My first brush with 4 AM runs was at the age of 19, when I moved to New York and took up distributing newspapers every day to get myself through college. Then, running from one doorstep to the next was just the most efficient way of getting the job done. Today, long-distance running and the pursuit of fitness is an important facet of my physical and mental wellbeing, helping me stay focused, while pushing my limits a step further.
I have learnt that everything you do towards developing fitness helps in developing agility and focus, critical for survival in today’s context. During a run, all of your body’s energies are focused on enduring the race and making it to the target. Over the last decade, running has become a big part of my defense mechanism, helping me find focus when there’s pain, and zoning out limitations as I race towards my next goal.
Also, fitness, like your journey to professional excellence, is a solo activity, and trains you to develop the right attributes. You need this attitude professionally too. Focus on what you have already achieved and exceed it with a better performance the next time. It’s like applying the principle of Kaizen—continuous improvement—to both, life as well as work.
The lockdowns over the last year and a half have only strengthened my belief in the benefits of fitness. WFH has almost blurred the lines of our work-life balance, and mental and physical wellness have taken a backseat. Early into the pandemic I was already worrying about whether, as a team, we would have the physical and mental resilience to get through what was clearly going to be a long, challenging time. I wanted to ensure we wouldn’t lose our focus on keeping fit. Joint video online classes with varying sessions on strength training, yoga, core workouts, etc., became a way for us to de-stress and stay fit together.
Finally, being passionate about something outside of work has been the key to my success both personally and professionally. Investing time in self-care, clean eating, fitness and talking to my loved ones has kept me strong and has contributed to my overall mental and physical wellbeing.