Just like you need different shoes depending on what you’re going to do, you may need different kinds of support depending on what your goals are. If you are focused on athletic achievement, you might want a group to train with on a regular basis. If you’ve got some career goals in mind, doing informational interviews could be just the thing you need.
The Support of Teams and Coaches
Athletic teams can be a real source of support. You are automatically bonded by a common goal and have lots of chances to encourage each other, learn from mistakes, and celebrate successes in a supportive community.
While I have been training for different races and athletic events for more than 20 years, I haven’t been a part a team since high school, until about seven years ago. I sign up for races early in order to get a goal in place. For a long time, that was enough to keep me motivated and consistent in my training. However, as I got super busy, and then my schedule got more unpredictable when I opened my own business, I realized the structure and support of my triathlon team workouts really helped improve my training. It also made it more fun, as I had buddies to train and race with, which increased my motivation tremendously.
Teams Come in Many Forms
It’s important to work together with those around you. But if you’ve got something that has you feeling more tennis than volleyball, not to worry. Here are just a couple options for creating support and structure.
- Online forums. While we may spend too much time scrolling around the interwebs, one of the great things about the internet is it can connect you with other people with similar goals and challenges. Learning from others who have experienced similar things can be a great way to overcome obstacles and keep you working towards your goals.This also lets all of us introverts interact with others from the safety of your own couch.
- Create structure by eliminating choice. If surrounding yourself with others feels like too much, then you can create structure yourself by keeping your choices narrow. For example, my current gym teaches the same class that is offered six times every day (for instance, Tuesday is alway upper body strength training, Wednesday is always kickboxing, Thursday is always lower body, etc.). I set six days a week as my non-negotiable goal, so the only choice I have to make every day is what time I want to go. I don’t get caught up in deciding, or talk myself out of going at all. I put it in my calendar and show up. Sometimes it’s hard to drag myself to that 6pm class after a long day, but it’s not a choice. And in the end it’s always worth it.
- Set check-ins. One of the most effective things I have done to improve productivity on my amazing team at DLCC is to set regular meetings. This structure helps us keep track of who’s doing what, give regular opportunities to ask for help or offer feedback, and keeps everything moving forward. They’re not flashy or exciting, but check-ins can be a real game changer.
Find the Right Shoes for You
How you prefer to get support is very personal. I have clients who want to text me with a quick check-in word every day, some who need a weekly boost, and others who just like to connect at our next session. And all of those are good options!
What you need for support will likely vary both over time (remember all those crazy uncomfortable shoes you wore in your 20s?) and by activity (turns out flats really are best for tromping to the next meeting way on the other side of the city).
There are as many options for support as there are shoes – if only we had a Zappos to help us find just the right ones.
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