure success is as important in triathlon as in business. Not knowing instinctively what I was doing required me to focus on the moment and evaluate all the other variables of my workout success; heart rate, perceived rate of exertion, breathing and form.
Changing your measurements of success changes your focus. Does the stress of the pace clock at your swim workouts push you over the edge? Find a 33 meter pool or go open water. Do you run the same loop each time and are only happy if you best your previous time? Change your route. Do you spend your whole ride looking at your Joule/Powertap/SRM with anxiety and disappointment? Tape a piece of paper on the screen.
I am not suggesting you stop and smell the flowers during your workout. I am suggesting you stop limiting your performance for worse or better. Our brains work in mysterious and often devious ways. Looking at our Garmin and seeing a time that is much faster than our expectations can trigger the self-destruct response.
This January I ran my first 5k in a very long time. The instructions were simple; run fast for fun and no need to wear the GPS. I decided to wear the GPS and HR monitor but not look at it during the race. It was hard but after the dust settled, I had set a new PR for myself with a very unexpected time.
My watches, power meters and GPS are an important part of my athletic life but not the ultimate measure of my success. Consider what elements truly define success for you and learn how to adapt your measurement scale to keep moving toward your overall goals.
Sue Aquila is a USAT Level 1 coach who balances her ironman training with running a successful business that she built from the ground up. She blogs regularly at fewoman.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @fewoman.